"You didn't know that she'd bittorrent coin on coinbaseseen the taxi-man after he'd been knocked on the head?"
There is some mystery. She loved me once. There must have beensome strange seduction.""Now you deceive yourself," said Raynal. "I never saw a girl thatcould take her own part better than she can; she is not like hersister at all in character. Not that I excuse him;bitcoin mining graphics card it was adishonorable act, an ungrateful act to my wife and my mother.""And to you.""Now listen to me: in four days I shall stand before him. I shallnot go into a pet like you; I am in earnest. I shall just say tohim, 'Dujardin, I know all!' Then if he is guilty his face willshow it directly. Then I shall say, 'Comrade, you must marry herwhom you have dishonored.'""He will not. He is a libertine, a rascal.""You are speaking of a man you don't know. He WILL marry her andrepair the wrong he has done.""Suppose he refuses?""Why should he refuse? The girl is not ugly nor old, and if she hasdone a folly, he was her partner in it.""But SUPPOSE he refuses?"Raynal ground his teeth. "Refuse? If he does, I'll run my swordthrough his carcass then and there, and the hussy shall go into aconvent."Chapter 21
The French army lay before a fortified place near the Rhine, whichwe will call Philipsburg.This army knew Bonaparte by report only; it was commanded bygenerals of the old school.Philipsburg was defended on three sides by the nature of the ground;but on the side that faced the French line of march there was only azigzag wall, pierced, and a low tower or two at each of the salientangles.There were evidences of a tardy attempt to improve the defences. Inparticular there was a large round bastion, about three times theheight of the wall; but the masonry was new, and the very embrasureswere not yet cut.Young blood was for assaulting these equivocal fortifications at theend of the day's march that brought the French advanced guard insight of the place; but the old generals would not hear of it; thesoldiers' lives must not be flung away assaulting a place that couldbe reduced in twenty-one days with mathematical certainty. For atthis epoch a siege was looked on as a process with a certain result,the only problem was in how many days would the place be taken; andeven this they used to settle to a day or two on paper byarithmetic; so many feet of wall, and so many guns on the one side;so many guns, so many men, and such and such a soil to cut thetrenches in on the other: result, two figures varying from fourteento forty. These two figures represented the duration of the siege.
For all that, siege arithmetic, right in general, has often beenterribly disturbed by one little incident, that occurs from time totime; viz., Genius INside. And, indeed, this is one of the sins ofgenius; it goes and puts out calculations that have stood the bruntof years. Archimedes and Todleben were, no doubt, clever men intheir way and good citizens, yet one characteristic of delicatemen's minds they lacked--veneration; they showed a sad disrespectfor the wisdom of the ancients, deranged the calculations which somuch learning and patient thought had hallowed, disturbed the mindsof white-haired veterans, took sieges out of the grasp of science,and plunged them back into the field of wild conjecture.Our generals then sat down at fourteen hundred yards' distance, andplanned the trenches artistically, and directed them to be cut atartful angles, and so creep nearer and nearer the devoted town."Tra la! la! la! Tra lal! lal! la! la! la!""Jacintha!" screamed Rose angrily.
"Hush! not a word," said the baroness. "Why remonstrate with HER?Servants are but chameleons: they take the color of those theyserve. Do not cry. I wanted your confidence, not your tears, love.There, I will not twice in one day ask you for your heart: it wouldbe to lower the mother, and give the daughter the pain of refusingit, and the regret, sure to come one day, of having refused it. Iwill discover the meaning of it all by myself." She went away witha gentle sigh; and Rose was cut to the heart by her words; sheresolved, whatever it might cost her and Josephine, to make a cleanbreast this very day. As she was one of those who act promptly, shewent instantly in search of her sister, to gain her consent, ifpossible.Now, the said Josephine was in the garden walking with Camille, anduttering a wife's tender solicitudes.
