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fruitless life had come to an end. The though clouded and stagnant, even baronet was awoke only by the rust- well-nigh lost, the judgment of the ling entrance of Mrs Mason to pour departed might not have exercised out the chocolate-Mr Thorpe's awk- some acute thought - deeper even ward haste to set her chair—the bring than the sharpest lawyer could track ing in of wax-lights—the pause before it. grace was said, with the tutor's de- So quiet, after prayers, was the outer vout formality. The evening talk was night over the bare roofs, and lights, as duly closed by Mr Thorpe's read- and distant pinnacles of the city-the ing of the appointed prayers—another glimpse of the river, the lamps on the advantage never gained by Lady Wil- bridge, the trees of the Champ de longhby till their departure abroad Mars—and so wide with its floating required a tutor.
films of fair May-cloud, softening the As if there were not strange noises few stars — that Rose Willoughby dying far and wide through the city, shaded her candle to peep out at it, till across the river could be heard the lifting the blind, and putting her face great clock of the Invalides. As if close to the window-glass, after she had the atmosphere of the world were not said her prayers, and was half ready at that hour infected with inscrutable to go to bed. Listening to Mrs sympathies and mysterious desires; Mason's steps in the next room, exwhich gathered in Paris, as after long tinguisher in hand, lest her door should heat that malady of the air, felt keenly suddenly be opened to that lady's by the lower creatures : so that it most indignant surprise-Rose thought might have been working vaguely still of to-morrow's drive toward even with Sir Godfrey. And as if, Versailles.
CHAPTER V.-FALLING FLEUR-DE-LYR.
“Quel triste abaissement !
Quelle immortelle gloire !
Que de chants de victoire !
Pleasant was it, on that bright hot ped of its glory, so far as they were morning, to escape at last from Paris concerned, since nothing was doing altogether. Sir Godfrey, indeed, re- there that day; the king had gone to mained at home to write his letters, Marly, or Fontainebleau, instead of with the purpose of riding out to meet passing in state to the Assembly, as them on their return: and Mr Thorpe, had been expected from the journals. on horseback, with charge of the ma- Much to the relief, it must have been, gic passports, was the sole cavalier; of Lady Willoughby, who disliked shrewdly overseen, doubtless, by the crowds and pressures of people, with hard-eyed, rough-visaged, experienced the bustle and the dust; and to whom Jackson, to whose sturdy driving there foreign kings and queens had but a lay no perplexity about those great, dim, half - chimerical reality, after straight, formal French roads, with all, compared with the accustomed staring guide. posts and swarms of Georges, whose power and royalty Parisian people.
were interwoven with any thoughts Soon, in fact, does the grand road she had of public life; yet she appeartowards Versailles sweep away from ed as much vexed as it was possible sight of Paris in its wide basin, among for her to be, proposing still to go on avenues and closing woods. With no and see the outside of the palace, the lanes, por secluded cross-ways, save fountains, or the remaining courtiers, to towns, it was harder to leave be- the "houses of parliament,” which hind the Parisian people ; and they perhaps might be worth the pains. But 500n heard that Versailles was strip- these Charles disdained till another day, when the king should have re- the afternoon was to bring Sir Godturned-being even set against the frey, the carriage passed at leisure remotest view of the town, its very through the quieter country that slopes smoke or spires; and, out of his and rolls westward from the Seine. father's presence, Charles was always, It was scarce country, indeed, where by some peculiar force of his, indirect- no hedgerows seemed to break up the lý master. His sister Rose, though the wide spaces, no field-gates or clusterexpedition had been fondly planned, ed farms, nor half-sequestered hamlets, nor did his arguments seem worth an- with the sprinkling on of solitary cotswering, too well knew the issue not tage and quiet house toward the next, to be resigned ; while her governess, where the church spire should rise, or referred to as a matter of course, ex- tower; but sometimes with no division pressed as duly an entire acquiescence from the wide crops, save the lines