Sidor som bilder

His first thought when he awaked, haughtily ; " where is my Chateau was the secret the duchess had pro- des Charmes-my wife, the Duchess mised to reveal to him. But how great de Melfi?" was his astonishment to find himself The Chaldean thought for a while, lying on a mattrass in the old cham- and then shook his head. ber, with the tattered tapestry, where “ There is no Duchess de Melli in he had been with the Chaldean! A France, and no Chateau des Charmes. little fire still burned in the stove. How came you, a lace-merchant in The old yager, with his faded uniform, Namur, to marry a princess-eh? was standing at the window, and had think quietly for a moment, and such no sooner perceived the movement of nonsense will get out of your head." the sleeper, than he hurried to the “But I have letters from the Duke door and shouted—“ Master Abube- of Orleans—the Duke de Guienne ker, he is awake !"

the Duchess of Nemours, from-yesThe Chaldean entered in a moment, from his Majesty himself." and, going up to the mattrass, enquir. “ Have you-where are they then?" ed how he was.

said Abubeker, with a short dry “ Not very well,” replied Le Blond cough. -“my head feels quite puzzled ; but, Le Blond looked round. There he for heaven's sake, tell me where I am, lay on the mattrass, dressed in the very and what devilry you are playing with clothes he had travelled in from Na. me now.”

mur. He rubbed his eyes, and jump“ Where should you be, my friend, ed up. The sun was just sinking. but in Valerien des Anges ?"

He paced thoughtfully through the " Where is my castle ; my wife, room-stood still and searched his the Duchess de Melfi; my ser- pockets, one after the other—but could vants?"

discover no vestige of his ducal existThe Chaldean burst into a laugh- ence whatever. “ You haven't shaken off your dreams “I wish to heaven you would tell yet, I sec ; but let us have no more me what the deuce has taken place ! on't. Take a drop of this tincture-it You don't wish to persuade me that I will restore your strength, for it is no have been in a dream for a quarter of joke to lie insensible for more than a year, when I know very well I have three months. We have had an im- eaten, and drank, and slept, and wak. mense deal of trouble with you. Come, ed, every day, as regularly as clocktake a good gulp. The tincture will work.” do you good."

“And you, sir," replied the ChalLe Blond at first refused, but when dean, with evident indignation,“ don't the Chaldean declared he would an- mean to persuade me to believe in swer no question till he had drank, lie your trumpery dreams? Think yourobeyed. The liquid flew through his self what you please, .whether duke or blood like fire.

lace-man, but be thankful to me for - Now, then," said Le Blond, “tell awakening you from your trance." me where is the Duchess, my wife? I " Thankful !-there is no great ocmust go to her whatever may hap- casion for thankfulness, Master Abupen.

beker, when one is transmogrified - Master Le Blond," replied Abu- from a duke into a dealer of silks and beker, drily, “you remember where lace.” you are, and the purpose of your com- “ Well, sir, I will argue with you ing? Don't be ridiculous, and speak no longer,” said the Chaldean, quietly; like a fool. What the deuce do you " but my time is precious; the carmean by castles, and wives, and ser- riage is at the door, and we must back vants? I have a great deal more right to Namur. Please to follow me.” to ask you about your behaviour in " By no mauner of means; not an causing me such anxiety; for your inch froin this spot. The Chateau trance was your own fault, by your des Charmes, and my wife, can't be having been guilty of some deceit or far from this." mental reservation. I warned you “If such is your opinion, Master sufficiently before we came. Why Le Blond, you may stay here in this did you behave so ill ?”

wood. For my part, I am off to Na"Don't play any more tricks upon mur. Farewell." me, Master Abubeker," said Le Blond, The Chaldean seemed really to be going. Le Blond thought it unadvis- riage, when you have come to your able to continue by himself in an un- senses a little more." known part of the country. He ac- Le Blond said nothing, and followcordingly shouted to him, when he ed the Chaldean. The carriage was had already got to the door.

ready drawn up, with servants before “ Ho! stop, Abubeker ; what's be- and behind. They got in, and in an come of the treasure we were to lift?" instant were in full trot through the

« We will speak of that in the car forest.


