"There's no chance of such a blessed reward in this case," he replied, with a grim laugh. Then, perplexed indeed,uniswap v3 gas fee he continued to Jane, "I'm just as sorry for you as I can be, but there's no use of getting my wife and self in trouble which in the end will do you no good. You are too young to understand all that your staying may lead to."
"Her bibitcoin news bbcrthday!" sighed Rose.The donor, whoever he was, little knew the pain he was inflicting onthis distressed but proud family, or the hard battle that ensuedbetween their necessities and their delicacy. The ten gold pieceswere a perpetual temptation: a daily conflict. The words thataccompanied the donation offered a bait. Their pride and dignitydeclined it; but these bright bits of gold cost them many a sharppang. You must know that Josephine and Rose had worn out theirmourning by this time; and were obliged to have recourse to gayermaterials that lay in their great wardrobes, and were older, butless worn. A few of these gold pieces would have enabled the poorgirls to be neat, and yet to mourn their father openly. And it wentthrough and through those tender, simple hearts, to think that theymust be disunited, even in so small a thing as dress; that whiletheir mother remained in her weeds, they must seem no longer toshare her woe.
The baroness knew their feeling, and felt its piety, and yet couldnot bow her dignity to say, "Take five of these bits of gold, andlet us all look what we are--one." Yet in this, as in everythingelse, they supported each other. They resisted, they struggled, andwith a wrench they conquered day by day. At last, by generalconsent, Josephine locked up the tempter, and they looked at it nomore. But the little bit of paper met a kinder fate. Rose made alittle frame for it, and it was kept in a drawer, in the salon: andoften looked at and blessed. Just when they despaired of humanfriendship, this paper with the sacred word "friend" written on it,had fallen all in a moment on their aching hearts.They could not tell whence it came, this blessed word.But men dispute whence comes the dew?Then let us go with the poets, who say it comes from heaven.And even so that sweet word, friend, dropped like the dew fromheaven on these afflicted ones.
So they locked the potent gold away from themselves, and took thekind slip of paper to their hearts.The others left off guessing: Aubertin had it all his own way: heupheld Perrin as their silent benefactor, and bade them all observethat the worthy notary had never visited the chateau openly sincethe day the purse was left there. "Guilty conscience," saidAubertin dryly.Women are self-denying and uncandid. Men are self-indulgent andoutspoken.
And this is the key to a thousand double misunderstandings; forbelieve me, good women are just as stupid in misunderstanding men ashonest men are in misunderstanding women.To Camille, Josephine's fluctuations, joys, tremors, love, terror,modesty, seemed one grand total, caprice. The component parts of ithe saw not; and her caprice tortured him almost to madness. Toopenitent to give way again to violent passion, he gently fretted.His health retrograded and his temper began to sour. The eye oftimid love that watched him with maternal anxiety from under itslong lashes saw this with dismay, and Rose, who looked into hersister's bosom, devoted herself once more to soothe him withoutcompromising Josephine's delicacy. Matters were not so bad but whata fine sprightly girl like Rose could cheer up a dejected but manlycolonel; and Rose was generally successful.But then, unfortunately, this led to a fresh mystification.
Riviere's natural jealousy revived, and found constant food in theattention Rose paid Camille, a brilliant colonel living in the housewhile he, poor wretch, lived in lodgings. The false position of allthe parties brought about some singular turns. I give from theirnumber one that forms a link, though a small one, in my narrative.One day Edouard came to tell Rose she was making him unhappy; he hadher alone in the Pleasaunce; she received him with a radiant smile,and they had a charming talk,--a talk all about HIM: what the familyowed him, etc.
On this, his late jealousy and sense of injury seemed a thing ofthree years ago, and never to return. So hard it is for the lovingheart to resist its sun.Jacintha came with a message from the colonel: "Would it beagreeable to Mademoiselle Rose to walk with him at the usual hour?""Certainly," said Rose.As Jacintha was retiring Edouard called to her to stop a minute.Then, turning to Rose, he begged her very ceremoniously toreconsider that determination.
"What determination?""To sacrifice me to this Colonel Dujardin." Still politely, only alittle grimly.Rose opened her eyes. "Are you mad?" inquired she with quiethauteur."Neither mad nor a fool," was the reply. "I love you too well toshare your regard with any one, upon any terms; least of all uponthese, that there is to be a man in the world at whose beck and callyou are to be, and at whose orders you are to break off an interviewwith me. Perdition!""Dear Edouard, what folly! Can you suspect me of discourtesy, aswell as of--I know not what. Colonel Dujardin will join us, that isall, and we shall take a little walk with him.""Not I. I decline the intrusion; you are engaged with me, and Ihave things to say to you that are not fit for that puppy to hear.So choose between me and him, and choose forever."Rose colored. "I should be very sorry to choose either of youforever; but for this afternoon I choose you.""Oh, thank you--my whole life shall prove my gratitude for thispreference."Rose beckoned Jacintha, and sent her with an excuse to ColonelDujardin. She then turned with an air of mock submission toEdouard. "I am at monsieur's ORDERS."Then this unhappy novice, being naturally good-natured, thanked heragain and again for her condescension in setting his heart at rest.