of in any arrangement most satisfactory bushy pollards, they rolled over the to Lady Willoughby, preserving an paved roadway; again between conintense calm, and seeming to observe tinual park walls or wooden palisade, the various objects as their course was from which suddenly it would burst changed, the leaves of the trees, the on the space about a large square viltops of palisades, the very hats of lage, with its cabaret and sign-board market-people, with strange elevation of the Lion d'or or d'argent, its old of countenance, and with an air of fountain-well, and double row of trees, snffering which required her vinai- noisy, and alive with children, while grette. Even Jackson, who had a another road brought through it the great share of the selfishness of privi- market-life from Paris. Though over leged old servants, and greatly consult- the nearest wood would peep the white ed bis own personal ease, ventured to turrets of chateaus, peaked with purple console his mistress, turning round slate, or tin, or gilding, like chandeliers and touching his hat, to remark that extingaished in the light of day; and it was a long drive after all, and they near to them were the little stunted would bave had to put up at the town churches, with their rounded ends, the to bait these Flanders beasts—he care- squat towers that had lids to them like fully abstained from calling them horses pots and vases, or the mean belfries -which it might cost a deal of trouble, perched on the roofs; where thechurchas these French inns very likely had yard was blooming with flowers that no stables ; the inward satisfaction of made its cypresses and yews look Jackson, indeed, somewhat belied his gloomier, and the small lonely curacy rueful effort to look grieved. All ap- nearit, showing the cross on some wide peared disappointed, save the tutor, gable, had an air of pious seclusion from ever fain to be serviceable, if seldom the world. And still the parks spread very successful where the office was round; the woods, with formal alleys of the present kind. Yet that day Mr striking through them, widened and Thorpe was excelling himself, now surged outward, downward, into vale riding on, or now remaining behind, and over height; sometimes opening always for some object ; nor was it to let the high-road pass on with its long ere he came posting back, his vehicles and pedestrians, or the traffic plain, ineffectual features animated, that seemed greater for its confineand his mild short-sighted blue eyes ment,—oftener to show the terraces shining moist through the thin-framed and bowers of still nobler mansions spectacles which enlarged them, to than before, till the country appeared mention that they were close to Sèvres, fading away. They had forgotten where the royal porcelain was made their forenoon disappointment: the And at Sèvres, with its quaint old vil- girl's eyes sparkled as the sweet sense lage houses, and its bridge across the of being out of Paris grew, in spite of Seine to another village, seeing what all it held in it; placid, tranquil, her could be seen of its manufactory, its mother leant opposite, while she water-mill where the clay was ground, breathed the freshness, enjoying the or its woody island amidst the river, mere motion, and the vague variety as the earlier part of the day was spent. she heard it noticed, on pure trust, Then turning to make a wide circuit pleased at what pleased the othersinto the Versailles road again, where it was not like England, indeed, but
how pure and exhilarating seemed the of soft regard for bim, and paid him French air—its sun gave a still sleepier little attentions, especially at table, stillness to her mild eyes, yet with so with the sugar,—though moderately, healthy a tint and soft fulness of per- till the curacy at Stoke should be son, that the holding of her parasol, sure; but what she would not for a in Lady Willoughby, the trouble she moment be so disrespectful to Mr took to observe an object, were plea- Thorpe as to credit, was that a hopesant to see; as Mr Thorpe, riding by, less love, never to be revealed, condevoted his conversation to the gover- sumed him, amidst all his learning, ness and her; the while Charles, still for —for herself. Her indignation in a discontented mood, vented it on mounted at the thought,-for a mothe whole country, and leaning across ment even at the excellent tutor, so to his sister, one elbow on bis knee, highly respected by Sir Godfrey, with kept up his side-current of livelier his thin hair already leaving his foretalk.
