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posed and changed, in fact, even since they last had seen him. Usually, though not pedantic, he was tedious; but he began for a moment to appear almost respectable in the very eyes of his pupil, who had often thought before that the present curate at Stoke could not be more monotonous, nor the old rector duller: a spark of spirit seemed for the time to have given emphasis to his words, and meaning to his face-some faint dignity too to his lengthy awkward person, sitting ordinarily like a sack on his horse, with the gaiters dangling in the stirrups. Yet how amazingly simple was Mr Thorpe; it was chiefly the Italian with his battered instruments and beaten animals that seemed to have roused him from his wont : while as for his chief puzzle, a light broke on it to the boy at once, from all he had seen and heard of these French. Why,
of course they thought the whole world should know Charlemont already!
by his singular company, slowly and with a crestfallen air disappearing round the by-way. All the tutor could find out was that they had been chased out from that end of the place just before, with sticks, stones, and pitchforks, by the very young people who had been dancing sociably enough along with the bear and monkeybecause an air they commenced was contre la liberté. How any tune could be against liberty, Mr Thorpe could not conceive: nay, if they did not like dancing to it, they might have stood still; they might have requested it to be stopped; indeed, it was probable that some of these very people might have wished the liberty of dancing it! Still less could he perceive how liberty could be connected with that particular tune—“ Richard o mon roi"? And he looked interrogatively to Mrs Mason. Certainly not, the governess responded: Gretry's new music! In fact, he rejoined, the musician could not, either: but that day mysteries seemed to grow, he added,-for, before himself emerging from the place, at sight of the church, he had very civilly inquired, from a group of inhabitants, what was the name of the village. What had been his astonishment to perceive, that passing from uncivil silence, from stares of wonder, and extraordinary, sudden indignation, they looked very much disposed to treat him as it now seemed they had before treated these inoffensive strangers. Until, adding insult, they had significantly touched their foreheads, looking to each other, or whispering, until one, perhaps still more ingenious in giving offence, had suddenly called out, "Bah! c'est un Anglais !" There had been then no farther notice of him—indeed absolute indifference; nor did he discover, till he encountered the injured foreigner, what the name of the place actually was. And was there, then, really any peculiar crime in asking the name of Charlemont-any strange privacy-any unutterable horror connected with itthat no one should put the mere question? But, at all events, was a spirit of inquiry to be thought madness! Nay more, was it lower than madness to be an Englishman!
Mr Thorpe looked a little discom
But, to the ladies, softly plashed and clattered below, from among alders in the deeper hollow, the millwheel of the village, dusty light flying from the upper door: the cracked striking of a clock was heard from farther off, till they saw the grey turrets of another yellow chateau among trees, though but a thread of smoke rose from it, and its discoloured plaster, where the sunlight struck, gave it a dilapidated aspect, helped by the pigeons from the dovecote tower close by, that were sitting on the window-sills and eaves. Full to the light on the brow of the eminence rose the carriage, widening the landscape on every side, save where the woods before it extended: there was a smooth, broad road in front, sweeping round where the labourers were still at work on it: they were on a hill, and all was exquisitely solitary otherwise for the first time, except close by, where the highway ran between the two porter's-lodges of two great gates that faced each other. These great gates were, indeed, gorgeously beautiful, being each double, with side-wickets, all of open ironwork, elaborately complex; gilt crowns surmounted the globes upon their massy pillars of stone, their upper rims were formed of fleur-de
