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dismay into the bosom of your family by a de “But, permit me—I do know the name quite termination-"
well — Madame Corneuil — is it not Corneuil ? “Extravagant and singular," interrupted Hor- My gentle friend, does it not seem to you that the
goddess Sekhet or Bubastis, who represents the “I said I would withdraw both of those solar radiation, fastens her angry glances blazing words; but, I ask you, does not this project of with indignation upon that purple rose, and curses marriage seem a headstrong thing?"
the rival whom you insolently prefer to her ? “Must I answer you proposition by proposi- Take care-roses fade; both roses and givers of tion ?" exclaimed he, “or would you rather give them only live for a day, while the goddesses me your whole speech at one breath ? "
are immortal and their anger also." No, that would tire me too much. Answer "Reassure yourself, uncle," answered Horace as I go along."
with a smile. “The goddess Sekhet looks with “Well, dear uncle, let me tell you that you gentle eyes upon that flower. If you should ask are not at all mistaken in your ideas of me, and her, she would say: 'The fifty heiresses which that this headstrong act is the most sensible and you have proposed for the Count de Penneville prudent thing with which my good genius ever are all or nearly all but foolish creatures, with inspired me—an act which both my heart and narrow and frivolous minds, caring only for gewreason approve."
gaws and trifles; therefore I approve him decid" Then you forbid my surprise that the heir edly for having disdained these dolls, and for of a good name and large fortune, that a Count wishing to marry a woman whom there are few de Penneville, who could choose in his own rank, like, whose intelligence is as remarkable as her among fifty young girls really worthy of him, re- heart is loving; a woman who adores Egypt and fuses every one whom his mother proposes, and who longs to return thither; a woman who will suddenly changes his mind to marry—whom? A not only be the sweetest companion to your -madame-Horace, what is her name? I never nephew, but who will also be passionately intercan remember her nothing of a name.”
ested in his labors, who will aid him by her coun“Her name is Madame Corneuil, at your ser- sel, and be the confidante of all his thoughts.'" vice," answered Horace in a piqued tone. “I “And who will deserve to become a member am sorry if her name displeases you, but spare of the Institute like him,” interrupted Monsieur yourself the trouble of fixing it in your memory. de Miraval. “How charming it will be to see In two months from now you can call her the you enter it arm-in-arm! Horace, I will give up Countess Hortense de Penneville."
reciting the end of my speech to you. Only per“ The deuce ! how fast you go! But that is mit me to ask you a question or two. Where not yet the case."
did this incomprehensible accident take place? “We have exchanged words, uncle. You may Oh! I remember—your mother told me that it as well consider it so, for I defy you to undo it.” was in a grotto at Memphis.”
Monsieur de Miraval filled and emptied his “My mother was not very prudent," answered glass anew, then he began again :
Horace ; " but let that go! It was in the depths “ Do not get excited, or lose your temper. I of a grotto. We call it a hypogeum.” would not offend you for anything, but I am so Confound the hypogeum! My ideas are getastonished, so surprised. Tell me, what is that ting confused. I remember it was in the tomb statuette in blue faïence, with a halo round about of the King Ti.” her head, with such a slender figure and the face “Ti was not a king, uncle," answered Horace of a cat, holding a queer sort of a guitar in her in a tone of mild indulgence. “ Ti was one of right hand ? "
the great feudal lords, one of the barons of some " That is no guitar, uncle, it is a timbrel, a ruler of the fourth dynasty, which held sway for symbol of the harmony of the universe. Do you two hundred and eighty-four years, or perhaps of not recognize the statuette to be that of the god- the fifth, which was also Memphite." dess Sekhet, the Bubastis of Greek authors, whom “ Heaven keep me from denying it! So you they called the great lover of Ptah, a divinity by were in the tomb? Inspired by love, Madame turn beneficent and revengeful, who, according to Corneuil deciphered fluently a hieroglyphic inall appearances, represents the solar radiation in scription, and, touched by the beautiful miracle, its twofold office ?"
you fell at her feet.” “I beg a thousand pardons, I believe I do Such miracles do not come to pass, uncle. remember her, and that rose which she seems to Madame Corneuil does not yet know ho to read smell of somewhat suspiciously—ah! I think I hieroglyphics, but she will read them some day.” need not ask whence that rose comes.”
