« הקודםהמשך »
Barrington if she had had an idea of would think, the impossibility of getting such an end to this intimacy. No, no, from one country to another without my friend ; believe me, there is nothing well-meant but tedious demonstrations of that kind. Try again in a month's of loyalty and respect. An unfortunate time ; be less diffident, and you will very emperor, king, or prince lands from the likely be successful. I think Jeanne steamer in which, perhaps, he has been knows that all our sympathies are with wofully sea-sick, or steps out of his speyou."
cial train, dirty and weary, and there, “Will you speak to her on the sub- upon the platform, stands his worship ject ?" asked Saint-Luc, who was only the mayor, in furred gown and gold too willing to be persuaded into hope, chain, with an attendant body of alderagainst his own judgment.
men and town.councillors, and proceeds Why, no," answered Léon, hesitat- to entertain the illustrious traveller with ingly ; “ I don't think I could quite do a loyal and long-winded address of welthat ; she would not like it. You see,
The poor royal personage knows she is a little older than I am, and she perfectly well the stereotyped, meaninghas always been accustomed to take the less phrases which are about to be hurllead, and she is not precisely one of ed at him, and knows also the terms in those people whom one can interfere which it will be expected he should reply with easily, and-and-in point of fact, thereto. The whole business must be I really doubt whether my speaking to him a monstrous unnecessary bore ; would not do more harm than good. If still, it has to be gone through, and he I am to be quite candid with you, I must goes through it as cheerfully as may be. confess that neither I nor anybody else if, however, he be a shifty royal personhas much authority over Jeanne ; but age, and can manage to get his luggage she is so good and so self-sacrificing that moved with extra rapidity, there is a she would do a great deal to please any reasonable mode of escape open to him. one of us, and
It may be announced that his Majesty, “I don't wish her to sacrifice her- or his Royal Highness, as the case may self," interrupted Saint-Luc.
be, is compelled to proceed on his jourI express myself badly. What I ney with all possible despatch, and must meant to say was that our wishes would deny himself the pleasure of hearing or have a good deal of weight with her. delivering speeches on his way; the As I told you just now, I believe she loyal address, therefore, will be taken knows what our wishes are, and we as read.” So the illuminated parchment will try to make them more apparent. is hastily shoved in at the carriage winI don't see that we can do anything dow, the exalted creature inside admore for you.”
vances, bows and smiles with such affa“I suppose not,” sighed Saint-Luc. bility as nature has granted to him, and “ I will try again then, it is a forlorn is presently whisked away in a manner hope, but it is better than nothing. satisfactory, it is to be hoped, both to Thank you for your sympathy. Now himself and others. you are dying to get to sleep, and I will
If only certain days of our life, the net not keep you up any longer. Good- result of which can be easily foretold
days of mere barren vexation and weariSo Léon went to his bed, and Saint- ness of the flesh-could be thus summaLuc roamed about the silent town till rily dismissed, and taken as lived, how daylight, mentally balancing himself thankful some of us would be! In real against Barrington, and finding no en- life, unfortunately, there is no stealing a couragement from the process.
march upon Time : we must take the It is perhaps needless to add that he rough with the smooth, and all we have did not occupy the vacant seat in the to consider is how to swallow measurewaggonette on the following day. less tedium with a minimum of yawns ;
but when it comes to be a question of CHAPTER XI.
fiction, to which, it may be presumed, IN WHICH MR. BARRINGTON WINS A
nobody resorts unless with some faint GAME CF BILLIARDS.
expectation of amusement, nature reONE of the most grievous burdens at- volts against dulness, and nimbly skips taching to royal birth must be, one over the prosy passages. Those prosy
passages need never be written at all, iteur d'Algérie !" and from time to
will you! Why, it's a couple of inches
high stool, on thing of them. Once, I remember, there whose slippery summit he perilously was a great alarm in the middle of the sways and lurches. From the café be- night, and a good many people rushed neath rises a confused hubbub, a clink- out into the streets, in very scanty aping of glasses, a clattering of dominoes, parel, and one silly old woman jumped a roar of excited voices, such as in Eng. out of window and broke her leg. But, land would convey the idea of nothing after all, there was no damage done. less than an imminent free fight, but Why do you ask?" here means only that a few good bour- "Because I am quite convinced that geois and line-officers are enjoying a we are going to have an earthquake toquiet evening after their habitual man- night. I have never in my life felt in ner ; in the street below a shrill-voiced such low spirits as I do at this moment, boy is shouting, “Le Moniteur d'Algé- and I have a sort of unaccountable senrie, journal du soir ! Achetez le Mon- sation of dread, which, I take it, must
mean that the earth is about to open “How can I tell ? She was tired of and swallow me up.
