"I lived for you: I would have died funiswap execution priceor you; you could not even waitfor me."A low moan, but not a word of excuse.
Captain Jullien had followed the flying foe: but could not come upwith them: and, as the enemy had prepared for every contingency, thefatal bastion, after first throwing a rocket or two to discovertheir position, poured showers of grape into them, killed many, andwould have killed more but that Captain Neville and his gunnershappened by mere accident to dismount one gun and to kill a coupleof gunners at the others. This gave the remains of the company timeto disperse and run back. When the men were mustered, CaptainJullien and twenty-five of his company did not answer to theirnames. At daybreak they were visible from the trenches lying all bythemselves within eighty yards of the bastion.what is chainlink crypto used forA flag of truce came from the fort: the dead were removed on bothsides and buried. Some Prussian officers strolled into the Frenchlines. Civilities and cigars exchanged: "Bon jour," "Gooten daeg:"then at it again, ding dong all down the line blazing and roaring.
At twelve o'clock the besieged had got a man on horseback, on top ofa hill, with colored flags in his hand, making signals."What are you up to now?" inquired Dard."You will see," said La Croix, affecting mystery; he knew no morethan the other.Presently off went Long Tom on the top of the bastion, and the shotcame roaring over the heads of the speakers.The flags were changed, and off went Long Tom again at an elevation.
Ten seconds had scarcely elapsed when a tremendous explosion tookplace on the French right. Long Tom was throwing red-hot shot; onehad fallen on a powder wagon, and blown it to pieces, and killed twopoor fellows and a horse, and turned an artillery man at somedistance into a seeming nigger, but did him no great harm; only tookhim three days to get the powder out of his clothes with pipe clay,and off his face with raw potato-peel.When the tumbril exploded, the Prussians could be heard to cheer,and they turned to and fired every iron spout they owned. Long Tomworked all day.Rage and grief in his heart, Raynal waited chafing in the trenchestill five minutes past midnight. He then became commander of thebrigade, gave his orders, and took thirty men out to creep up to thewreck of the bastion, and find the late colonel's body.
Going for so pious a purpose, he was rewarded by an importantdiscovery. The whole Prussian lines had been abandoned sincesunset, and, mounting cautiously on the ramparts, Raynal saw thetown too was evacuated, and lights and other indications on a risingground behind it convinced him that the Prussians were in fullretreat, probably to effect that junction with other forces whichthe assault he had recommended would have rendered impossible.They now lighted lanterns, and searched all over and round thebastion for the poor colonel, in the rear of the bastion they foundmany French soldiers, most of whom had died by the bayonet. ThePrussian dead had all been carried off.Here they found the talkative Sergeant La Croix. The poor fellowwas silent enough now. A terrible sabre-cut on the skull. Thecolonel was not there. Raynal groaned, and led the way on to thebastion. The ruins still smoked. Seven or eight bodies werediscovered by an arm or a foot protruding through the masses ofmasonry. Of these some were Prussians; a proof that some devotedhand had fired the train, and destroyed both friend and foe.They found the tube of Long Tom sticking up, just as he had shownover the battlements that glorious day, with this exception, that agreat piece was knocked off his lip, and the slice ended in a long,broad crack.
The soldiers looked at this. "That is our bullet's work," saidthey. Then one old veteran touched his cap, and told Raynalgravely, he knew where their beloved colonel was. "Dig here, to thebottom," said he. "HE LIES BENEATH HIS WORK."Improbable and superstitious as this was, the hearts of the soldiersassented to it.Presently there was a joyful cry outside the bastion. A rush wasmade thither. But it proved to be only Dard, who had discoveredthat Sergeant La Croix's heart still beat. They took him upcarefully, and carried him gently into camp. To Dard's delight thesurgeon pronounced him curable. For all that, he was three daysinsensible, and after that unfit for duty. So they sent him homeinvalided, with a hundred francs out of the poor colonel's purse.
Raynal reported the evacuation of the place, and that ColonelDujardin was buried under the bastion, and soon after rode out ofthe camp.The words Camille had scratched with a pencil, and sent him from theedge of the grave, were few but striking."A dead man takes you once more by the hand. My last thought, thankGod, is France. For her sake and mine, Raynal. GO FOR GENERALBONAPARTE. Tell him, from a dying soldier, the Rhine is a river tothese generals, but to him a field of glory. He will lay out ourlives, not waste them."There was nothing to hinder Raynal from carrying out this sacredrequest: for the 24th brigade had ceased to exist: already thinnedby hard service, it was reduced to a file or two by the fatalbastion. It was incorporated with the 12th; and Raynal rode heavyat heart to Paris, with a black scarf across his breast.Chapter 23
You see now into what a fatal entanglement two high-minded youngladies were led, step by step, through yielding to the naturalfoible of their sex--the desire to hide everything painful fromthose they love, even at the expense of truth.A nice mess they made of it with their amiable dishonesty. And praytake notice that after the first White Lie or two, circumstancesoverpowered them, and drove them on against their will. It was nosmall part of all their misery that they longed to get back to truthand could not.We shall see presently how far they succeeded in that pious object,for the sake of which they first entered on concealments. But firsta word is due about one of the victims of their amiable, self-sacrificing lubricity. Edouard Riviere fell in one night, fromhappiness and confidence, such as till that night be had neverenjoyed, to deep and hopeless misery.He lost that which, to every heart capable of really loving, is thegreatest earthly blessing, the woman he adored. But worse thanthat, he lost those prime treasures of the masculine soul, belief inhuman goodness, and in female purity. To him no more could there bein nature a candid eye, a virtuous ready-mantling cheek: for frailtyand treachery had put on these signs of virtue and nobility.