head bald, through long delay of any For one thing, their constant popu- preferment—whose sister was his only larity displeased him, however accept relative alive, and was to keep his able to Rose. That national sharp- house when he had one,- but most to ness and curiosity had all at once Charles, with his rough boy's jokes ; become particularly disagreeable to even although the girl's thoughts the youth, in his grumbling humour; wandered the more irresistibly to and it mingled tbrough the whole foreign counts and picturesque barons thread of his discourse, not without that had bovered in vision before the some acute notions of the people's cha- whole boarding-school, being now racter, on which he appeared to have eagerly inquired after by her dearest been oddly brooding. Nor the less was friend, who was still there. his zest in showing that France and There were none of these, certainly, England were natural foes, because his about the highway which the carriage tutor on the other side rode discoursing struck into, alive though it was with benevolently to the reverse effect; people of every kind. Charles had while Mrs Mason responded, in all ceased, at his mother's unusually that propriety of sentiment, which was earnest request, to whistle indistinctly blended, in her dialogue to gentlemen, between his teeth, as it was of all with a slight shade of delicate reserve. sounds the one that most annoyed But really there was a domineering her; he had even left off, of his own style of argument in Charles, if one accord, the substitution of a drumventured to express a different view, ming motion with a small cane against that provoked his sister in the end - his boot, as he superciliously noticed especially as he was a year younger; the passengers. He got quite silent, she turned her shoulder to him, and in fact, to watch the passing faces sat resolutely looking the other way, that seemed bent towards Paris ; as if absorbed in the mild common- though the faint smoke of another places of Mr Thorpe, and Mrs Ma- large village appeared in the hollow, son's weary platitudes, which diffus- prettier than any they had passed, ed such additional complacency over among inclining vineyards and whole her mother. After all, they were knolls of roses. It might have been tiresome things, such as all good St Genevieve's own, with that holy books and worthy people said over well resorted to by kings, where and over ; though Charles had no she bad kept her sheep long ago ; and right to look down on his tutor with where, at the May fête of la rosière, such secret contempt, because he knew they still crowned the most virtuous nothing of what Charles called “ life' girl in the place with roses; as the -or to hint, because he looked se- last work of Madame de Genlis bad rious, that his mind had got bc- informed Mrs Mason. The summer wildered among triangles ever since afternoon sloped wide above it, full he studied so terribly for a degree, of light and the swarming hum of leaving out nothing but his memory: insects, through the outspread walperhaps, indeed, it might be true that nut leaves, fickering amber in the Mrs Mason, in spite of her early loss sun, from over the white wall that of some inestimable kind, bad a sort was dappled by the shadows; while the hedgeless corn-fields on the other slung across him by a belt, apparently side were rippling under the long air a courier, gesticulated in vain from from the woods, one sea of tenderest the open window; the door being green, full of blue-cockle flowers and blocked up by a drunk dragoon, who scarlet poppies; the cottage case- stood swaying slightly to and fro, yet ments flashed from amidst a pink- balancing himself carefully, as he surwhite glow of orchard - blossom, of veyed the various groups from his milky cherry-boughs, of old rugged half-closed eyelids with extreme sternpropped-up pear-trees that foamed ness and grave suspicion; till at length over to the moss-green thatch, with drawing himself up, to extend his the wooden chimney shot high, as it hand with a summons for attention, breathed blue among the leaves; with he essayed to speak; but all at once here and there a hooded dovecot win- rushed forward with furious gesture dow on the roof, where the pigeons amongst the crowd, where he fell flat sat sunning and swelling themselves, from the steps. The blood gushed and cooing, white, blue, and purple from his features, women sbrieking, together, in a gush of warm light- men running, without a glance beall the place beneath them bespat- hind, as the landlord hurried to his tered and splashed with whiteness, aid from the tavern, followed by more through the shadow, to the very dragoons, who stamped their spurred foliage of the nearest branch. The feet upon the steps, and half drew bum of the place burst round them as their sabres, with fierce gestures and they crossed its little bridge, rattling execrations. Yet as the carriage over the rough causeway; and there passed on through the narrow and were no carriage-ways save through awkward street, however slowly, it the villages and towns.