Le Blond was deep in meditation, “ You love the daughter of General and Abubeker had apparently no in- what's his name, in Namur," clination to disturb him. The extra- “Ah !" said Le Blond,“'tis no lon. ordinary rapidity of their course seem- ger to be thought of. I am married ed to lull the old gentleman to sleep. to another- nay, in a few months I The disenchanted duke, however, shall be a fath'-made two sensible observations from “Hush!" shouted Abubeker, “and the swiftness of their progress. One trouble me no more with your riwas, that the treasure, if it was in the diculous dream. You will lose the carriage, could not be very beavy; whole treasure. That foolish senand the second was, that his compa- tence has swept off a good lot of it nion must have his enchantments and already ; if you go on, I tell you, you disenchantments perfectly at his com- will ruin yourself-and, hark ye, sir, mand, for at every station horses were you will ruin me.ready stationed, as if the travellers The last words were uttered in a had been expected.

tone that made Le Blond silent. The “ About the treasure, Master Abu- man had always been a riddle to him ; beker, how have you got on? Did we he was now an object of suspicion). lift it?”

He began to think the Chaldean had “ To be sure we did," answered the played him a trick, but by no means Chaldean, half asleep; “it isn't quite put him in the way of a treasure. so much as we expected, owing to Only he could not comprehend the your trance, but quite enough to make object of so expensive a hoax. His you comfortable as long as you live." residence also at Charmes-that, he “ How much?

was well persuaded, was neither hoax “ Can't say."

nor dream. “ Is it here?”

When morning dawned, the car. « Certainly,” said the Chaldean, riage stopped for a change of horses at yawning, “but, with your leave, I am a small house near a bridge, and the terribly tired. I shall be obliged to Chaldean yawned mightily, but seemyou to let me have an hour or two's ed to compose himself again to sleep. snooze. You can determine, in the Le Blond could keep silence no lonmean-time, what you will do with the ger, but nudged his neighbour. money."

« Come, be a little open with me, “ That's determined on already. Abubeker. Do you persist in saying I As soon as I get the money, I will have been asleep all ibis time, and that search through every inch of France, I never"-till I find my chateau and wife.”

The Chaldean whistled as if to pre“ The surest method, my friend, to vent his hearing what was said ; but make your money disappear from the Le Blond persevered. chest ; for your good genius did not “ Listen to me, Abubeker-you bestow it on you to be lavished away shall never persuade me, for I am in a upon a dream. I am sorry for the condition to prove what I say: I have trouble I have given you, for already irresistible evidence that I was really your absurd resolution has made a in Charmes; that I was really the husportion of it disappear—you should band of the duchess, and" use the rest wisely.'

But Abubeker broke in on him in a " And what do you mean by 'wise- voice of thunder_" Again? how often ly,' if I may ask ?"

have you to be warned, young man ?"

he continued, grasping his hand, and « On the first noise you make," looking sternly. " You have already replied the man, quietly,—" on the first lost a great part of the fortune you movement you show, I shall have the had won; see that you lose not all. honour to stick this knife between Listen to me once and for ever. For your ribs, or send a bullet through get your dream. Let not a syllable of your brain. I am sorry we must live your idiotical fancy pass your lips, on such peremptory terms; and for neither to me nor to any living soul- your own sake, I must beg you to let write it not, draw it not, let it be me tie a handkerchief over your eyes, buried as in the tomb; on these con- till I tell you to open them again." ditions you will see me again, and be “ But why ?” enquired Le Blond. fortunate; if not"--

“ Because you are my prisoner, An impressive look finished the sen- sir," answered his ferocious compatence, and the Chaldean opened the nion; “ do you consent to be blinddoor of the carriage and leapt out. folded, or"At the same moment, a strong broad. He placed the point of the knife shouldered man tumbled in, and sat within a few inches of Le Blond's down unceremoniously at the young breast. man's side, and the carriage rattled I n a situation of that kind submisover the bridge.

sion is unavoidable. The bandage Monsieur Le Blond was astonished was tied round so scientifically that not at the new incident, and still more so a glimmer of daylight could be perwhen his new companion pulled a ceived. How long the journey lasted pistol from his breast, and said, with a it is impossible to tell. Le Blond dubious sort of smile, “ 'Tis loaded, himself couldn't even guess. He and never fails.” He then drew forth waked and slept, and dreamt and a prodigious knife, and, remarking it waked again. His greatest anxiety was very sharp, begged Le Blond to was to know what was to be done try the edge of it with his finger. with him—where they were carrying

o I haven't the least wish," said the him. But on these points his combewildered Le Blond, " and believe it panion gave him no information. on your word. But why all these preparations ?"