“And is that why you love her, unhappy "Well, yes ! it was given me by the woman youth?" whose name you can not possibly remember.” “I love her,” exclaimed Horace ardently,
“because she is wonderfully beautiful, because ly convinced that some day she might meet a she is adorable, because she has every grace, and man capable of understanding her—whose soul beside her every other woman seems ugly. Yes, might be on a level with her own. “Yes,' she I love her—I have given her my heart and my life said to me the other evening, 'I had faith in him. for ever! So much the worse for those who do I was sure of his existence, and the first time I not understand me."
saw you it seemed as if I recognized you, and I “So it may be," answered the uncle; “but said to myself, “May it not be he?" Yes, uncle, your mother has made inquiries, and evil tongues she and I are one and the same, and it will be
the greatest honor of my life. She loves me, I "Enough!” replied Horace, raising his voice. tell you, she loves me—you can not change any“If any one else but you ventured to hint in that thing ; so we might as well end here, if you are manner of a woman for whom my respect equals willing." my love, of a woman worthy the regard of every The Marquis passed his hands twice through one, he should either have my life or I his !” his white hair, and exclaimed :
“You know that I could not have the slight “I declare, Horace, you are the frankest of est desire to fight with my only heir - what innocents, the most naïve of lovers." would become of the property? Since you say “I assure you, uncle, that you are the most so, I will be convinced that Madame Corneuil is a obstinate and incurable of unbelievers.” person absolutely above reproach. But where Horace, I call this sphinx and the nose of the deuce did your mother pick up her informa- the goddess Sehket to witness that poetry is the tion? She says plainly that she is an ambitious malady of those who know nothing of life.” manæuvrer, and that her dream is-are you " And I, uncle, I call to witness the moon really sure that this woman is not one of the yonder, and this purple rose, which looks at you cunning ones? Are you very sure that she is and laughs, that skepticism is the punishment of sincerely passionately interested in the exploits of those who may have abused their life.” the Pharaohs, and in the god Anubis, guide of “And I-I swear to you by that which is souls ? Are you sure that sometimes the great- most sacred, by the great Sesostris himself—" est effects are produced with slight effort, and “O uncle, what a blunder! I know that that down in the grotto of Ti she might not have you should not be blamed for it, for you have been acting a little farce, to which an Egyptolo- hardly studied the history of Egypt, and it is no gist of my acquaintance has fallen an easy dupe? business of yours, but know that there has never For my own part, I believe that if this same been so exaggerated and even usurped reputahandsome fellow had a crooked nose, and dull, tion as that of the man whom you call the great squinting eyes, Madame Corneuil would like him Sesostris, and whose name really was Rameses II. just as well, for the excellent reason that Madame Swear, if you choose, by the King Cheops, conCorneuil has got it into her head that some day queror of the Bedouins, swear by Menes, who she will be called the Countess of Penneville.'" built Memphis; swear by Amenophis III., called • “Really, you excite my pity, uncle, and it is Memnon; or, if you like it better, by Snefrou, last very good in me to answer you. To ascribe such king but one of the third dynasty, who subdued miserable calculation, self-interest, and vanity to the nomadic tribes of Arabia Petræa ; but know the proudest, noblest, and purest of souls! You that your great Sesostris was at bottom a very ought to blush that you can so lower yourself. modiocre man, of very slight merit, who carried She has told me the story of her life, day by day, his vanity so far as to have the names of the hour by hour. God knows she has nothing to sovereigns who preceded him erased from the conceal! Poor saint, married very young and monuments and substituted his own, which had against her will, through the tyranny of her weight with superficial minds, Diodorus Siculus father, to a man who was not worthy to touch particularly, and introduced thereby the most unthe hem of her garment with the tip of his fin- fortunate mistakes in history. Your Sesostris, ger—and yet she forgave him all. If you only good Heavens! he has only lived upon one exknew how tenderly she took care of him in his ploit of his youth. Either through address or last moments !"
through luck, he managed to get through an “But it seems to me, my young friend, that ambuscade with life and baggage unharmed. she was well rewarded for her trouble, since he That was the great achievement which he had left her his fortune."
engraved hundreds and hundreds of times on the “And to whom should he have left it? Had walls of all the buildings erected during his reign; he not everything to make amends for ? No, that was his eternal Valmy, his everlasting Jenever did woman suffer more or was more wor- mappes. I ask you what were his conquests? He thy of happiness. One thing only helped her to managed to capture negroes because he wanted bear her heavy weight of grief. She was strong- masons, he hunted down men in Soudan, and his
only claim to glory was in having had one hun * One of my hours. I never work between dred and seventy children, of whom sixty-nine breakfast and dinner." were sons."