lis, as if of lance-heads, richly gilded; while the blade-shaped leaves, damasked and lettered with mottoes, stretched throughout the whole, hither and thither, like guardian swords, from the uncouth grasp of grotesque naked monsters at the lower corners; everywhere were small puzzling circles of cipher, and in the midst the joined halves composed a grand shield-shaped device, burnished and resplendent on either hand, of the royal arms of France. The very radiance of the afternoon sun came dazzling towards it, and threw the other way on the cross road, into one park, a mottled shadow of fleurde-lis; shapes of crowns, ciphers, and monsters, even vanished among the dust of the horses' feet on the highway as they trotted paststrange traces from the days of Louis Quatorze. Still was all that nothing to the broad glimpses of park scenery both ways through them. Mrs Mason herself saw one way, with unusual commendation, where a stately distance was made by Lenotre's taste, in straight avenue, level turf, and high-clipped side-alleys, where a few well-dressed people were walking; her frequent headache did not, perhaps, at any time wholly leave her, but the vinaigrette paused in her hand, as she directed the attention of Lady and Miss Willoughby to each fine effect. Yet it was difficult to draw the latter from her absorbed delight the other way; for there the wilder chase seemed left to nature, the sun levelled more and more all his yellowing splendour through its deepgreen, sinking glades, flinging out fantastic shadows, shooting gushes of verdurous light, in which the delicate young fern peeped from about the trunk of some far-off oak, while the broad umbrage of its gnarled boughs retreated crisply into cooler shade; the knolls were hung with the foxglove buds, like crimson bells that had not found a tongue; and all there was moist, secluded, solitary, sweet, save when some single bird seemed to wake up and make it musical, till again it trilled and rang with their innumerable notes. But gradually the road had lifted the carriage higher yet; it seemed to drive slow by instinct; and ere they well knew, the
whole party made exclamations together, as, with Rose, they did not know which way to look first. Mr Thorpe came to a stand-still, and Jackson was shading his eyes, whip in hand, to look under the sun. Even Lady Willoughby said, fanning herself gently, "Dear me-what a fine country! what crops!" "Yes-the harvest will be excellent, I should think," Mrs Mason replied, using her fan also, it was so hot. The young lady stood up, and her brother jumped out to get from the top of the bank upon the wall.
They were nearer Paris than they thought; it bristled and shone through its haze, some miles away on the plain: westward, the high woods of Marly showed faint through the edges of two broad sunbeams, as through a veil, with bluer distinctness between, here spire, there smoke; the waves of forest verdure undulating round, began to burn and blaze towards sunset; all was spotted with towns, sprinkled rich-red and white with villages, flushed with orchards, and in the barer spaces embroidered like a carpet that blended with the dark suburbs of the city on the horizon. Here and there appeared a soft misty glitter of the circuitous Seine in the level, with some faint white sails; the distant azure of some hills could be seen; it was all like one mighty map made real. Yet greatest of all to their eyes, even greater than the dusky grimness of Paris in the sun, showing its domes so helmet-like, and its pinnacles so like weapons-was where, with one accord looking back, they could perceive the silvered slates of one large town among the avenues they had turned from that forenoon, its steeples shining, its windows sparkling-and through that transparent French air, some lustrous snowy glimpses between embosoming bowers, of long level palace-roofs, embossed, and fringed, and tipped with undistinguishable ornament. Palaces, indeed, seemed to be visible in every direction; but they thickened towards it; all that way the landscape was but one mass of park-woods, and with those alleys, gardens, terraces, that long road at intervals perceived, it could be nothing but Versailles! Charles himself could not but look.
The rainbow flashing of the fountains, and gleam of statues-the grand stairs of the terrace-they could almost fancy they distinguished.
It was he who first broke the thread of their interest. Well, he shouldn't care to have seen King Louis XVI.; he had once seen George III. It was easy enough to see him, in fact; if you only but knew it was he. He had seen a boy at Eton, fag to a friend of his, who was once spoken to a good while at a turnstile in Windsor Park by an elderly gentleman in drab gaiters, a nankeen waistcoat, and a blue coat with bright buttons; and when a ranger came up afterwards from behind, and told him it was the king, he nearly fainted. He could never learn anything after that, and always turned pale at the sight of a gold sovereign, so he had to be sent to
"My dear young gentleman," said Mr Thorpe seriously, "the King of France is a much more powerful monarch than even His Majesty King George! I must beg to correct you on a point of history. He is absolute ruler, not only of all the land we see, but over the property, nay, the very persons of his subjects-he is the State himself as the great Louis XIV. so emphatically told his nobles. Think of those lettres du cachet, given away even blank in thousands upon thousands-a kind of money, as it wereexchanged by the courtiers for all kinds of objects-with which, for all one knows, were he worth notice from some enemy, he may be sent to a Bastille on no account whatever, to remain there unknown the rest of his life!"