The carriage suddenly stopped, and silks and laces. "The doors were Le Blond was ordered to descend. closed. The clock struck twelve. Visions of sharp knives and loaded Not a vestige was to be seen of carpistols passed in quick succession be- riage, or Chaldean, or man with the fore his closed eyes. The carriage in sharp knife! After much knocking, the mean time rolled off, leaving him the door was at last opened by his standing blindfolded, afraid to make any gaping domestic ; the carpet-bag carmotion towards removing the bandage, ried into the back parlour, which apin case of the threat of his growling peared in precisely the same condition companion being carried into execu. -not a chair moved, not a table distion. At last, on hearing no noise he turbed—as when he left it; and, silent slowly lifted the handkerchief ; but as and meditating many things, the to seeing any thing around him, he weary traveller betook himself to his might just as well have kept it on. It couch, not without some vague hopes was pitch dark, as if the night had of awakening once more in the Chabeen built of black marble. Le Blond teau des Charmes. But in the mornthought he had gone blind, but as he ing he found himself just where he turned himself round he saw certain was; and, on coolly reflecting over all lights flickering before him, which he matters, and calculating his gains by could not doubt proceeded from the the journey, which consisted of nowindows of a house. On looking thing but the five thousand livres closer he recognised the well-known the Chaldean had given him the scene. He was standing before the night before they started, he came house of the President of the Court, to the conclusion that he must once in front of his own little wareroom of more betake himself to trade, and forget, as much as possible, the inter- just sold it. He said he applied to him, lude in which he had been a performer. as he had been advised to do by MonBut when trade is once lost, it is diffi. sieur Valerien des Anges, who had pur. cult for even the handsomest youth in chased it for him, and who would shortFlanders to recover it all of a sudden. ly send him the deeds that were neces

The slacker, however, was his employ- sary for his signature. The experience ment, the more earnestly he gazed out of the last few months had made Le of the back window at the jasmin Blond more cautious than before. He bower, and watched for the appear. said nothing on the subject of his letter, ance of Jacqueline. But no Jacque- but waited patiently till the promised line appeared. He was constantly in documents should arrive. And even the arbour musing over his former when, at the end of eight days, a thick happiness; and, the more he mused, packet made its appearance, and on the more the image of the Duchess de being opened displayed sundry skins of Melfi disappeared from his heart. It parchment, and various signatures and had been but a temporary falling away acquittances of persons whose names -a portion, perhaps, of the enchant. he had never heard of, he was still unment cast over him. And, again, he certain whether to take any notice of had no thought, no wish, no heart, but the incident. And yet there was for Jacqueline. He began the Italian every appearance of reality about it; grammar once more ; for he found, on but not more so, he thought again, making enquiry after General de Fano, than about his wife the Duchess de that he had left Namur several weeks Melli, or even about the Chaldean; before, with his whole family, probably and he was completely puzzled what on his return to Naples. This news to do. The letters were dated from completed his misery. He cursed his “ De Laure, near Gaillac, in the Gobad luck; he cursed his poverty; and, vernment of Languedoc." A gazetteer above all, he cursed the Chaldean. convinced him of the existence of The latter, indeed, he considered it a Gaillac ; but better authority than a Christian duty to hate and detest, for gazetteer had convinced him of the he had not the slightest doubt that lie existence of the duchess; and, in was the devil. Whether it was that short, in this state of perplexity, he all this cursing had a good effect on took the very sensible resolution of his constitution, or that time brought consulting his landlord, the President, its usual soothing influence, and miti. That official, a good-natured, pompous gated the sorrow it could not altoge man, perused the documents with great ther cure, we must candidly confess care. At the end of the first page he that Le Blond in six weeks looked called him Monsieur de Blond, and handsomer than ever, and had almost begged him to be seated ; and when got over every thing except his love he had folded up the papers he shook for Jacqueline. That, indeed, grew him very kindly by the hand, called him warmer every day; for, in cases like his good friend De Laure, and asked

bim to meet a few neighbours that day

at dinner at his house. But Monsieur “ Time but the impression stronger makes,

, de Blond de Laure bad no time to eat As streams their channels deeper wear.”

