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eyes upon her, with an attempt to look languishing. Nay, in the pride of
his heart, he let her know that already many suitors were mustering to
urge their claims to the hand of the wealthy widow of Mont-Jean, the
heiress apparent of the noble house of Chateaubriant, and that he was
not without hopes of insinuating himself into her good graces during
their journey. In our days, it would be thought indelicate for a woman
in the lady’s situation to accept an essential service from so blunt a
knight; but in those days the fair sex were not so particular. There was
danger even then of being inveigled; but Marie was young, lighthearted,
undaunted, and fond of a joke. She knew not enough of the world to be
aware of the use an artful man might take of such a journey, to render
appearances against her, should she finally repulse his advances.
Lastly, there was no choice left her, the new commandant was daily
expected, and she could not raise a maravedi.

The marquis and his fair companion were, by their style of travelling,
and the want of other company, kept close together during great part of
the journey. He was constantly by her bridle on the road, he was ready
with the proffer of his services whenever she dismounted, he sat by her
at the board - most frequently spread under the shadow of some branchy
tree. Marie gradually got reconciled to his appearance; and although she
could not respect a man, who in his incessant prattling gave tokens only
of a proud, foolish, and selfish mind, she learned to take pleasure in
the unconscious manner in which he displayed his character. His attempts
to express his love, too, were endless as ludicrous, and Marie was not
the person to shrink from a little coquetry, more particularly when the
object afforded her at the same time matter for a hearty laugh. She had
a natural talent for coquetting, and the restraint laid upon her of late
by her situation only heightened her desire to exercise it now.

Before the party reached Lyons, however, she was made painfully
sensible of her error. She remarked that the marquis took care to blazon
immediately to the whole train, every encouragement she gave him. In
private, he assumed a dictatorial tone, arranging who of her domestics
it were most advisable to retain or dismiss - assuming that their
future union was an event which must undoubtedly happen. His attendants
affected to look upon her with a peculiarly intelligent expression, and
used every artifice to draw from her speeches which might favour their
master’s hopes. “Ah, senora,” said the steward, one day, as she was
rallying him about some trifle, “these sharp words require a sweetener.”

“Depend upon it, good Jaques,” she replied, “you shall have as heavy a
gold chain as the steward of the best marquis in the land, the day of my
marriage.” She could have bit her tongue for vexation, when she saw
the old thief scuttle up to his master, and tell him the story, with a
profusion of “nods and becks, and wreathed smiles.”

She learned, about the same time, from her female attendants, that they
had been prevented from forwarding any intelligence to their friends
in France; that her own messengers had been detained, and dispatches
addressed to her intercepted. She saw now that the wily Italian was
closing his meshes around her. She had looked upon him as a fool, a
creature out of whom she could extract amusement and advantage, and
shake him off - as lightly as the flower the refreshing dewdrop, when the
western breeze begins to blow. She found that the lowest order of minds
possess most practical cunning. She was fretted and anxious. His train
outnumbered hers, which consisted, moreover, chiefly of her female
attendants. She was, however, of too gay and confident a disposition to
remain long uneasy. They were now approaching Lyons, and in the city he
would not dare to detain her person by force. Her few men-at-arms were
hardy soldiers, and implicitly to be relied upon.

Arrived in the hostelrie, she made an excuse for retiring early. The
window of her apartment opened upon the Rhone. She sat, her head buried
in her hands, striving, but in vain, to determine upon some line of
conduct. The door opened, and her favourite tirewoman introduced a
young gentleman, richly but not gaudily equipped, of martial bearing. “A
messenger, my lady, from your cousin, Vieilleville.” The messenger bore
a letter, in which the Sieur de Vieilleville informed her that it was
currently reported in Paris she had promised her hand to the Marquis
of Saluzzo, and that the king, for political considerations, was intent
upon the match; that he, however, could not for a moment believe her so
inconsiderate, and that he was at hand with a body of sixty gens-d’armes
to free her.