Henceforth, let him live a hundred years, whom could he trust orbelieve in?Here was a creature whose virtues seemed to make frailty impossible:
treachery, doubly impossible: a creature whose very faults--forfaults she had--had seemed as opposite to treachery as her veryvirtues were. Yet she was all frailty and falsehood.He passed in that one night of anguish from youth to age. He wentabout his business like a leaden thing. His food turned tasteless.
His life seemed ended. Nothing appeared what it had been. The verylandscape seemed cut in stone, and he a stone in the middle of it,and his heart a stone in him. At times, across that heavy heartcame gushes of furious rage and bitter mortification; his heart wasbroken, and his faith was gone, for his vanity had been stabbed asfiercely as his love. "Georges Dandin!" he would cry, "curse her!curse her!" But love and misery overpowered these heats, and frozehim to stone again.The poor boy pined and pined. His clothes hung loose about him; hisface was so drawn with suffering, you would not have known him. Hehated company. The things he was expected to talk about!--he withhis crushed heart. He could not. He would not. He shunned all theworld; he went alone like a wounded deer. The good doctor, on hisreturn from Paris, called on him to see if he was ill: since he hadnot come for days to the chateau. He saw the doctor coming and badethe servant say he was not in the village.He drew down the blind, that he might never see the chateau again.He drew it up again: he could not exist without seeing it. "Shewill be miserable, too," he cried, gnashing his teeth. "She willsee whether she has chosen well." At other times, all his courage,and his hatred, and his wounded vanity, were drowned in his love andits despair, and then he bowed his head, and sobbed and cried as ifhis heart would burst. One morning he was so sobbing with his headon the table, when his landlady tapped at his door. He started upand turned his head away from the door."A young woman from Beaurepaire, monsieur.""From Beaurepaire?" his heart gave a furious leap. "Show her in."He wiped his eyes and seated himself at a table, and, all in aflutter, pretended to be the state's.
It was not Jacintha, as he expected, but the other servant. Shemade a low reverence, cast a look of admiration on him, and gave hima letter. His eye darted on it: his hand trembled as he took it.He turned away again to open it. He forced himself to say, in atolerably calm voice, "I will send an answer."The letter was apparently from the baroness de Beaurepaire; a mereline inviting him to pay her a visit. It was written in a tremuloushand. Edouard examined the writing, and saw directly it was writtenby Rose.
Being now, naturally enough, full of suspicion, he set this down asan attempt to disguise her hand. "So," said he, to himself, "thisis the game. The old woman is to be drawn into it, too. She is tohelp to make Georges Dandin of me. I will go. I will baffle themall. I will expose this nest of depravity, all ceremony on thesurface, and voluptuousness and treachery below. O God! who couldbelieve that creature never loved me! They shall none of them seemy weakness. Their benefactor shall be still their superior. Theyshall see me cold as ice, and bitter as gall."But to follow him farther just now, would be to run too far inadvance of the main story. I must, therefore, return toBeaurepaire, and show, amongst other things, how this very lettercame to be written.When Josephine and Rose awoke from that startled slumber thatfollowed the exhaustion of that troubled night, Rose was the morewretched of the two. She had not only dishonored herself, butstabbed the man she loved.
Josephine, on the other hand, was exhausted, but calm. The fearfulescape she had had softened down by contrast her more distantterrors.She began to shut her eyes again, and let herself drift. Above all,the doctor's promise comforted her: that she should go to Paris withhim, and have her boy.
This deceitful calm of the heart lasted three days.Carefully encouraged by Rose, it was destroyed by Jacintha.Jacintha, conscious that she had betrayed her trust, was almostheart-broken. She was ashamed to appear before her young mistress,and, coward-like, wanted to avoid knowing even how much harm she haddone.She pretended toothache, bound up her face, and never stirred fromthe kitchen. But she was not to escape: the other servant came downwith a message: "Madame Raynal wanted to see her directly."She came quaking, and found Josephine all alone.