He proposed a walk, since his interference had lost her one. Sheyielded a cold assent. This vexed him, but he took it for grantedit would wear off before the end of the walk. Edouard's heartbounded, but he loved her too sincerely to be happy unless he couldsee her happy too; the malicious thing saw this, or perhaps knew itby instinct, and by means of this good feeling of his she revengedherself for his tyranny. She tortured him as only a woman cantorture, and as even she can torture only a worthy man, and one wholoves her. In the course of that short walk this inexperiencedgirl, strong in the instincts and inborn arts of her sex, drove pinsand needles, needles and pins, of all sorts and sizes, through herlover's heart.She was everything by turns, except kind, and nothing for longtogether. She was peevish, she was ostentatiously patient andsubmissive, she was inattentive to her companion and seeminglywrapped up in contemplation of absent things and persons, thecolonel to wit; she was dogged, repulsive, and cold; and she neverwas herself a single moment. They returned to the gate of thePleasaunce. "Well, mademoiselle," said Riviere very sadly, "thatinterloper might as well have been with us.""Of course he might, and you would have lost nothing by permittingme to be courteous to a guest and an invalid. If you had not playedthe tyrant, and taken the matter into your own hands, I should havefound means to soothe your jeal--I mean your vanity; but youpreferred to have your own way. Well, you have had it.""Yes, mademoiselle, you have given me a lesson; you have shown mehow idle it is to attempt to force a young lady's inclinations inanything."He bade her good-day, and went away sorrowful.
She cut Camille dead for the rest of the day.Next morning, early, Edouard called expressly to see her.
"Mademoiselle Rose," said he, humbly, "I called to apologize for theungentlemanly tone of my remonstrances yesterday.""Fiddle-dee," said Rose. "Don't do it again; that is the bestapology.""I am not likely to offend so again," said he sadly. "I am goingaway. I am sorry to say I am promoted; my new post is ten leagues.HE WILL HAVE IT ALL HIS OWN WAY NOW. But perhaps it is best. WereI to stay here, I foresee you would soon lose whatever friendlyfeeling you have for me.""Am I so changeable? I am not considered so," remonstrated Rose,gently.Riviere explained; "I am not vain," said he, with that self-knowledge which is so general an attribute of human beings; "no manless so, nor am I jealous; but I respect myself, and I could neverbe content to share your time and your regard with Colonel Dujardin,nor with a much better man. See now; he has made me arrogant. WasI ever so before?""No! no! no! and I forgive you now, my poor Edouard.""He has made you cold as ice to me.""No! that was my own wickedness and spitefulness.""Wickedness, spitefulness! they are not in your nature. It is allthat wretch's doing."Rose sighed, but she said nothing; for she saw that to excuseCamille would only make the jealous one more bitter against him."Will you deign to write to me at my new post? once a month? inanswer to my letters?""Yes, dear. But you will ride over sometimes to see us.""Oh, yes; but for some little time I shall not be able. The dutiesof a new post.""Perhaps in a month--a fortnight?""Sooner perhaps; the moment I hear that man is out of the house."Edouard went away, dogged and sad; Rose shut herself up in herroom and had a good cry. In the afternoon Josephine came andremonstrated with her. "You have not walked with him at all to-day.""No; you must pet him yourself for once. I hate the sight of him;it has made mischief between Edouard and me, my being so attentiveto him. Edouard is jealous, and I cannot wonder. After all, whatright have I to mystify him who honors me with his affection?"Then, being pressed with questions by Josephine, she related to herall that had passed between Edouard and her, word for word."Poor Camille!" sighed Josephine the just."Oh, dear, yes! poor Camille! who has the power to make us allmiserable, and who does it, and will go on doing it until he ishappy himself.""Ah! would to Heaven I could make him as happy as he deserves tobe.""You could easily make him much happier than that. And why not doit?""O Rose," said Josephine, shocked, "how can you advise me so?"She then asked her if she thought it possible that Camille could beignorant of her heart.
"Josephine," replied Rose, angrily, "these men are absurd: theybelieve only what they see. I have done what I can for you andCamille, but it is useless. Would you have him believe you lovehim, you must yourself be kind to him; and it would be a charitableaction: you would make four unhappy people happy, or, at least, putthem on the road; NOW they are off the road, and, by what I haveseen to-day, I think, if we go on so much longer, it will be toolate to try to return. Come, Josephine, for my sake! Let me go andtell him you will consent--to all our happinesses. There, the crimeis mine." And she ran off in spite of Josephine's faint andhypocritical entreaties. She returns the next minute looking allaghast. "It is too late," said she. "He is going away. I am surehe is, for he is packing up his things to go. I spied through theold place and saw him. He was sighing like a furnace as he strappedhis portmanteau. I hate him, of course, but I was sorry for him. Icould not help being. He sighed so all the time, piteously."Josephine turned pale, and lifted her hands in surprise and dismay."Depend on it, Josephine, we are wrong," said Rose, firmly: "thesewretches will not stand our nonsense above a certain time: they arenot such fools. We are mismanaging: one gone, the other going; bothlosing faith in us."Josephine's color returned to her cheek, and then mounted high.
