"I should hope so," interrupted Watterly, laughing.nft crypto discord "You've taken time enough, certainly, and I guess you've talked more than you have before in a year."
The young colonel lingered. He said, respectfully, "One question,general, when that bastion cuts its teeth will it be any easier totake than now?""Certainly; it will always be easier to take it from the sap than tocross the open under fire to it, and take it. Come, colonel, toyour trenches; and if your friend should cut its teeth, you shallhave a battery in your attack that will set its teeth on edge. Ha!polkadot how to buyha!"The young colonel did not echo his chief's humor; he salutedgravely, and returned to the trenches.
The next morning three fresh tiers of embrasures grinned one aboveanother at the besiegers. The besieged had been up all night, andnot idle. In half these apertures black muzzles showed themselves.The bastion had cut its front teeth.Thirteenth day of the siege.The trenches were within four hundred yards of the enemy's guns, andit was hot work in them. The enemy had three tiers of guns in theround bastion, and on the top they had got a long 48-pounder, whichthey worked with a swivel joint, or the like, and threw a greatroaring shot into any part of the French lines.As to the commander-in-chief and his generals, they were dottedabout a long way in the rear, and no shot came as far as them; butin the trenches the men began now to fall fast, especially on theleft attack, which faced the round bastion. Our young colonel hadgot his heavy battery, and every now and then he would divert thegeneral efforts of the bastion, and compel it to concentrate itsattention on him, by pounding away at it till it was all in soreplaces. But he meant it worse mischief than that. Still, asheretofore, regarding it as the key to Philipsburg, he had got alarge force of engineers at work driving a mine towards it, and tothis he trusted more than to breaching it; for the bigger holes hemade in it by day were all stopped at night by the townspeople.
This colonel was not a favorite in the division to which his brigadebelonged. He was a good soldier, but a dull companion. He was alsoaccused of hauteur and of an unsoldierly reserve with his brotherofficers.Some loose-tongued ones even called him a milk-sop, because he wasconstantly seen conversing with the priest--he who had nothing tosay to an honest soldier.Your pulse. A little languid?""Yes, I am a little.""Do you stay at Beaurepaire?" inquired Rose; "if so, we will comehome.""On the contrary, you will stay here another fortnight," said thedoctor, authoritatively.
"Prescribe some of your nice tonics for me, doctor," said Josephine,coaxingly."No! I can't do that; you are in the hands of another practitioner.""What does that matter? You were at Paris.""It is not the etiquette in our profession to interfere with anotherman's patients.""Oh, dear! I am so sorry," began Josephine."I see nothing here that my good friend Mivart is not competent todeal with," said the doctor, coldly.Then followed some general conversation, at the end of which thedoctor once more laid his commands on them to stay another fortnightwhere they were, and bade them good-by.
He was no sooner gone than Rose went to the door of the kitchen, andcalled out, "Madame Jouvenel! Madame Jouvenel! you may come intothe garden again."The doctor drove away; but, instead of going straight to Beaurepaire,he ordered the driver to return to the town. He then walked toMivart's house.In about a quarter of an hour he came out of it, looking singularlygrave, sad, and stern.
Chapter 17Edouard Riviere contrived one Saturday to work off all arrears ofbusiness, and start for Beaurepaire. He had received a very kindletter from Rose, and his longing to see her overpowered him. Onthe road his eyes often glittered, and his cheek flushed withexpectation. At last he got there. His heart beat: for four monthshe had not seen her. He ran up into the drawing-room, and therefound the baroness alone; she welcomed him cordially, but soon lethim know Rose and her sister were at Frejus. His heart sank.Frejus was a long way off. But this was not all. Rose's lastletter was dated from Beaurepaire, yet it must have been written atFrejus. He went to Jacintha, and demanded an explanation of this.The ready Jacintha said it looked as if she meant to be homedirectly; and added, with cool cunning, "That is a hint for me toget their rooms ready.""This letter must have come here enclosed in another," said Edouard,sternly.
"Like enough," replied Jacintha, with an appearance of sovereignindifference.Edouard looked at her, and said, grimly, "I will go to Frejus.""So I would," said Jacintha, faltering a little, but notperceptibly; "you might meet them on the road, if so be they comethe same road; there are two roads, you know."Edouard hesitated; but he ended by sending Dard to the town on hisown horse, with orders to leave him at the inn, and borrow a freshhorse. "I shall just have time," said he. He rode to Frejus, andinquired at the inns and post-office for Mademoiselle deBeaurepaire. They did not know her; then he inquired for MadameRaynal. No such name known. He rode by the seaside upon the chanceof their seeing him. He paraded on horseback throughout the place,in hopes every moment that a window would open, and a fair faceshine at it, and call him. At last his time was up, and he wasobliged to ride back, sick at heart, to Beaurepaire. He told thebaroness, with some natural irritation, what had happened. She wasas much surprised as he was."I write to Madame Raynal at the post-office, Frejus," said she."And Madame Raynal gets your letters?""Of course she does, since she answers them; you cannot haveinquired at the post.""Why, it was the first place I inquired at, and neither Mademoisellede Beaurepaire nor Madame Raynal were known there."Jacintha, who could have given the clew, seemed so puzzled herself,that they did not even apply to her. Edouard took a sorrowful leaveof the baroness, and set out on his journey home.