"And must you leave me? must you risk your life again so soon; thelife on which mine depends?""My dear, that letter I received from headquarters two days ago,that inquiry whether my wound was cured. A hint, Josephine--a hinttoo broad for any soldier not to take.""Camille, you are very proud," said Josephine, with an accent ofreproach, and a look of approval."I am obliged to be. I am the husband of the proudest woman inFrance.""Hush! not so loud: there is Dard on the grass.""Dard!" muttered the soldier with a word of meaning. "Josephine,"said he after a pause, and a little peevishly, "how much longer arewe to lower our voices, and turn away our eyes from each other, andbe ashamed of our happiness?""Five months longer, is it not?" answered Josephine quietly.
"Five months longer!"Josephine was hurt at this, and for once was betrayed into a seriousand merited remonstrance."Is this just?" said she. "Think of two months ago: yes, but twomonths ago, you were dying. You doubted my love, because it couldnot overcome my virtue and my gratitude: yet you might have seen itwas destroying my life. Poor Raynal, my husband, my benefactor,died. Then I could do more for you, if not with delicacy, at leastwith honor; but no! words, and looks, and tender offices of lovewere not enough, I must give stronger proof. Dear Camille, I havebeen reared in a strict school: and perhaps none of your sex canknow what it cost me to go to Frejus that day with him I love.""My own Josephine!""I made but one condition: that you would not rob me of my mother'srespect: to her our hasty marriage would appear monstrous,heartless. You consented to be secretly happy for six months. Onefortnight has passed, and you are discontented again.""Oh, no! do not think so. It is every word true. I am anungrateful villain.""How dare you say so? and to me! No! but you are a man.""So I have been told; but my conduct to you, sweet one, has not beenthat of a man from first to last. Yet I could die for you, with asmile on my lips. But when I think that once I lifted thissacrilegious hand against your life--oh!""Do not be silly, Camille. I love you all the better for loving mewell enough to kill me. What woman would not? I tell you, youfoolish thing, you are a man: monseigneur is one of the lordly sex,that is accustomed to have everything its own way. My love, in aworld that is full of misery, here are two that are condemned to besecretly happy a few months longer: a hard fate for one of your sex,it seems: but it is so much sweeter than the usual lot of mine, thatreally I cannot share your misery," and she smiled joyously."Then share my happiness, my dear wife.""I do; only mine is deep, not loud.""Why, Dard is gone, and we are out of doors; will the little birdsbetray us?""The lower windows are open, and I saw Jacintha in one of therooms.""Jacintha? we are in awe of the very servants. Well, if I must notsay it loud I will say it often," and putting his mouth to her ear,he poured a burning whisper of love into it--"My love! my angel! mywife! my wife! my wife!"She turned her swimming eyes on him."My husband!" she whispered in return.
Rose came out, and found them billing and cooing. "You MUST not beso happy, you two," said she authoritatively."How can we help it?" asked Camille."You must and shall help it, somehow," retorted this little tyrant."Mamma suspects. She has given me such a cross-examination, myblood runs cold. No, on second thoughts, kiss her again, and youmay both be as happy as you like; for I am going to tell mamma all,and no power on earth shall hinder me.""Rose," said Camille, "you are a sensible girl; and I always saidso."But Josephine was horrified. "What! tell my mother that within amonth of my husband's death?"--"Don't say your husband," put in Camille wincing; "the priest neverconfirmed that union; words spoken before a magistrate do not make amarriage in the sight of Heaven."Josephine cut him short. "Amongst honorable men and women all oathsare alike sacred: and Heaven's eye is in a magistrate's room as in achurch. A daughter of Beaurepaire gave her hand to him, and calledherself his wife. Therefore, she was his wife: and is his widow.
She owes him everything; the house you are all living in among therest. She ought to be proud of her brief connection with that pure,heroic spirit, and, when she is so little noble as to disown him,then say that gratitude and justice have no longer a place amongmankind.""Come into the chapel," said Camille, with a voice that showed hewas hurt.They entered the chapel, and there they saw something thatthoroughly surprised them: a marble monument to the memory ofRaynal. It leaned at present against the wall below the placeprepared to receive it. The inscription, short, but emphatic, andfull of feeling, told of the battles he had fought in, including thelast fatal skirmish, and his marriage with the heiress ofBeaurepaire; and, in a few soldier-like words, the uprightness,simplicity, and generosity of his character.