“So everything is ruled to order, like music“Goodness! that is no small thing; but, af- paper. You are right; there must be method in ter all, what conclusion do you reach from all things. Even in love everything must be that?"
done by weight, number, and measure. I knew a “I conclude," answered Horace, who had lost philosopher once who said that measure was the sight of the principal topic in this digression—“I best definition of God. But, by the way, I took conclude that Sesostris—no," replied he, “I con a nap this afternoon, and am not in the least clude that I adore Madame Corneuil, and that sleepy. Lend me a book for company after I go before three months she shall be my wife.” to bed. You, doubtless, own the writings of
The Marquis rose hastily, exclaiming, “ Hor- Madame Corneuil ?” ace, my heir and my great-nephew, come to my “ Could you doubt that?” arms!”
“ Don't give me her novel; I have already And as Horace, immovable, looked at him read that." astonished—“Must I say it again ? Come to my “ It is a real masterpiece," said Horace. arms," continued he. “I am pleased with you. “There is rather too much fog in it to suit Your passion really makes me young once more. my taste. There is a rumor that she has pubI admire youth, love, and frankness. I thought lished sonnets.” you only had a fancy for this woman, a whim, but “ They are real gems," exclaimed he. I see your heart is touched, and one can do no bet “ And an essay upon the apostleship of woter than to listen to the voice of the heart. For- man.” give my foolish questions and my impertinent “A wonderful book!" exclaimed he again. objections. What I said was to acquit my con “Lend me the essay and the sonnets. I will science. Your mother gave me my lesson, and read them to-night, that I may be prepared for I repeated it like a parrot. We must not get to-morrow's interview.” angry with these poor mothers; their scruples Horace began at once to search for the two are always to be respected.”
volumes, which he found with great difficulty. “Ah, there you touch a tender and sore By means of rummaging, he discovered them at point,” interrupted the young man, “ but I know last under a great pile of quartos, which were how to bring her back-I will write her to-mor- crushing them with their terrible weight. He row.”
said to his uncle as he gave them to him: “Let me say one word more-do not write ; “Keep them as the apple of your eye. For your prose has not the power of pleasing her. she gave them to me." She has great confidence in me; my words will “Give yourself no uneasiness; I appreciate have weight. My son, I am all ready to go over the preciousness of the treasure," answered the to the enemy if this lovely woman who lives Marquis. near you is really what you say. I will be your In the same breath he observed that the trea. advocate with your mother, and we will make tise was only half cut, and that the volume of her listen to reason. Will you introduce me to sonnets was not cut at all, which gave rise to Madame Corneuil ?"
certain reflections of his own; but he carefully “ Are you really sincere, uncle?" asked Hor- kept them to himself. ace, looking at him with mistrust and defiance. "Can I depend upon your loyalty ?"
“Upon the faith of an uncle and a gentle This world is full of mysterious events, and man!” interrupted the Marquis in his turn. Hamlet was right in saying that there were more
“ If that be so, we can embrace this time in things in heaven and earth than were dreamed of good earnest," answered Horace, taking the hand in Horatio's philosophy. held out to him.
It has been observed that during the time of The uncle and nephew staid talking together great wars, when different peoples coming from for some time longer like good friends. It was all parts of a great empire find themselves sudnear midnight when Monsieur de Miraval re- denly brought together in an army to serve a membered that his carriage was waiting for him campaign, strange contagions and fatal epidemin the road to take him back to his hotel. He ics spring up among them, and a great thinker rose and said to Horace:
has dared to attribute the cause of it to the " It is settled, then, that you will introduce forced propinquity of men totally unlike in dispome to-morrow?'