Not that that Mr. Barrington very likely. It seems would be such a great misfortune after to me that they were not quite such all.'
good friends after you appeared as they Bah! It is a hot evening, and you had been before. Believe me, mon cher, are tired and out of sorts, as anyone you have no cause for jealousy. Mr. would be who had spent three days all Barrington must return to England very by himself at Fort Napoléon and then soon now, and then-" ridden back upon a lame horse. Come “Ah, then !'' and have a game of billiards, and let us Bang! bang! from the further end think no more about earthquakes. For of the room. Barrington's friend, in a my part, I can assure you that, whatever frantic effort to
“screw," has driven your wishes may be, I should dislike his cue through the cloth, and sent one nothing more than being pounded to of the balls spinning off the table. The death by a falling house; and if I little waiter, rudely awakened from his thought there was the slightest danger slumbers, loses his balance, falls from of such a thing happening, I should be his perch with a loud crash, and then, out of this room in another moment. picking himself up, and immediately reCome and play.”
covering his presence of mind, pipes out Saint-Luc drops into a chair and C'est cinquante francs le premier shakes his head. “I cannot play bil- accroc, messieurs.' liards to-night," he says ; “I should “Oh, oh! I like that !" cries the. not be able to make a single stroke. delinquent, indignantly. Cinquante Ah, Léon, I have my own good reasons francs-rubbish ! Look here, you little for being miserable, as you know; and beggar! Regardez ici-et là-et là," I
suppose there is no chance of an earth- pointing to the traces of several previous quake, or why should I alone be affected injuries to the cloth. Coupé all over by it? You seem in excellent spirits. the place, you know. Je paierai cinq I saw you driving with that de Trémon- francs, and not another centime-so ville woman to-day, and she gave you a you needn't say any more about it." rose, and you blushed, and stuck' it in The waiter shrugs his shoulders doubtyour button-hole, you foolish boy. Is fully, and says he will consult the “pathat why you lie smiling there like a tron ;” and peace being restored, Baryoung god on Olympus ? Don't be an- rington resumes his cue, and, adroitly gry, we men are all made fools of by drawing the balls into a corner, finishes women ; we can't escape our destiny, the game with a break of ten. and would not, perhaps, if we could. The defeated player paid his stake, Imagine yourself in paradise while you settled with the waiter, and after making can-that is the truest wisdom. That some brief but trenchant observations tumbler at your elbow contains nothing upon the game of French billiards took but bitter vermouth and half-tepid wa- himself off. Then Barrington, who was ter, but if you can bring yourself to quaff in high good humor, both because he it under the impression that it is nectar, had won his game and on account of why it is nectar as far as you are con- other reasons, strolled across the room cerned. Some day you will discover and poked Léon in the ribs with his that Madame de Trémonville is--well, is a different person from what you now "Well, de Mersac," said he, “what think her to be ; but so long as you can have you been doing with yourself all keep your illusions, why not do so ? day? I was at your house this afterThat Englishman looks happy too. Did noon, and thought I should have seen he drive back with her ? But of course
How do you do, M. de he did.”
Saint-Luc ? You have just come back “Well, yes; but M. de Fontvieille from Fort Napoléon, I suppose ?" also took a seat inside the carriage. I Old Mr. Ashley, whose property adheard Jeanne ask him to do so.
joins Barrington's more extensive one, “ You did ? She asked him to take a and who has always lived upon the best seat inside ?" cried Saint-Luc eagerly. of terms with his neighbor, has been “I wonder what made her do that.' heard to say that the latter would be one
of the pleasantest-mannered men in Eng- son. I beg you to observe, however, land if only he could get out of the habit that I decline the additional rôle of of talking to others as though he were Temptation-I will even take upon mythe Prince of Wales ; and, indeed, it is self to say that, much as I enjoy your true that there is a certain prosperous society, I should prefer to say goodaffability in the demeanor of this fortu- night now." nate gentleman which men who are out Why ?" asked Léon, rather affrontof luck or out of temper sometimes find ed. it hard to bear. Saint-Luc was too well- Firstly, because they are playing bred to answer his rival otherwise than lansquenet at the club to-night, and lanpolitely; but if he could have followed squenet is, of all games that I know, the the bent of his own inclinations, and re- one at which large sums are most easily verted to the customs of a primitive state lost. Secondly, because there is no luck of society, he would then and there have in the air to-night. Thirdly, because arisen, and pommelled him soundly. you have not got enough money in your That the man should look so disgust- pockets. I have three hundred francs, ingly contented and happy was, perhaps, the loss of which will sober me. You not his fault ; but that allusion to Fort will lose what you have in a few minNapoléon might surely have been spared. utes, after which you will take to paper,
There was an interval of silence, after and become reckless. Also, your head which Léon swung his long legs off the is not so cool as mine to start with.” sofa, stretched himself, yawned, and said Looked upon as a deterrent, the obhe thought he would go and look in at servation was scarcely a happy one. the club.
Nobody-above all, no young man“I am going home to bed ; and if likes to be told that his head is not cool ; you are wise you will follow my exam- nor is it flattering to be cautioned against ple," observed Barrington, who knew the seductive nature of any amusement very well what “ looking in at the club” by a man who is himself about to engage meant.
in it. * Ah, but I am not wise," rejoined “ You talk as if I were a baby,” Léon Léon, rather tartly; for, in common with answered in a tone of some annoyance. the rest of humanity, he disliked noth- “ I have played lansquenet before now, ing so much as good advice.
and I am not such a fool as not to know He added, You are coming, are you when to stop." not, Saint-Luc?"