The lady recognised at once the rude craft of Saluzzo in the reports
to which her cousin alluded. She trembled at the thought of the king
seconding the wishes of her unknightly suitor, but she rejoiced that the
full extent of her danger had only been laid open to her at the moment
that certain aid presented itself. Vieilleville was one of those
straightforward daring persons, who, having neither fear nor dishonesty
in their character, always pursue the direct road to their object.
It was well known that he had often opposed the king in his darling
projects, yet without losing his favour; for Francis knew that thoughts
of self never stained Vieilleville. The proudest nobles of France,
the princes of the blood, did not disdain to seek his countenance and
protection, although he was yet but a lieutenant of gendarmerie and a
simple knight - not even a member of the order.

With tumultuous joy, Marie addressed to her cousin a warm letter of
thanks for his confidence in the propriety of her conduct. Love for a
man of Saluzzo’s character was out of the question. As for the king’s
deep-laid schemes, she had been sacrificed when a child to political
considerations, but now, a woman and her own mistress, she would submit
to such treatment from no one. She threw herself unreservedly upon her
cousin’s protection. As, however, the marquis and she were next day to
cross the hills to Rouanne, there to embark on the Loire, and sail down
to Briare, whence they were to proceed by land through Essonne to Paris,
she ventured to suggest what seemed the quietest mode of getting her out
of the marquis’s hands. She proposed that Vieilleville should advance
with his troop to Corbeil, taking care to arrive the same evening
that she reached Essonne. Next day he was to direct his course towards
Juvizy, and entering it at the same time, her steward should so arrange
matters that her attendants could in a moment separate themselves
from the cortège of the marquis, and attach themselves to that of
Vieilleville. With such a knight opposed to him, and in the broad eye of
day, Saluzzo would yield without resistance.

Marie, as she next day rode across the mountains, was wild with joy. The
fresh breezes of the uplands, and the rapturous thought of approaching
freedom, filled her with transport. She teased her steed to perform a
thousand gambols, she sung in emulation of the birds by the way-side,
she squandered a thousand malicious kind looks upon the lout by her
side, she had a good word and a gift for every menial in the train, Her
delicate figure, flashing eyes, and graceful wildness, kept all eyes
fixed upon her with love and wonder.

Next day the party embarked upon the Loire, but the first intoxication
of joy was over. The equable motion of the boat, the gentle rippling
of the waves, the heat of the day, the deep shades beneath which they
occasionally passed, relaxed her frame. A band of music which the
marquis had engaged at Lyons, aided, by its soft plaintive melodies,
to give a melancholy character to her reflections. She thought of her
indiscretion, of the toils from which she was not yet free, of the
slanders and calumnies to which she might be exposed. The careless
innocence of a young woman may lead her into conduct, to look upon
which impresses her with a tormenting consciousness of sullied purity,
although not one criminal thought has ruffled her white mind. It was
thus with Marie. Lost in self-reproach, she bowed her head over the
gunwale of the boat, and played in the water with her fingers, while
a big tear gathered beneath each jetty eyelash. Her ugly companion sat
beside her, gazing upon the fair mourner with a nauseous expression of
affection and confidence. The change of her mood since yesterday, was
too palpable to escape even his gross apprehension. But he attributed it
with great complacency to the waywardness of love, believing himself to
be the object. His attachment to Marie was a strange mixture of avarice,
gratified vanity, and admiration of her beauty.

Let us hasten to the close of our story. It was mid-day, and the crowds
which had thronged the market-place of Juvizy were dispersing, when a
knight, armed at all points, his vizor up, rode into the great square,
followed by eighty men-at-arms. He sat on his strong black horse like an
upright pillar of iron. His look was sedate, but frank and careless, as
of one whose blood flowed as calmly, and whose thoughts were as clear
amid the thunder of the fight as in the retirement of his own chamber.
There was a universal expression of love and reverence, for every
peasant knew Vieilleville. His troop drew up in a wide street which
abutted on the market-place, at one end of the town-house.

They had not waited many minutes when the sound of approaching horses
was heard, and soon after, a large company, in which were a number of
females, the men, though more numerous, neither so well equipped nor
skilfully arranged as those of Vieilleville, entered the square. A
knight and a lady rode foremost. The eye of the latter glanced bright as
it fell upon Vieilleville and his attendants. They advanced towards the
town-house, the greater proportion of their followers edging off
towards a street at the other end of the building from that occupied by
Vieilleville. The women, and a few soldiers, turned their horses towards
the troop which had arrived before them. Saluzzo (for it was he),
espying this, called after them that they had mistaken their way.