Oh! how sad and weary that ride seemed now by what it had beencoming. His disappointment was deep and irritating; and ere he hadridden half way a torturer fastened on his heart. That torture issuspicion; a vague and shadowy, but gigantic phantom that oppressesand rends the mind more terribly than certainty. In this state ofvague, sickening suspicion, he remained some days: then came anaffectionate letter from Rose, who had actually returned home. Inthis she expressed her regret and disappointment at having missedhim; blamed herself for misleading him, but explained that theirstay at Frejus had been prolonged from day to day far beyond herexpectation. "The stupidity of the post-office was more than shecould account for," said she. But, what went farthest to consoleEdouard, was, that after this contretemps she never ceased to invitehim to come to Beaurepaire. Now, before this, though she said manykind and pretty things in her letters, she had never invited him tovisit the chateau; he had noticed this. "Sweet soul," thought he,"she really is vexed. I must be a brute to think any more about it.Still"--So this wound was skinned over.
At last, what he called his lucky star ordained that he should betransferred to the very post his Commandant Raynal had onceoccupied. He sought and obtained permission to fix his quarters inthe little village near Beaurepaire, and though this plan could notbe carried out for three months, yet the prospect of it was joyfulall that time--joyful to both lovers. Rose needed this consolation,for she was very unhappy: her beloved sister, since their returnfrom Frejus, had gone back. The flush of health was faded, and sowas her late energy. She fell into deep depression and languor,broken occasionally by fits of nervous irritation.She would sit for hours together at one window languishing andfretting. Can the female reader guess which way that window looked?
Now, Edouard was a favorite of Josephine's; so Rose hoped he wouldhelp to distract her attention from those sorrows which a lapse ofyears alone could cure.On every account, then, his visit was looked forward to with hopeand joy.He came. He was received with open arms. He took up his quartersat his old lodgings, but spent his evenings and every leisure hourat the chateau.He was very much in love, and showed it. He adhered to Rose like aleech, and followed her about like a little dog.This would have made her very happy if there had been nothing greatto distract her attention and her heart; but she had Josephine,whose deep depression and fits of irritation and terror filled herwith anxiety; and so Edouard was in the way now and then. On theseoccasions he was too vain to see what she was too polite to show himoffensively.But on this she became vexed at his obtuseness.
"Does he think I can be always at his beck and call?" thought she."She is always after her sister," said he.
He was just beginning to be jealous of Josephine when the followingincident occurred:--Rose and the doctor were discussing Josephine. Edouard pretended tobe reading a book, but he listened to every word.Dr. Aubertin gave it as his opinion that Madame Raynal did not makeenough blood.
"Oh! if I thought that!" cried Rose."Well, then, it is so, I assure you.""Doctor," said Rose, "do you remember, one day you said healthyblood could be drawn from robust veins and poured into a sickperson's?""It is a well-known fact," said Aubertin.
"I don't believe it," said Rose, dryly."Then you place a very narrow limit to science," said the doctor,coldly."Did you ever see it done?" asked Rose, slyly."I have not only seen it done, but have done it myself.""Then do it for us. There's my arm; take blood from that for dearJosephine!" and she thrust a white arm out under his eye with such abold movement and such a look of fire and love as never beamed fromcommon eyes.
A keen, cold pang shot through the human heart of Edouard Riviere.The doctor started and gazed at her with admiration: then he hunghis head. "I could not do it. I love you both too well to draineither of life's current."Rose veiled her fire, and began to coax. "Once a week; just once aweek, dear, dear doctor; you know I should never miss it. I am sofull of that health, which Heaven denies to her I love.""Let us try milder measures first," said the doctor. "I have mostfaith in time.""What if I were to take her to Frejus? hitherto, the sea has alwaysdone wonders for her.""Frejus, by all means," said Edouard, mingling suddenly in theconversation; "and this time I will go with you, and then I shallfind out where you lodged before, and how the boobies came to saythey did not know you."Rose bit her lip. She could not help seeing then how much dearEdouard was in her way and Josephine's. Their best friends are inthe way of all who have secrets. Presently the doctor went to hisstudy. Then Edouard let fall a mock soliloquy. "I wonder," saidhe, dropping out his words one by one, "whether any one will everlove me well enough to give a drop of their blood for me.""If you were in sickness and sorrow, who knows?" said Rose, coloringup.