Saint-Luc shrugged his shoulders. The Vicomte fumbled in his waistcoat “I have warned you, said he ; “I pocket, and drew out a handful of coins could do no more. I hope you will recand notes, which he proceeded to count. ollect that to-morrow morning when
· Yes,” he answered, when he had fin- you wake up with a headache, and try to ished his sum ; “I find I have got three calculate the amount of your losses. hundred francs about me. That much Probably, however, you will blame me I am prepared to lose, but I shall retire -and so will others. That will be nothas soon as my pockets are empty." ing more than my usual luck."
“And I,” observed Léon, "have got I shall do nothing of the sort, exactly fifty-five francs fifty centimes; swered Léon; "and I don't know and I have no intention of retiring before whom you mean by others. When I I am sleepy."
lose my money, I generally keep the fact “ Then I can cnly hope, for your to myself." sake, that you will be sleepy soon, said "Do you ?" said Saint-Luc.
“I Barrington, putting on his hat. "Good- have never been able to achieve such night, monsieur. Good-night, de Mer- reticence. But it does not much matter. sac. I daresay I shall see you to-mor- Things can hardly be much worse with row.
me than they are already.
Shall we “Virtue has spread her wings and go ?" flown," remarked Saint-Luc, as the Léon understood it all, and was not swing-door closed behind the English- best pleased. Jeanne had been the kindman. “You are now alone with Vice, est of sisters to him, and he had a reveras fitly represented in my humble per- ence and respect for her rather filial than
fraternal ; still few sons can bear with the kind-hearted Vicomte thought it equanimity the idea that their mother might be for the young man's benefit has requested a stranger to keep them that he should have a mentor at his elout of mischief, and Léon, as he held bow, so he shook his head. open the door for his friend to pass out, “ It is hardly worth while to change said to himself that the time had come places now,” he said. “ But we are for him to shake off feminine rule. interrupting the game. Whose deal is
The two men descended the stairs to- it?" gether in silence, and a few steps brought “ It is mine, I believe," answered de them to the door of the club, which oc- Monceaux ; but I have no confidence cupied the first floor of a large corner in these cards. I propose that we have house. The room which they presently fresh ones, and begin over again. entered was a lofty and spacious one, So two new packs were brought, and lighted by a big crystal chandelier, and being dealt round, the lowest card fell to furnished with a multiplicity of easy Saint-Luc, who thus became dealer, chairs. In some of these a few members much to the disgust of his neighbor. were dozing ; a little knot of idlers “Is that what you call bad luck ?”' exwere smoking on the balcony, and at claimed that ill-used person, indignantthe further end of the room some eight ly. “I might have known how it would or ten men, mostly officers in the Chas- be ! And now I will lay a hundred seurs d'Afrique, were congregated round francs to fifty that you win six times, a card-table. One of the latter wheeled provided you leave the stake up." round as the newcomers approached,
Saint-Luc took the bet, laid a napoand beckoned to them.
leon on the table as his stake, and began " Come and bring us a change of to deal. luck," he cried. "There never was such a dull game as this since the world
CHAPTER XII. began! Would you believe that we
LANSQUENET. have been playing for three-quarters of an hour, and that nobody has lost a sou Most people, probably, are acquaintexcept myself, who am minus three na- ed with the rules of lansquenet; but, poleons.
for the benefit of those who are not, a “I have lost five," said another man short explanation shall be given-the in a rather aggrieved tone.
more willingly as the game is one of an And ought to have lost five hun- engaging simplicity. The dealer, after dred,” retorted the first speaker. laying down a stake, the amount of “What is the use of playing with a man which is left to his option, turns up the like you, who always make a point of first two cards of the pack, one for himthrowing good money after bad, if no- self and one for the table ; he then probody is ever to get a deal ? I don't ceeds to deal out the cards till one of think any single dealer has had more the same number as either of those althan two turns.'
ready displayed appears. Should the * Be comforted, de Monceaux," said table win, he loses his stake and the Saint-Luc, seating himself on the left deal passes ; but if his own card prove hand of the grumbler. “I have brought successful, he may either pocket his three hundred francs with me for the ex- winnings and surrender his deal to the press purpose of losing them, and per- next player, or leave both winnings and haps some share of the plunder may find stake up, and continue.
The stake may its way into your pocket.”
be covered by one or more of the playNot if you sit there," rejoined the ers, the left-hand neighbor of the dealer other. “Your stake will be covered three having the first choice. In the present times over before I get a chance of put- instance, Léon being seated next to ting anything on. If you think you are Saint-Luc, at once covered the modest going to have bad luck, for Heaven's napoleon staked by his friend. sake seat yourself above instead of below Saint-Luc won, and left the two gold me.'
pieces on the table, and Léon once more But Léon had taken the chair next to monopolised the play. The dealer won that which Saint-Luc now occupied, and again, and again, and yet again, but at