did not attract attention from any of It was odd that for some time along the party except Charles, who prethe road, as if to meet the lad's inclin- served a seemingly sullen silence; not ations, the notice of them had been distracted by so much as a look to his anaccompanied with signs of interest; sister, when her governess said there every one had seemed occupied with must be something improper going on, his neighbour, talking, or hastening and sloped her parasol that way, on somewhere; the voices had even using a scented handkerchief, with grown suppressed as they passed. evident desire that the young lady Here they were busier still, and talk should do the same; while his mother ing louder, in a perfect babble of had no more suspicion of its not being sounds. It was wonderful, at least common to villages all over the world, to Charles Willoughby in his private possibly on a market-day, than a mind, how the cobblers lived—the duchess. The tutor was, as usual, on weavers, blacksmiths, or carpenters, before, with his little note-book, to found time to work; how the mill put down the name of the place, the wheel had a hand to feed it, or the probable population, and apparent women to mind their matters; they area of the church, according to some were letting their pitchers run over,
dim theory that had been growing on in fact, at the old carved fountain him since he crossed the Channel. As spout, till there was a little brook for Jackson, he merely whipped his across the street, down into some horses, and made a slash at some one's door-steps, and a duck that dogs, with obvious inclination to curse seemed comparatively quiet began to whatever came in his way. So they lead her troop of ducklings that way. rolled through by degrees in sight of The French infants even, held plainly the church ; but there was a greater enough here and there, in full sun- throng at that end, in and about the light, to their slatternly feeding-places, low-walled enclosure before a smart looked dissatisfied as the throng new building, the use of which was pressed about the doorway of a caba- not plain at first sight; for considerret, with the sign of the Golden ing the size of the place, with the Crown: a borse stood by it with general squalidness of the long cotfoam-flecked sides, and bis head tages or bald white houses, really the stooped in its corn-bag; while a man number of people of all ages was extrain a green jacket, with a leather case ordinary, till one observed that single roofs seemed shared among ever so found wonder. It was beneath his many families,- a thing the odder to notice to regard Mrs Mason's words, the lad, as at school he used to know as they cleared the place, and began plenty of Eton folks, from bargemen to rise from the hollow-that it was to bat-maker. He even thought, an interesting village, so lively, so somehow, of that one visit to Stoke. full of a holiday air, not without a Oh! that was the school—the first he degree of quick intelligence.“ After happened to have seen in France; labour," his mother said, lifting up and that youngish man, in an old her eyelids," it must be pleasant.”. figured dressing-gown, with a sharp Beyond the church and an old dry face, standing up on something, crooked, high-arched bridge, was Mr without a hat – the schoolmaster; Thorpe in the turning of a very narrow while they pushed and jumped to hear by-road, stony and grass-grown, that him, though quietly enough except took a winding as if to avoid the vilfor the hushing of each other, since lage, by ditch-side and over rubbish, the schoolmaster bad evidently a weak till it caught the highway behind voice; it only reached the carriage in again: the worthy tutor bad drawn an occasional screech, when he lifted up his horse, he was settling his spechis hand impressively in the air. tacles, putting in his note-book, and " Ecoutez-ecoutez, au Père Pierre!” feeling in his pocket for some coin, This Père Pierre must be rather an apparently to bestow on a man he had odd fellow; why, his school was in a been talking to. A very singular perfect riot within, to judge by the group revealed itself as they reached dust, the flying books, and the noise him. A dark-faced jet-eyed man sometimes louder than his voice out with a beard, black and bushy, his side. But he was not making a rough cap in hand, and a little organ speech-the white article he held up slung from his back, stood replying to to the blaze of the sun was not à Mr Thorpe in strange broken French, pocket- handkerchief, but — yes - a mingled with English; while he seemed newspaper. He must have a good carefully to keep the trees between deal of influence there, this teacher— himself and the village: somewhat at least over the grown-up men, with further down the by-way sat a disconleather aprons and bare arms—one solate-looking boy with a guitar, becould not help marking him—with side a crouching monkey; while anthat scanty head of hair done up in other man held the chain of a huge bobs from his temples, and such a muzzled beast, shaggy and brown, short queue behind, not to think which reared on its hind-legs, now of his short nose and high cheek- growling, now dancing, now shrinking bones, or a chin as bare as one's from the threatened whip, like a creapalm. Perhaps something had hap- ture enraged by the distant voices. pened — something_important — a Their trade bad been ruined, the man battle somewhere? There was peace, said; for it was the first time they though. Some murder, it was likely bad been turned out into the chemin -or a shipwreck—well, at any rate des affronteux, belonging to thieves these boys didn't mind, so crop-headed and villains. It would be known for and stunted-looking, who were play- miles round Paris in a day, for it was ing pitch-and-toss with such an old wonderful how the news travelled mannish look in their 'eager faces, at there. They had often been at Charlethe end of the school. There were mont before, and were received well. more beneath the big bulging church- The bear felt it worst, he thought. gable, with its black ugly windows He was as good a bear as you would and its zigzag crack in the plaster— see, owing to his love of society. Perin such long old livery coats, with haps it might have been owing to plated saucer-buttons. Actually it some news in the place—but one was with the buttons they were play- could not know what tunes would ing--as if it had been money-cutting offend people nowadays, to dance to. them off their coats, too, and their At Mr Thorpe's condolence, howbreeches, to rush back for another ever, backed by his gift of a six-sous chance! The silent speculations of piece, the Italian retreated thankfully: Charles reached their climax in pro- They watched him as he was joined