Charles Willoughby still endeavoured to look indifferent, though the slight whistle died between his teeth, while he pushed his cap down on his head, deeply resolved never to lift it to a French king. Mr Thorpe, drawn into unwonted earnestness, by the expression of the ladies' faces, sought to reassure them.
"The character of the present king is such as to make this power a benefit," he said. "There seems a rapid decrease of superstition in the church. Really, Lady Willoughby, there was something idolatrous in this excessive honour to a human being! To con
ceive that at his Majesty's death, while the body lay for forty days embalmed in lead, a waxen effigy was placed in the grand hall of entertainment, and served by gentlemen-waiters at the usual times, while the meal was blessed by the almoner, the meat carved, and the wine presented to the figure; its hands were washed and thanks returned. The queen, in white mourning—"
"In white mourning?" inquired the governess, with interest.
"In white, I think, Mrs Masonsat for six weeks in a chamber lighted by lamps alone. For a whole year she could not stir out of her own apartments, if she had received the intelligence there. Although similar ceremonies were observed after her own decease."
The feminine impression of former evils in France grew deep. The tutor could not say whether his present majesty would require such honours. There was only one person of inferior rank who had ever been distinguished by a shade of the same respect, though for a shorter time her effigy had sat. It was the far Gabrielle d'Estrées. "Who was she?" Rose asked,-" and why"
Miss Willoughby," interrupted Mrs Mason with a sudden air of severity, rustling and extending and drawing herself erect, "there are some questions too shocking and improper for us to ask?" Mr Thorpe, with a frightened look, sat dumb in his saddle; yet Mrs Mason professed to know history, and her charge must surely learn it: nay, unknown to them all, among the distant chateaus, palaces, and mansions they were gazing at, were St Germain's in the blue eminence, which the great Louis had given to La Vallière when he wearied of her for Madame de Montespan; and Luciennes, where Madame du Barry was then living in fashionable retirement. But the one had been gallant, stately even in his vices; the royal patron of the other, in his dissipations, had at least been elegant. Probably Mr Thorpe's confusion led him to a graver topic.
"The chronicler I have lately perused," he said, hastily, "is really worth study. Nothing can be so mournfully salutary. As the coffin
was borne at night to yonder Notre Dame, and thence thereafter to the ancient town of St Denis, the streets were hung with black, and before every house was planted a tall lighted torch of white wax. First went the Capuchins, in their coarse sackcloth girt with ropes, bearing their huge cross, crowned with thorns-then five hundred poor men, under their bailiff, all in mourning as for a father-the magistrates and courts of justice, the parliament of Paris in rich sable furs, the high clergy in purple and goldfollowed by the funeral car drawn by white horses, covered with black velvet crossed with white satin, and the long train of officers of the household."
The great knowledge of the tutor as to textile fabrics interested Mrs Mason. "Think of the expense!" Lady Willoughby said.
