« AnteriorContinuar »
man that can bear arms, is turned soldier! Hurrah! the French garrison has walked itself off-bolted— cut its sticks!
"When I left Berlin on the 17th, York, the fine old York, entered the town at the head of seventeen thou-' sand picked troops. You should have seen the rejoicing there was that day.
"Yesterday I presented myself before Lutzow at Breslau; enrolled myself the same day in his Free corps; and, what is more, Edmond, you are my comrade and fellow-officer; for your commission, old fellow, is signed, sealed, and packed up in my port
"What say you? I and you, cum canibus nostris— all our dogs-are after the Bonaparte. The old fox has broken cover, and there is nothing but tally ho! after the heels of him from one end of the land to the other. What fun!
"To-day and to-morrow are still ours to make the most of, mother. After to-morrow I promised Lutzow that we would both appear under arms."
The political events in Europe which followed the scene witnessed by Felix on the 17th of March, 1813, are well known.
Merged in the current of these public events, the private history of the two brothers entirely passes out of sight till the signature of the Treaty of Paris, which enabled them, with the rest of their comrades in arms, to return home.
The following letters and papers, carefully selected from the great mass of private documents confided to my care by Count R, are sufficient to give consistency and continuity to the development of his extraordinary and melancholy biography.
JULIET TO THERESA.
L, 14th June, 1814. "AH! what a day, dear Theresa! Edmond and Felix are both come home. My dear, good, darling brothers! Both of them well, both of them the same as in the pleasant old times, and yet . . . . . Well, let me tell you how it has all happened.
"I was sitting in the window that overlooks the park. Our dear mother was sitting a little way off at her work-table. You remember (do you not?) this sunny little study of ours, where you used to share with me my solitude, in the days when Edmond was first away on his journey in Egypt. And have you forgotten that long summer, when you and I managed to coax three or four of the tallest vine-boughs up the espaliers on the wall, and in through the casement, so as to make for us two girls to be queens of, sole and undisputed, a little green bower in the room itself. The bower has grown since thep, Theresa. And here, where I sit behind the leaves and twigs, my small green palace walls are as closely and compactly framed and clothed as the nest of the noisy swallow up yonder in the eaves outside. How sure I felt this spring that the swallow's news was good!
"We had just received letters from Strasbourg
which made us expect their return, but not so soon, for they had not then received their congé.
"Well, as I am sitting here, all at once I hear a noise in the espaliers under the window. Crack, crack! crash, crash! and before I can turn my head. to see what is the matter, lo and behold! a saucy young gentleman in uniform climbs over the window, jumps into the room, whisks me out of my chair, catches me up in his right arm as if I were a feather, pulls me, or rather carries me, in this way across the room, and, seizing mother after the same unceremonious fashion with his other arm, squeezes and kisses us both out of breath; while the dear old lady, really, I think, speechless from pure joy, can only strain his beaming, sunburnt face to her bosom, and stroke her hand over his tossed and tumbled curls without uttering a word.
"We had hardly recovered from our first happy bewilderment at the unexpected appearance and frantic impetuosity of Felix (for of course it was he; who but Felix would have ever dreamed of jumping in at the window?) when Edmond also came in through the door, holding father by the hand. Oh, then, Theresa, 'twas nothing but kissing and clasping all round, hands in hands and hearts to hearts! Felix laughed and cried in one and the same breath, and jumped about like mad. When at last he had kissed and hugged us all round for at least the fiftieth time, then he began to seize his brother by the head, and dance round him, shouting and singing, and hugging him too, as if they also now met for the first time after a year's - absence. Bref. he finally played so many pranks with
us all, that we soon fairly laughed off all the trouble and trepidation of those first breathless moments of
"At last the Kobold is tamed. He is fast asleep now in his mother's chair, where all at once his eyelids dropped. I think the French cannon would not wake him just now; and I hope he will leave us all in repose for a while.
"Edmond staid with us longer. He who appeared so calm and self-possessed on his arrival, has, however, been deeply agitated, I now suspect, by the meeting. We were obliged to force him to take a little. rest; for the poor boys have been nine days on the road, Theresa, without stopping night or day. And they came home on a wretched peasant's cart, for the post communications are not yet quite re-established. My dear, dear brother! while I write to you, Theresa, and while Felix is snoring loud enough to break the drum of my ears, I can see Edmond wandering about all alone in the park instead of taking any rest. I hoped he was in bed long ago and asleep by this time.
"There he is now (I can see him through the window), standing near my little garden. I think I must have told you how I planted there a large E and a large F in box. The F looks fresher and thicker, and greener and stronger than the E. It has grown so. I am sorry. But it is from no want of care or coaxing on my part. I could not help it. There is one part of the earth where the box has withered down as often as I planted it. What a strange nature is Edmond's! So dreamy and quiet; yet he notices every