"I would soon be in sickness and sorrow if I thought that.""Don't jest with such matters, monsieur.""I am serious. I wish I was as ill as Madame Raynal is, to be lovedas she is.""You must resemble her in some other things to be loved as she is."You have often made me feel that of late, dear Rose."This touched her. But she fought down the kindly feeling. "I amglad of it," said she, out of perverseness. She added after awhile, "Edouard, you are naturally jealous.""Not the least in the world, Rose, I assure you. I have manyfaults, but jealous I am not.""Oh, yes, you are, and suspicious, too; there is something in yourcharacter that alarms me for our happiness.""Well, if you come to that, there are things in YOUR conduct I couldwish explained.""There! I said so. You have not confidence in me.""Pray don't say that, dear Rose. I have every confidence in you;only please don't ask me to divest myself of my senses and myreason.""I don't ask you to do that or anything else for me; good-by, forthe present.""Where are you going now? tic! tic! I never can get a word in peacewith you.""I am not going to commit murder. I'm only going up-stairs to mysister.""Poor Madame Raynal, she makes it very hard for me not to dislikeher.""Dislike my Josephine?" and Rose bristled visibly.
"She is an angel, but I should hate an angel if it came foreverbetween you and me.""Excuse me, she was here long before you. It is you that camebetween her and me.""I came because I was told I should be welcome," said Edouardbitterly, and equivocating a little; he added, "and I dare say Ishall go when I am told I am one too many.""Bad heart! who says you are one too many in the house? But you aretoo exigent, monsieur; you assume the husband, and you tease me. Itis selfish; can you not see I am anxious and worried? you ought tobe kind to me, and soothe me; that is what I look for from you, and,instead of that, I declare you are getting to be quite a worry.""I should not be if you loved me as I love you. I give YOU norival. Shall I tell you the cause of all this? you have secrets.""What secrets?""Is it me you ask? am I trusted with them? Secrets are a bond thatnot even love can overcome. It is to talk secrets you run away fromme to Madame Raynal. Where did you lodge at Frejus, Mademoisellethe Reticent?""In a grotto, dry at low water, Monsieur the Inquisitive.""That is enough: since you will not tell me, I will find it outbefore I am a week older."This alarmed Rose terribly, and drove her to extremities. Shedecided to quarrel."Sir," said she, "I thank you for playing the tyrant a littleprematurely; it has put me on my guard. Let us part; you and I arenot suited to each other, Edouard Riviere."He took this more humbly than she expected. "Part!" said he, inconsternation; "that is a terrible word to pass between you and me.
Forgive me! I suppose I am jealous.""You are; you are actually jealous of my sister. Well, I tell youplainly I love you, but I love my sister better. I never could loveany man as I do her; it is ridiculous to expect such a thing.""And do you think I could bear to play second fiddle to her all mylife?""I don't ask you. Go and play first trumpet to some other lady.""You speak your wishes so plainly now, I have nothing to do but toobey."He kissed her hand and went away disconsolately.Rose, instead of going to Josephine, her determination to do whichhad mainly caused the quarrel, sat sadly down, and leaned her headon her hand. "I am cruel. I am ungrateful. He has gone awaybroken-hearted. And what shall I do without him?--little fool! Ilove him better than he loves me. He will never forgive me. I havewounded his vanity; and they are vainer than we are. If we meet atdinner I will be so kind to him, he will forget it all. No! Edouardwill not come to dinner. He is not a spaniel that you can beat, andthen whistle back again. Something tells me I have lost him, and ifI have, what shall I do? I will write him a note. I will ask himto forgive me."She sat down at the table, and took a sheet of notepaper and beganto write a few conciliatory words. She was so occupied in makingthese kind enough, and not too kind, that a light step approachedher unobserved. She looked up and there was Edouard. She whippedthe paper off the table.A look of suspicion and misery crossed Edouard's face.Rose caught it, and said, "Well, am I to be affronted any more?""No, Rose. I came back to beg you to forget what passed just now,"said he.
Rose's eye flashed; his return showed her her power. She abused itdirectly."How can I forget it if you come reminding me?""Dear Rose, now don't be so unkind, so cruel--I have not come backto tease you, sweet one. I come to know what I can do to pleaseyou; to make you love me again?" and he was about to kneelgraciously on one knee.
"I'll tell you. Don't come near me for a month."Edouard started up, white as ashes with mortification and woundedlove."This is how you treat me for humbling myself, when it is you thatought to ask forgiveness.""Why should I ask what I don't care about?""What DO you care about?--except that sister of yours? You have noheart. And on this cold-blooded creature I have wasted a love anempress might have been proud of inspiring. I pray Heaven some manmay sport with your affections, you heartless creature, as you haveplayed with mine, and make you suffer what I suffer now!"And with a burst of inarticulate grief and rage he flung out of theroom.
Rose sank trembling on the sofa a little while: then with a mightyeffort rose and went to comfort her sister.Edouard came no more to Beaurepaire.