sition, in language, and in intellect, who, not “Yes, uncle, at two o'clock precisely.” having been made to live together, are brought “Is that the hour when you see her?” in contact by an evil caprice of destiny. It has
also been remarked that when the crew of the dame Corneuil reigned, while really it was Maship which annually brings the necessary provi- dame Véretz who governed, and it must be said sions for their subsistence to the poor inhabitants she never had any other end in view but the of the Shetland Isles land on their shores, they good fortune of her dear idol. We all have conare seized with a spasmodic cough, and do not fused ideas of our own which we can hardly uncease coughing until the ship has again set sail. ravel, and hidden desires which we dare not conIt is also said that at the approach of a strange fess to ourselves. Madame Véretz had the gift vessel the natives of the Faroe Isles are attacked of comprehending her daughter, and reading the by a catarrhal fever, which it is very difficult to inmost recesses of her heart. She undertook to get rid of. Finally, it is stated that sometimes unravel her confused ideas, and to reveal to her the arrival of a single missionary at one of the her unacknowledged wishes, and took charge of South-Sea islands is enough to bring on a dan- them. That was the secret of her influence, which gerous epidemic, to decimate the wretched sav was considerable. When Madame Corneuil's ages.
imagination wandered, her incomparable mother This may perhaps explain why, during the started out as her courier. On reaching the stanight of August 13, 1878, the beautiful Madame tion, the fair traveler found her relays of horses all Corneuil was greatly disturbed in her sleep, and ready, and she was under great obligations to why on waking the next morning she felt as if her mother for arranging many an agreeable surher whole body had been bruised. It was not prise for her. She would have taken great care the plague, it was no cholera, no catarrhal fever, not to embark in any scheme without her courier, no spasmodic cough, but she felt a certain tight- to whom she was obliged for never allowing her ness about the head, a disturbance, and a very to rest by the way. peculiar nervous irritation; and she had a pre After having sent off her mother, and spent sentiment that there was danger near, or that an half an hour with her maid, Madame Corneuil enemy had just landed. Yet she did not know took a cup of tea, then seated herself at her secabout the Marquis de Miraval, had never even retary. She spent her mornings in writing a heard of him; she little knew that he was more book, which was to form a sequel to her treatise dangerous than any missionary who ever landed upon the “ Apostleship,” to be called The Poon the islands of the Pacific.
sition of Woman in Modern Society." To speak As her mother, who was always the first to plainly, she was merely making the same ideas enter her chamber to lavish upon her those at serve her a second time. Her aim was to show tentions which she alone knew how to make that in democratic society, committed to the woragreeable, drew near the bed on tiptoe and ship of the greatest number, the only corrective wished her good morning, Madame Corneuil, to coarseness of manners, thought, and interest, out of humor, gave her a rather cool greeting would be the sovereignty of woman. “Kings Madame Véretz readily perceived that her adored are dying out,” she wrote the night before, in a angel was out of sorts. This indulgent mother moment of inspiration—"let them go; but we was somewhat accustomed to her whim. She must not let them bear away with them that was made for it, and did not mind. Her daugh- true kingliness whose benefits are necessary ter was her queen, her divinity, her all; she de- even to republics. Let women sit on the thrones voted herself entirely to her happiness and her which they leave empty. With them will reign glory; she actually worshiped her with real ado- virtue, genius, sublime aspirations, delicacy of ration. She belonged to that race of mothers heart, disinterested sentiments, noble devotion, who are servants and martyrs; but her servitude and noble scorn." I may have spoiled her pleased her, her martyrdom was sweet to her, phrases, but I think I have given the gist of them and the thin little woman, with her quick eye, her all. I think, also, that in the portrait she drew, serpentine gait, who, like Cato the Censor, whom the superior woman whom she proposed for the she resembled in nothing else, had greenish eyes worship of human kind resembled astonishingly and red hair, always looked pleasantly upon the Madame Corneuil, and she could not think of hardships she had to bear.