dinners with stately Presidents of the And an incident happened about this Sovereign Court. He conveyed all his time that fed him with fresh hopes. goods and chattels, silks, bobbinets,

One morning a letter was presented and laces to the church of St Mary of him, addressed to “ Monsieur de Cologne, to make petticoats for the Blond de Laure." Street, house, and nine thousand virgins, and was off, in number-every thing was correct, ex- about an hour after his interview with cept the “ de" before the Blond; and the official, as fast as six horses would the addition at the end. He opened carry him, to the Government of Lan. the letter, and the contents were still guedoc, and city of Gaillac. There more surprising than the superscrip- could be no longer any doubt that he tion. It was a petition from a certain was the person intended by “ De • Martin Crispin, steward and over. Laure," for, in addition to all the other seer of the barony of De Laure," beg- evidence which had satisfied the legal ging to be retained in the service of mind of the President, he had picked the new proprietor, and referring for up a slip of paper, on which was writtestimonials to the nobleman who had ten, “ Monsieur,-Here you have the


treasure we talked of converted into a de Fano, and begged of him the hand splendid and valuable estate. Enjoy of his daughter. And when a man it with silence, and farewell. ABU. has plenty of money, it is astonishing BEKER."

how much easier it is to find a gene. Now that he was lord of something ral of division, with a beautiful daughmore than a handsome person and a ter, however far away from one, than few bales of silk, he resolved to search to find a needle in a bottle of straw, the world over till he found General though just under one's nose.


His journey was without any ad- « Yes !” exclaimed Le Blond; and venture worth recording, till one was about to ask a number of questions evening when he had entered the pro. when he was interrupted by the stranvince of Languedoc, and was ascend. ger, who seemed overwhelmed with ing the hill on which the town of anguish. Alby is situated, he encountered one “ Did the lady scream?" which promised to cast all former “ By no means," replied Le Blond incidents into the shade. The hill -“she rather"-was so steep that he had left the car. " Was she gagged ?" riage, in order to walk up and enjoy “ No, no-she was listen"--at the same time the cool air of the " Was she making no effort to evening and the splendid view. By escape from the villain that ran away a short cut he had attained a part of with her ?” the hill to which the carriage had to “Ran away with her!" exclaimed toil by a long and tedious round, when Le Blond, and sank back into the carhe was startled from his reverie by riage with a groan. Before he had rethe wheels of a carriage coming down covered his voice, the horsemen had in the opposite direction, at so prodi. galloped on. On reaching the town gious a pace that he could barely where he had changed horses, he could jump to one side to avoid being run hear nothing of the fugitives. Further over. The glance he caught inside, pursuit was useless. He went into as he stood on a heap of stones while every coffee-room, in hopes of some the vehiele rushed past, had nearly discovery; and to a public concert for converted him into a statue of horror the same purpose, but all in vain. and surprise. Earnestly bending her The weariest and saddest man that eir to catch the whispers of the Chal night that went to bed in Languedoc dean, sat a female, whom the beating was Monsieur de Blond de Laure. At of his heart immediately revealed to day-break, he was disturbed by a rusthim to be Jacqueline. The loved ling at his curtains, and standing bethe lost !-and in company with the side his bed between two of his serenemy of mankind! He rushed after vants, who had lighted him into the them as fast as lie could; but his room, was the long figure of the Chalmotionlessness had given them a few deant. Le Blond bit his finger; to disminutes' start. He was forced, besides, cover whether he was awake- Abube. to go the roundabout way, for fear of ker smiled, and motioned the servants missing his carriage; and when at to retire. last he reached that ponderous ma. “Monsieur Le Blond," he said, “ I chine, and had succeeded in turning it promised to see you once more.'' the other way, the carriage he was in “I am glad to see you," stuttered pursuit of was nowhere to be seen; Le Blond,“ but, Master Abu--" but whether lost in the defiles of the “ Hush !--that is no longer my mountain, or evanished into thin air, name. In France, my name is Mon. he could not at that moment deter- sieur Valerien des Anges. What I mine. A party of horsemen now gal promised I have done !-and, now," he lopped rapidly past; but turned back added, in his usual tone, “ I go to Icewhen they had got fairly in his front, land to pulverise the philosopher's while one of them asked if he had stone at the flames of Ilecla." seen a carriage in which were a gen- “Very good," replied Le Blond tleman and a lady.

“ but let me ask a single question. Is

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