They were so touched by this unexpected trait in Camille that theyboth threw their arms round his neck by one impulse. "Am I wrong tobe proud of him?" said Josephine, triumphantly."Well, don't say too much to me," said Camille, looking downconfused. "One tries to be good; but it is very hard--to some ofus--not to you, Josephine; and, after all, it is only the truth thatwe have written on that stone. Poor Raynal! he was my old comrade;he saved me from death, and not a soldier's death--drowning; and hewas a better man than I am, or ever shall be. Now he is dead, I cansay these things. If I had said them when he was alive, it wouldhave been more to my credit."They all three went back towards the house; and on the way Rose toldthem all that had passed between the baroness and her. When shecame to the actual details of that conversation, to the words, andlooks, and tones, Josephine's uneasiness rose to an overpoweringheight; she even admitted that further concealment would be verydifficult.
"Better tell her than let her find out," said Rose. "We must tellher some day."At last, after a long and agitated discussion, Josephine consented;but Rose must be the one to tell. "So then, you at least will makeyour peace with mamma," argued Josephine, "and let us go in and dothis before our courage fails; besides, it is going to rain, and ithas turned cold. Where have all these clouds come from? An hourago there was not one in the sky."They went, with hesitating steps and guilty looks, to the saloon.Their mother was not there. Here was a reprieve.Rose had an idea. She would take her to the chapel, and show herthe monument, and that would please her with poor Camille. "Afterthat," said Rose, "I will begin by telling her all the misery youhave both gone through; and, when she pities you, then I will showher it was all my fault your misery ended in a secret marriage."The confederates sat there in a chilly state, waiting for thebaroness. At last, as she did not come, Rose got up to go to her."When the mind is made up, it is no use being cowardly, and puttingoff," said she, firmly. For all that, her cheek had but littlecolor left in it, when she left her chair with this resolve.Now as Rose went down the long saloon to carry out their unitedresolve, Jacintha looked in; and, after a hasty glance to see whowas present, she waited till Rose came up to her, and then whipped aletter from under her apron and gave it her."For my mistress," said she, with an air of mystery.
"Why not take it to her, then?" inquired Rose."I thought you might like to see it first, mademoiselle," saidJacintha, with quiet meaning.
"Is it from the dear doctor?" asked Josephine."La, no, mademoiselle, don't you know the doctor is come home? Why,he has been in the house near an hour. He is with my lady."The doctor proved Jacintha correct by entering the room in personsoon after; on this Rose threw down the letter, and she and thewhole party were instantly occupied in greeting him.
When the ladies had embraced him and Camille shaken hands with him,they plied him with a thousand questions. Indeed, he had not halfsatisfied their curiosity, when Rose happened to catch sight of theletter again, and took it up to carry to the baroness. She now, forthe first time, eyed it attentively, and the consequence was sheuttered an exclamation, and took the first opportunity to beckonAubertin.He came to her; and she put the letter into his hand.
He put up his glasses, and eyed it. "Yes!" whispered he, "it isfrom HIM."Josephine and Camille saw something was going on; they joined theother two, with curiosity in their faces.Rose put her hand on a small table near her, and leaned a moment.She turned half sick at a letter coming from the dead. Josephinenow came towards her with a face of concern, and asked what was thematter.The reply came from Aubertin. "My poor friends," said he, solemnly,"this is one of those fearful things that you have not seen in yourshort lives, but it has been more than once my lot to witness it.