herself without her splendid hair of golden blonde She had her own consolations. She might be twisted around her brow like a diadem. snubbed, scolded, and sent off, but it always end After a bad night one does not feel like writed by her being listened to, especially if it was ing. That day Madame Corneuil was not in to be of any benefit. It was at her advice that the mood. The pen felt heavy to the pretty at the propitious moment they quarreled with hand, with its polished nails; both ideas and exMonsieur Corneuil, and afterward were recon- pression failed her. In vain she twisted a loose ciled to him. Thanks to her valuable sugges- curl over her forefinger, in vain did she look at tions, they had been able to hold a salon in Paris, her rosy finger-tips-nothing came of it; she and to become of some importance there. Ma- began to fancy that a shadow of coming misfor
tune fell between her and the paper. Heaven She did not add that she liked to go to marknows that in like cases every pains was taken to ket, which was the truth. Among people who save her nerves, to cause her no interruption, rise from small beginnings, some resent their past, such were the orders. During those hours when and strive to forget it, while it pleases others to she was known to be within her sanctum, the recall it. most profound silence reigned everywhere. Ma “What have you there?" exclaimed Madame dame Véretz saw to that. Every one spoke in a Corneuil, seeing just then that her mother held whisper and stepped softly; and when Jacquot, a bit of writing in her hand. who did the errands, crossed the paved courtyard, “ This, my dear, is a note in which Monsieur he took great care to take off his sabots, lest he de Penneville begs me to inform you that his might be heard. This precaution on his part great-uncle, the Marquis de Miraval, arrived yeswas the result of sad experience. Jacquot played terday from Paris, and has expressed a desire to the horn in his leisure moments. One morning be introduced, and that he will bring him here when he took the liberty of playing, Madame at two o'clock exactly. You know he is a vicVéretz, coming upon him unawares, gave him a tim to the stroke of the clock." vigorous box on the ear, saying to him: “Keep “What prevented him from coming to tell us still, you little idiot! don't you know that she himself ?" is meditating ?" Jacquot rubbed his cheek, and “ Apparently he feared disturbing you, and took it as it was said. Everybody did the same. perhaps he did not care to disarrange his own So from eight till noon Jacquot whispered to the plans. In all well-ordered lives the first rule is cook, and the cook told the coachman, and the to work until noon." coachman told the hens in the yard, who repeated Madame Corneuil grew impatient. it to the sparrows, who repeated it to the swal “Who may this great-uncle be ? Horace lows, and to all the winds of heaven, “ Brothers, never told me about him.” let us keep silence-she is meditating !"
“I can easily believe that. He never speaks When it struck noon, the door of the holy of anything but you—or himself-or Egypt." place opened softly, and, as before, Madame But if I choose that he should talk to me Véretz advanced on the tips of her toes, ask- about him!" answered Madame Corneuil haughing, “ My dear beauty, may I be allowed to en- tily. “Is that another epigram?"
“Do you think I could make epigrams against Madame Corneuil scowled with her beautiful that dear, handsome fellow ?” hastily answered eyebrows, and poutingly placed her papers in the Madame Véretz. “I already love him like a most elegant portfolio, and her portfolio in the son." depths of her rose-wood secretary, taking care
Madame Corneuil seemed to have grown to take out the key, for fear of robbers.
thoughtful. “ Orders must have been given,” said she, “ I had bad dreams last night,” said she. “not to leave me a moment in peace.”
“You laugh at my dreams, because you like to “I was obliged to go out this morning," an- laugh at my expense. Now see: In coming from swered Madame Véretz; “ did Jacquot happen Paris, Monsieur de Miraval must have passed to take advantage of my absence ? "
through Vichy. This Marquis is dangerous.” “Jacquot, or some one else, I do not know Dangerous !” exclaimed Madame Véretz; whom; but they made a great deal of noise, and “what danger have you to fear?” moved about the furniture. Was it absolutely “You see Madame de Penneville has sent necessary for you to go out ?"
him here." "Absolutely. You complained yesterday that “Can you believe that Horace-ah! my poor the fish was not fresh, and that Julia did not un- goose, are you not sure of his heart?” derstand buying; so henceforth I shall do my “Is any one ever sure of a man's heart?" own marketing."
answered she, feigning an anxiety which she was “And during that time, then, there must be a far from feeling. fearful racket.”
"Perhaps not of any man's," said Madame What can you do? Between two evils—” Véretz, smiling; “but the heart of an Egyptolo
“ No," interrupted Madame Corneuil, “I do gist is quite another thing, and never changes. not wish you to go yourself and bargain for fish; As far as sentiment goes, Egyptology is the one why do you not teach Julia how to select it? unchangeable thing." You do not know how to order others, and so it "I told you I had bad dreams, and that the ends in your doing everything yourself."
Marquis is dangerous to us." “I will learn, I will try to improve, my dar “Here is my reply," was her mother's anling,” answered Madame Véretz, kissing her fore- swer, as she passed her a mirror in such a way head tenderly.
as to oblige her to see herself in it.