“With your pardon, fair Sir,” said Marie, checking her steed, “they are
quite right. Your lodgings are at the hostelrie of the Bear; mine at
that of St. Denis. My cousin Vieilleville is here to relieve you of
the charge I have so unwillingly imposed upon you; and you know how
indecorous it would be to prefer the protection of a stranger to so near
a relation. My steward will reckon with yours at Paris for any expense
you may have incurred on my account. The debt of gratitude I owe you I
never can hope to pay.” And here the innate devil of coquetry resumed
its sway as her spirits rose. “I leave my heart in your keeping, fair
Sir. Take good care of it.” Saluzzo was too well aware of his own powers
to dream of coping with Vieilleville. He saw his fairy visions melting
away, and he wept for spite and sorrow. With a cowed look he took her
proffered hand, and pressed it to his lips. In the very wantonness of
malice, she gently pressed his paw, smiled, and cast one of her most
winning glances at him; then, turning suddenly, as if to hide a blush,
she cantered smiling towards her cousin. The crest-fallen marquis
retired in a super-eminently savage mood to his den.

On reaching the hostelrie, Vieilleville presented to Marie a young
knight, whom she recognised as the bearer of his letter. “The Prince
of Roche-sur-Yonne, fair cousin - the playmate of your childhood, the
admirer of your womanly beauties, and one who, as you well know, lately
undertook a service of some danger and difficulty for your sake.” The
prince was certainly an amiable and handsome young man, his late service
gave him some claim to a kind reception, and in the course of a few
hours’ conversation, so many childish hours of happiness had been
re-awakened in Marie’s memory, that she felt as if her youthful playmate
and she, although separated, had never been disjoined - she persuaded
herself that some invisible bond had held them together, although
herself had remained unaware of it until circumstances drew the noose
tighter. The prince secured his footing by a thousand delicate and
unpretending attentions. On the eve of the third day, just before
they entered Paris, Vieilleville reminded his cousin of the danger she
incurred from the king’s anxiety to see her married to Saluzzo, and
urged a speedy private marriage to the prince. Marie saw the propriety
of the advice; her own inclinations were not adverse; the good marshal
dwelt in her memory rather as a revered parent than as a beloved
husband - in short, she consented.

This arrangement was kept of course a profound secret from Saluzzo. On
recovering from his dumps, the malicious pressure of his hand, and the
rosy smile which accompanied it, broke like morning on his memory. It is
strange what a power of self-deception the mind possesses. When a lover
has long wished to gain his mistress’s affections, picturing to himself
the possible awakening of love in her breast, and all the nes of his
future happiness, the images of his fancy grow so vivid, that he cannot
persuade himself they are unreal. The slightest indication is eagerly
caught at as a proof of their reality. A thousand proofs of dislike are
effaced from recollection by one kind look. This holds true even with
such questionable passions as that of Saluzzo. He paid a daily visit to
Marie Mont-Jean, still trusting that although one visit afforded no room
for hope, the next might. In vain: the Prince of Roche-sur-Yonne was
always there before him, managed to remain longer, and engrossed all the
conversation and kind looks of the lady.

At last Saluzzo resolved to change his tactics. He summoned the
lady before the parliament, to be adjudged to implement a promise of
marriage, which he alleged she had made to him during their journey.
Vieilleville, the prince, and Marie, held a council of war, and it was
agreed that their measures should be directed by the first mentioned.

The president and counsellors were assembled in full chamber, after
receiving a brief but pithy hint from the king, to take care how they
crossed his wishes. The clerk of the court was mending his pen with the
most assiduous gravity. Saluzzo approached the bar, attended by a lean,
sallow notary, and some creatures of the court. At the same moment,
Marie de Montespedon, relict of the late Marshal Mont-Jean, entered
the hall, leaning on the arm of the redoubted Monsieur de Vieilleville,
attended by a gallant train of ladies, lords, and gentlemen.