Josephine rose to meet her, and casting a furtive glance round theroom first, threw her arms round Jacintha's neck, and embraced herwith many tears."Was ever fidelity like yours? how COULD you do it, Jacintha? andhow can I ever repay it? But, no; it is too base of me to acceptsuch a sacrifice from any woman."Jacintha was so confounded she did not know what to say. But it wasa mystification that could not endure long between two women, whowere both deceived by a third. Between them they soon discoveredthat it must have been Rose who had sacrificed herself.
"And Edouard has never been here since," said Josephine."And never will, madame.""Yes, he shall! there must be some limit even to my feebleness, andmy sister's devotion. You shall take a line to him from me. I willwrite it this moment."The letter was written. But it was never sent. Rose foundJosephine and Jacintha together; saw a letter was being written,asked to see it; on Josephine's hesitating, snatched it out of herhand, read it, tore it to pieces, and told Jacintha to leave theroom. She hated the sight of poor Jacintha, who had slept at thevery moment when all depended on her watchfulness.
"So you were going to send to HIM, unknown to me.""Forgive me, Rose." Rose burst out crying."O Josephine! is it come to this? Would you deceive ME?""You have deceived ME! Yes! it has come to that. I know all.
Twill not consent to destroy ALL I love."She then begged hard for leave to send the letter.Rose gave an impetuous refusal. "What could you say to him? foolishthing, don't you know him, and his vanity? When you had exposedyourself to him, and showed him I had insulted him for you, do youthink he would forgive me? No! this is to make light of my love--tomake me waste the sacrifice I have made. I feel that sacrifice asmuch as you do, more perhaps, and I would rather die in a conventthan waste that night of shame and agony. Come, promise me, no moreattempts of that kind, or we are sisters no more, friends no more,one heart and one blood no more."The weaker nature, weakened still more by ill-health and grief, wasterrified into submission, or rather temporized. "Kiss me then,"said Josephine, "and love me to the end. Ah, if I was only in mygrave!"Rose kissed her with many sighs, but Josephine smiled. Rose eyedher with suspicion. That deep smile; what did it mean? She hadformed some resolution. "She is going to deceive me somehow,"thought Rose.From that day she watched Josephine like a spy. Confidence was gonebetween them. Suspicion took its place.Rose was right in her misgivings. The moment Josephine saw thatEdouard's happiness and Rose's were to be sacrificed for her whomnothing could make happy, the poor thing said to herself, "I CANDIE."And that was the happy thought that made her smile.
The doctor gave her laudanum: he found she could not sleep: and hethought it all-important that she should sleep.Josephine, instead of taking these small doses, saved them all up,secreted them in a phial, and so, from the sleep of a dozen nights,collected the sleep of death: and now she was tranquil. This youngcreature that could not bear to give pain to any one else, preparedher own death with a calm resolution the heroes of our sex have notoften equalled. It was so little a thing to her to strikeJosephine. Death would save her honor, would spare her thefrightful alternative of deceiving her husband, or of telling himshe was another's. "Poor Raynal," said she to herself, "it is socruel to tie him to a woman who can never be to him what hedeserves. Rose would then prove her innocence to Edouard. A fewtears for a weak, loving soul, and they would all be happy andforget her."One day the baroness, finding herself alone with Rose and Dr.
Aubertin, asked the latter what he thought of Josephine's state."Oh, she was better: had slept last night without her usualnarcotic."The baroness laid down her knitting and said, with much meaning,"And I tell you, you will never cure her body till you can cure hermind. My poor child has some secret sorrow.""Sorrow!" said Aubertin, stoutly concealing the uneasiness thesewords created, "what sorrow?""Oh, she has some deep sorrow. And so have you, Rose.""Me, mamma! what DO you mean?"The baroness's pale cheek flushed a little. "I mean," said she,"that my patience is worn out at last; I cannot live surrounded bysecrets. Raynal's gloomy looks when he left us, after staying butone hour; Josephine ill from that day, and bursting into tears atevery word; yourself pale and changed, hiding an unaccountablesadness under forced smiles-- Now, don't interrupt me. Edouard,who was almost like a son, gone off, without a word, and never comesnear us now.""Really you are ingenious in tormenting yourself. Josephine is ill!
Well, is it so very strange? Have you never been ill? Rose ispale! you ARE pale, my dear; but she has nursed her sister for amonth; is it a wonder she has lost color? Edouard is gone ajourney, to inherit his uncle's property: a million francs. Butdon't you go and fall ill, like Josephine; turn pale, like Rose; andmake journeys in the region of fancy, after Edouard Riviere, who istramping along on the vulgar high road."This tirade came from Aubertin, and very clever he thought himself.But he had to do with a shrewd old lady, whose suspicions had longsmouldered; and now burst out. She said quietly, "Oh, then Edouardis not in this part of the world. That alters the case: where IShe?""In Normandy, probably," said Rose, blushing.