"This vast procession," pursued Mr Thorpe with solemnity, "went on in silence, while, as the chronicler quaintly expresses it, ever and aye the royal musicians made a sound of lamentation, with instruments clothed in crape, very fierce and marvellously dolorous to hear or to behold, until they arrived at the church of St Denis, -blessed be his name! And the bier was borne into the choir, it being a-blaze with lamps and tapers beyond number, and the service lasted for the King's soul several days-whereupon was the body let down into the vault, but not admitted within the inner chamber until the end of the next reign-and Normandy, the most ancient king of arms, summoned with a loud voice, that the high dignitaries should therein deposit their ensigns and truncheons of command-which done, the sacred oriflamme of France was let fall down upon the coffin, until the fleur-de-lis began with the noble Bourbons — and the king-ofarms cried three times so that the vaults heard and replied - Ho! the king is dead! The king is dead! The king is dead! And when silence had been renewed, the same voice proclaimed-Long live the king!-and all the other heralds repeated it. Then was all finished, and they departed joyously.' Really, in those older writers, compared with those of the present day, however superstitious,
there is considerable profit to be found."
And the worthy graduate settled his glasses complacently, used his pocket-handkerchief in the loud manner he was addicted to, and looked round with increased attention on the mighty view; for devouter wishes had long been breeding dimly in his mind, such as the chill Protestantism even of his revered mother-church did not at that period satisfy. He did not notice the shrinking, under that full sunlight and wide azure, with the swarm of summer flies in the ears, and the warble of birds at hand, with which the youngest of his hearers, at least, felt the thought of death-above all, that universal one, of sovereign power. As for Lady Willoughby, her anxious look was chiefly from a reference to her watch; and it had been growing. She had not even heard Mr Thorpe. It was time for them to turn into the road from Versailles, as Colonel Willoughby - Sir Godfrey-would soon be leaving Paris, and he was punctual to a moment. There was no other way, Jackson said in reply, but by turning right again through the last village; at his mistress's request, accordingly, he suited the action to the word, by backing and wheeling round. But where was Charles? He had vanished over the wall, apparently, during his tutor's irrelevant remarks. To the calls of Mr Thorpe, echoed from among the woods, he returned no sign. It was annoying. They must wait; and, at any rate, according to the views of Jackson, generally unfavourable if required
with these beasts, it would be impossible to get on in good time, besides having to walk through that village, which was like nothing English whatever-with perhaps a bucket of water needed at that there tavern, if such a thing was to be had. The sudden intelligence of Mr Thorpe suggested a way he could ride off at once to meet Sir Godfrey, and set him at ease; in fact, for himself, at least, it would be easy to avoid the village of Charlemont altogether-by-yesby taking that chemin des affronteux, as they called it. Lady Willoughby's face brightened. Her thanks to Mr Thorpe were something energetic for her: and spurring, rising in his stirrups,
bumping up and down on his white mare, that worthy man disappeared. Rose pressed her parasol against her mouth to repress a smile, at the thought how Charles would have enjoyed his following the bear and monkey: but, through her means, she was resolved he should know nothing of it.
When least expected, Charles reappeared, jumping with a flushed face over the wall, and carrying a load of wild-flowers for his mother, for Rose, even for Miss Mason. He had heard distant sounds over the woods of the chase, which he thought were those of hunting-horns. But all was again still, bright, sleepy and solitary, under the glory of the sloping sun. He got in; Jackson whipped his horses at last to a trot, for again and again they had been passed each way by humbler vehicles; and they rolled on their way back towards Charlemont. Mr Thorpe's mission excited no extraordinary satisfaction in Charles, though he was sure they would get on better without him. Mr Thorpe ran a strong chance of being taken up as a spy. All at once it occurred to him that Mr Thorpe had all their passports. But a scene of far more exciting interest next moment eclipsed everything like that. Again, from the distance of those
secluded glades, did a sound draw his ear-and it was really the sound of a bugle-horn-a faint, far-off, musical sound, sometimes smothered by the woods, then breaking out clearer. It sank into a long-drawn, almost wailing note, that rose up into a livelier quaver, joined by a burst from others. It must be a hunt. They were blowing the Mort-as they did only for a stag, and a stag that was dead. Such luck!-for it came ever nearer. But what a crowd at the turning, near those splendid gates-twenty times even Charlemont must be there, by the swarming noise! And the gates themselves, thrown each way open with their double leaves, closed up the road.