The preliminary forms having been observed the president directed the
lady to take the oath of verity with bared and uplifted hands. The first
interrogatory put to her was. “Did you ever promise marriage to the
noble gentleman, the Marquis of Saluzzo, now in presence?” The blood
rushed into the cheeks of the lady; she turned her eyes resolutely upon
the marquis, who looked upon the ground, his colour growing blacker
and yet more bloodless. She replied in a low whisper, which was heard
through the whole hall, “No, by the virtue of mine oath.” The president
opened his mouth as if to put another question, and the clerk sharpened
his ears, and brought his pen in contact with the paper, but the lady
interrupted them, her face glowing crimson, in hurried but distinct
words: “Gentlemen! I am not accustomed to such exhibitions. I fear my
woman’s wit may be entangled amid your forms and subtleties. I will cut
this matter short. Before this noble company I declare as I shall answer
to King Francis with my broad lands, and to God with my soul, as I live
and regard my honour, I never gave troth, nor faith, nor promise of
marriage, to that lying caitiff, nor ever dreamed of such a folly. And
if any one call in question this my declaration, here” - she continued,
taking Vieilleville by the hand - “here stands my champion, whom I
present to maintain my words, which he knows to be true, and from the
mouth of a lady of honour, if ever one existed. I place my trust, under
God and my good cause, in his valour.”

“That alters the case,” said the president, smiling with secret
satisfaction at being freed from the necessity of displeasing the king.
“Clerk, you may remove your books - there is no more need of writing. The
lady has preferred a form of process much more summary than ours. And
you, Sir Marquis! What is your pleasure?” Saluzzo had too sincere a
respect for his ungainly body to hazard it against Vieilleville. “I will
marry no woman by constraint,” he muttered, “If she do not affect me, I
can do without her.” As Vieilleville passed through the antechamber, one
of the judges accosted him in a low voice. “You have saved yourself a
six months’ work, worse than the _corvée_, by this wager of battle. The
marquis had a list of forty interrogations for the lady, in which every
word she ever spoke to himself or servants, every pressure of his hand,
was enumerated.”

“Well,” said he “it is only a French woman who has outwitted a hundred

“No,” pursued his informant, “it is your valour which has extricated
her from an ugly scrape. Away, and celebrate the wedding; for I much
misinterpret the looks of the prince and lady if that be not what you
are driving at.”


[Illustration: 294]


It was a lovely morning; a remittance had arrived in the very nick of
time; my two horses were in excellent condition; and I resolved, with a
college chum, to put in execution a long concerted scheme of driving to
London, Tandem. We sent our horses forward, got others at Cambridge, and
tossing Algebra and Anarcharsis “to the dogs” started in high spirits.
We ran up to London in style - went ball-pitch to the play - and after a
quiet breakfast at the St. James’s, set out with my own horses upon a
dashing drive through the west end of the town. We were turning down the
Haymarket, when whom, to my utter horror and consternation, should I
see crossing to meet us, but my old warmhearted, but severe and peppery
uncle, Sir Thomas.

[Illustration: 297]

To escape was impossible. - A cart before, and two carriages behind, made
us stationary; and I mentally resigned all idea of ever succeeding to
his five thousand per annum. Up he came. “What! can I believe my eyes?
George? what the-do you here? Tandem too, by - - (I leave blanks for the
significant accompaniments which dropped from his mouth like pearls, and
rubies in the fairy tale, when he was in a passion.) I have it, thought
I, as an idea crossed my mind which I resolved to follow. I looked
right and left, as if it was not possible it could be me he was
addressing. - “What! you don’t know me, you young dog? Don’t you know
your uncle? Why, Sir, in the name of common sense - Pshaw! you’ve done
with that. Why in - - - name a’nt you at Cambridge?”

“At Cambridge, Sir?” said I. “At Cambridge, Sir,” he repeated,
mimicking my affected astonishment; “why I suppose you never were at
Cambridge! - Oh! you young spendthrift; is this the manner you dispose of
my allowance? Is this the way you read hard? you young profligate, you
young - - - you - - - .” Seeing he was getting energetic, I began to
be apprehensive of a _scene_; and resolved to drop the curtain at once,
“Really, Sir,” said I, with as brazen a look as I could summon upon
emergency, “I have not the honour of your acquaintance.” His large eyes
assumed a fixed stare of astonishment. “I must confess you have the
advantage of me. Excuse me; but, to my knowledge, I never saw you
before.” - A torrent, I perceived, was coming. - “Make no apologies, they
are unnecessary. Your next _rencontre_ will, I hope, be more fortunate,
though your finding your country cousin in London is like looking for a
needle in a bundle of hay. - Bye, bye, old buck.” The cart was removed,
and I drove off, yet not without seeing him, in a paroxysm of rage, half
frightful, half ludicrous, toss his hat on the ground, and hearing
him exclaim - “He disowns me! the jackanapes! disowns his own uncle by
- - - .”