The ships that carry letters from distant countries vary greatly inspeed, and are subject to detaining accidents. Yes, this is thethird time I have seen a letter come written by a hand known to becold. The baroness is a little excited to-day, I don't know fromwhat cause. With your approbation, Madame Raynal, I will read thisletter before I let her see it.""Read it, if you please.""Shall I read it out?""Certainly. There may be some wish expressed in it; oh, I hopethere is!"Camille, from delicacy, retired to some little distance, and thedoctor read the letter in a low and solemn voice."MY DEAR MOTHER,--I hope all are well at Beaurepaire, as I am, or Ihope soon to be. I received a wound in our last skirmish; not avery severe one; but it put an end to my writing for some time.""Poor fellow! it was his death wound. Why, when was this written?--why," and the doctor paused, and seemed stupefied: "why, my dears,has my memory gone, or"--and again he looked eagerly at the letter--"what was the date of the battle in which he was killed? for thisletter is dated the 15th of May. Is it a dream? no! this waswritten since the date of his death.""No, doctor," said Rose, "you deceive yourself.""Why, what was the date of the Moniteur, then?" asked Aubertin, ingreat agitation.
"Considerably later than this," said Camille."I don't think so; the journal! where is it?""My mother has it locked up. I'll run.""No, Rose; no one but me. Now, Josephine, do not you go and giveway to hopes that may be delusive. I must see that journaldirectly. I will go to the baroness. I shall excuse her less thanyou would."He was scarcely gone when a cry of horror filled the room, a cry asof madness falling like a thunderbolt on a human mind. It wasJosephine, who up to this had not uttered one word. But now shestood, white as a corpse, in the middle of the room, and wrung herhands. "What have I done? What shall I do? It was the 3d of May.
I see it before me in letters of fire; the 3d of May! the 3d ofMay!--and he writes the 15th.""No! no!" cried Camille wildly. "It was long, long after time 3d.""It was the 3d of May," repeated Josephine in a hoarse voice thatnone would have known for hers.Camille ran to her with words of comfort and hope; he did not shareher fears. He remembered about when the Moniteur came, though notthe very day. He threw his arm lovingly round her as if to protecther against these shadowy terrors. Her dilating eyes seemed fixedon something distant in space or time, at some horrible thing comingslowly towards her. She did not see Camille approach her, but themoment she felt him she turned upon him swiftly.
"Do you love me?" still in the hoarse voice that had so little in itof Josephine. "I mean, does one grain of respect or virtue minglein your love for me?""What words are these, my wife?""Then leave Raynal's house upon the instant. You wonder I can be socruel? I wonder too; and that I can see my duty so clear in oneshort moment. But I have lived twenty years since that letter came.Oh! my brain has whirled through a thousand agonies. And I havecome back a thousand times to the same thing; you and I must seeeach other's face no more.""Oh!" cried Rose, "is there no way but this?""Take care," she screamed, wildly, to her and Camille, "I am on theverge of madness; is it for you two to thrust me over the precipice?Come, now, if you are a man of honor, if you have a spark ofgratitude towards the poor woman who has given you all except herfair name--that she will take to the grave in spite of you all--promise that you will leave Raynal's house this minute if he isalive, and let me die in honor as I have lived.""No, no!" cried Camille, terror-stricken; "it cannot be. Heaven ismerciful, and Heaven sees how happy we are. Be calm! these are idlefears; be calm! I say. For if it is so I will obey you. I willstay; I will go; I will die; I will live; I will obey you.""Swear this to me by the thing you hold most sacred," she almostshrieked."I swear by my love for you," was his touching reply.
Ere they had recovered a miserable composure after this passionateoutburst, all the more terrible as coming from a creature so tenderas Josephine, agitated voices were heard at the door, and thebaroness tottered in, followed by the doctor, who was trying in vainto put some bounds to her emotion and her hopes."Oh, my children! my children!" cried she, trembling violently.
"Here, Rose, my hands shake so; take this key, open the cabinet,there is the Moniteur. What is the date?"The journal was found, and rapidly examined. The date was the 20thof May."There!" cried Camille. "I told you!"The baroness uttered a feeble moan. Her hopes died as suddenly asthey had been born, and she sank drooping into a chair, with abitter sigh.
Camille stole a joyful look at Josephine. She was in the sameattitude looking straight before her as at a coming horror.Presently Rose uttered a faint cry, "The battle was BEFORE.""To be sure," cried the doctor. "You forget, it is not the date ofthe paper we want, but of the battle it records. For Heaven's sake,when was the battle?""The 3d of May," said Josephine, in a voice that seemed to come fromthe tomb.