Presently she smiled, a smile full of conscious power and furtivecomplacency, and said quietly, "He will not go."Rose was pleased, but not surprised, to hear her sister speak soconfidently, for she knew her power over Camille. "That is right,"said she, "go to him, and say two honest words: 'I bid you stay.'""O Rose! no!""Poltroon! You know he would go down on his knees, and staydirectly.""No: I should blush all my life before you and him. I COULD not. Ishould let him go sooner, almost. Oh, no! I will never ask a manto stay who wishes to leave me. But just you go to him, and sayMadame Raynal is going to take a little walk: will he do her thehonor to be her companion? Not a word more, if you love me.""I'll go. Hypocrite!"Josephine received Camille with a bright smile. She seemed inunusually good spirits, and overflowing with kindness and innocentaffection. On this his high gloomy brow relaxed, and all hisprospects brightened as by magic. Then she communicated to him anumber of little plans for next week and the week after. Among therest he was to go with her and Rose to Frejus. "Such a sweet place:I want to show it you. You will come?"He hesitated a single moment: a moment of intense anxiety to thesmiling Josephine.
"Yes! he would come: it was a great temptation, he saw so little ofher.""Well, you will see more of me now.""Shall I see you every day--alone, I mean?""Oh, yes, if you wish it," replied Josephine, in an off-hand,indifferent way.He seized her hand and devoured it with kisses. "Foolish thing!"murmured she, looking down on him with ineffable tenderness.
"Should I not be always with you if I consulted my inclination?--letme go.""No! consult your inclination a little longer.""Must I?""Yes; that shall be your punishment.""For what? What have I done?" asked she with an air of greatinnocence."You have made me happy, me who adore you," was the evasive reply.Josephine came in from her walk with a high color and beaming eyes,and screamed, "Run, Rose!"On this concise, and to us not very clear instruction, Rose slippedup the secret stair. She saw Camille come in and gravely unpack hislittle portmanteau, and dispose his things in the drawers withsoldier-like neatness, and hum an agreeable march. She came andtold Josephine."Ah!" said Josephine with a little sigh of pleasure, and a gentletriumph in her eyes.
She had not only got her desire, but had arrived at it her way,--woman's way, round about.This adroit benevolence led to more than she bargained for. She andCamille were now together every day: and their hearts, being underrestraint in public, melted together all the more in their stoleninterviews.
At the third delicious interview the modest Camille begged Josephineto be his wife directly.Have you noticed those half tame deer that come up to you in a parkso lovingly, with great tender eyes, and, being now almost withinreach, stop short, and with bodies fixed like statues on pedestals,crane out their graceful necks for sugar, or bread, or a chestnut,or a pocket-handkerchief? Do but offer to put your hand upon them,away they bound that moment twenty yards, and then stand quitestill, and look at your hand and you, with great inquiring,suspicious, tender eyes.
So Josephine started at Camille's audacious proposal. "Nevermention such a thing to me again: or--or, I will not walk with youany more:" then she thrilled with pleasure at the obnoxious idea,"she Camille's wife!" and colored all over--with rage, Camillethought. He promised submissively not to renew the topic: no morehe did till next day. Josephine had spent nearly the whole intervalin thinking of it; so she was prepared to put him down by calmreasons. She proceeded to do so, gently, but firmly.Lo and behold! what does he do, but meets her with just as manyreasons, and just as calm ones: and urges them gently, but firmly.
Heaven had been very kind to them: why should they be unkind tothemselves? They had had a great escape: why not accept thehappiness, as, being persons of honor, they had accepted the misery?with many other arguments, differing in other things, but agreeingin this, that they were all sober, grave, and full of common-sense.Finding him not defenceless on the score of reason, she shifted herground and appealed to his delicacy. On this he appealed to herlove, and then calm reason was jostled off the field, and passionand sentiment battled in her place.In these contests day by day renewed, Camille had many advantages.
Rose, though she did not like him, had now declared on his side.She refused to show him the least attention. This threw him onJosephine: and when Josephine begged her to help reduce Camille toreason, her answer would be,--"Hypocrite!" with a kiss: or else she would say, with a half comicpetulance, "No! no! I am on his side. Give him his own way, or hewill make us all four miserable."Thus Josephine's ally went over to the enemy.
And then this coy young lady's very power of resistance began togive way. She had now battled for months against her own heart:first for her mother; then, in a far more terrible conflict forRaynal, for honor and purity; and of late she had been battling,still against her own heart, for delicacy, for etiquette, thingsvery dear to her, but not so great, holy, and sustaining as honorand charity that were her very household gods: and so, just when themotives of resistance were lowered, the length of the resistancebegan to wear her out.
For nothing is so hard to her sex as a long steady struggle. Inmatters physical, this is the thing the muscles of the fair cannotstand; in matters intellectual and moral, the long strain it is thatbeats them dead.Do not look for a Bacona, a Newtona, a Handella, a Victoria Huga.