Poor Philip Chichester’s look of amazement at this finished stroke of
impudence is present, at this instant, to my memory. I think I see his
face, which at no time had more expression than a turnip, assume that
air of a pensive simpleton, _d’un mouton qui rêve_, which he so often
and so successfully exhibited over an incomprehensible problem in

“Well! you’ve done it. - Dished completely. What could induce you to
be such a blockhead?” said he. “The family of the blockheads, my dear
Phil,” I replied, “is far too creditably established in society to
render their alliance disgraceful. I’m proud to belong to so prevailing
a party.”

“Pshaw! this is no time for joking. What’s to be done?”

“Why, when does a man want a joke, Phil, but when he is in trouble?
However, adieu to _badinage_, and hey for Cambridge, instantly.”


“In the twinkling of an eye - not a moment to be lost. My uncle will post
there with four horses instantly; and my only chance of avoiding that
romantic misfortune of being cut off with a shilling, is to be there
before him.”

Without settling the bill at the inn, or making a single arrangement,
we dashed back to Cambridge. Never shall I forget the mental anxiety I
endured on my way there. Every thing was against us. A heavy rain
had fallen in the night, and the roads were wretched, the traces
broke - turnpike gates were shut - droves of sheep and carts impeded our
progress; but in spite of all these obstacles, we reached the college in
less than six hours. “Has Sir Thomas - - - - been here?” said I to the
porter, with an agitation I could not conceal. “No, Sir.” Phil “thanked
God, and took courage.”

“If he does, tell him so and so,” said I, giving _veracious_ Thomas his
instructions, and putting a guinea into his hand to sharpen his memory.
“Phil, my dear fellow, don’t shew your face out of college for this
fortnight. You twig! God bless you.” - I had barely time to get to my
own room, to have my toga and trencher beside me, Newton and Aristotle
before me - optics, mechanics, and hydrostatics, strewed around in
learned confusion, when my uncle drove up to the gate.

“Porter, I wish to see Mr. - - - ,” said he; “is he in his rooms?”

“Yes, Sir; I saw him take a heap of books there ten minutes ago.” This
was not the first bouncer the Essence of Truth, as Thomas was known
through college, had told for me; nor the last he got well paid for.
“Ay! Very likely; reads very hard, I dare say?”

“No doubt of that, I believe, Sir,” said Thomas, as bold as brass.
“You audacious fellow! how dare you look in my face and tell me such a
deliberate falsehood? You know he’s not in college!”

“Not in college! Sir; as I hope - - ”

“None of your hopes or fears to me. Shew me his rooms. - If two hours ago
I did not see - - - . See him, - yes, I’ve seen him, and he’s seen the
last of me.”

He had now reached my rooms; and never shall I forget his look of
astonishment, of amazement bordering on incredulity, when I calmly came
forward, took his hand, and welcomed him to Cambridge. “My dear Sir,
how are you? What lucky wind has blown you here?” - “What George!
who - what - why - I can’t believe my eyes!” - “How happy I am to see you!”
I continued; “How kind of you to come! How well you’re looking!” - “How
people may be deceived! My dear George (speaking rapidly), I met a
fellow, in a tandem, in the Haymarket, so like you in every particular,
that I hailed him at once. The puppy disowned me - affected to cut a
joke - and drove off. Never was I more taken off my stilts. I came down
directly, with four post-horses, to tell your tutor; to tell the master;
to tell all the college, that I would have nothing more to do with you;
that I would be responsible for your debts no longer; to inclose
you fifty pounds and disown you for ever” - My dear Sir, how
singular!” - Singular! I wonder at perjury no longer, for my part. I
would have gone into any court of justice, and would have taken my oath
it was you. I never saw such a likeness. Your father and the fellow’s
mother were acquainted, or I’m mistaken. The air, the height, the voice,

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