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“ Softness and sweetest innocence she wore,
It may very naturally be supposed, that a military man of twenty-five was rather a dangerous guest in a house with a charming young girl of twenty. Caroline, (for that was the name of the daughter) thought that she was much indebted to a man who was one of the defenders of her country; she endeavoured in every possible manner to please him, and was particularly careful that he should not want any thing to to make him comfortable; she offered every thing with so much sweetness, that Blinval could not refuse, even though he did not want it, and her kind and attentive behaviour melted his heart with gratitude.
The business of the father obliged him to be often absent from home; of course Blinval and Caroline were left by themselves, but never felt tired of each others company. Caroline amused herself by arranging the household affairs, and Blinval found an excellent pastime in cultivating the garden, or the orchard, He planted, dug, watered, gathered flowers, and set others, with as much expertness as though he had been employed in the garden all his life. It was pot long before the young persons began to form a strict intimacy: under their circumstances, friendship generally gives place to love; I need not inform my readers that this soon happened.
After some little time had elapsed, Blinyal began to explain himself, and open his heart; he was heard with patience. Caroline was both sensible and prudent; she had not corrupted her mind by reading foolish Romances, which only serve to lead young people astray: having always been usefully employed, this had preserved her from those wild flights of ima. gination to which our young girls, who have no occupation on which they can fix their thoughts, are so much exposed. She received with modesty, but without confusion, a declaration which she had expected; a charming, lovely smile began her reply, and a tender fascinating look completed it.
The two lovers, now acquainted with each other's sentiments, spoké frankly on their fyture intentions. It was at length resolved upon, that they must wait quietly for the conclusion of the war, when Blinval proposed to quit the service, in order to be useful to his country in another manner. He intended to settle upon his god-father's estate at Villefranc, who would enjoy with him, and amongst his children, that happiness and sweet tranquillity which is the patriniony of old age.
Caroline's father, fearing that he should be separated from her, was very unwilling to have her married, and had refused several advantageous matches which had offered themselves. His daughter, however, thought that he would not refuse giving his consent to Blinval, as he had always appeared to be particularly partial to him; but she soon found that it would be best to wait for a convenient opportunity, in expectation of which she was continually assuring him, that she could never bear the idea of leaving him."
In this manner four months glided away in lively and innocent amusements, and a mutual interchange of tenderness; whilst the war, at no great distance, was raging with the greatest fury, desolating the coun: try, destroying the peaceful habitations of health, peace, and love.
“ The peaceful peasant to the war is pressed;
They shed many tears, but they were those of hearts alive to the miseries of their fellow creatures.
On a sudden, an order came to march out the garri, Bon, and fix their quarters in a distant part ; soon after the republican army left Fontepay and its envia rons, and Blinval's batallion was sent thirty league's from thence. The young soldier quitted Caroline with much regret, but with courage; each took an oath of eternal fidelity, which was sealed by a farewell kiss, but
The joys of meeting pay the pangs of absence,
Gantheaume only received one letter from Blinyal, and in this letter was one for his daughter. The young man informed them, that being always on the march, and in different parts, he could not even tell them a fixed place to which they might address an answer. After this, all the others were intercepted, and they heard no more of Blinval.
To render this misfortune still more poignant, a detachment of the royal army came to fix their quarters at Fontenay. The reputation of honesty which Gantheaume had acquired, his professional skill, and consequently the assistance of which he might be to them, saved him from some excesses into which they launched on their first arrival; and they exacted nos thing from him, on condition that he would takeupon himself the care of the wounded.
These guests had been two months at Fontenay, and it was almost three since Caroline had heard from Blinval, when one night an alarm was given by the opposite party; the republicans were advancing to force their posts; the royalists, too weak to withstand them, were obliged to retreat in great disorder. At six o'clock in the morning, when day had scarce dawned, the republicans entered the town. An officer of the royal party, not thinking they were so near, was suddenly surprised, endeavoured to escape, and took to fight, but perceived before him a body of the republican patrole. He instantly turned down another street, fearing to be recognised, and at length found himself before a house, the door of which was open; he immediately rushed in. This house was Gant. heaume's, who had been absent two days, and had left Caroline at home. The officer soon arrived at the young lady's chamber, and precipitated himself into the room in the greatest agitation. - " Terror froze up his hair, and on his face · Showers of cold sweat rolled trembling down apace.".
'Twas some time before he was sufficiently recovered to make an apology for so abrupt an intrusion into a lady's chamber; “Madam,” said he at length, “ I am not a coward, and have more than once braved danger in the field of battle, but it is dreadful to be butcher.
ed, in cold blood without power to defend oneself. I have been seen, and without doubt known; my pure suers are now at my heels. To your benevolent heart, Madam, I appeal for protection.”
The compassionate Caroline was affected, and humanity began to plead strongly in her bosom; she forgot that the officer was an enemy, and only regarded him as a fellow creature in distress. “Alas," cried she, “ I will serve you if it is in my power.”— She iminediately began to assist him to pull off his uniform, which she threw into a large tub of water under the window; she afterwards informed her fa. ther's servants of the circumstance, and enjoined them to be secret.
A quarter of an hour had scarce passed away, when they were alarmed by a great noise at the street door. This was occasioned by the patrole who came to search the house, and see if there were any of the enemy concealed within it. All the entrances were guarded, they began to ascend to Caroline's chamber, and there was now no way left for the officer to escape, nor a place in the chamber where he could conceal himself.' Caroline immediately formed a resolution. She de. sired the officer to get into bed and only let his face be seen; this done she opened the door, and said aloud to those who were at the top of the stair-case, “there is no one here, except my husband, who you see is gone to bed.” She had scarce uttered these words when her lover Blinval entered the room, and she was under the necessity of repeating to him, what she had just said. My pen is not adequate to the task of describing the different contending emotions of the young couple at that moment. Blinval was fixed to ihe ground in mute astonishment. He at last turned to the pretended husband, whose situation was not much less painful than his. “ Do you not recollect me?” said he, “ Du you not remember Blinval? We studied together at Rouen, and your paternal residence is ten leagues from hence, I find you in a sa.' cred asylum, for which I have the greatest respect, and whatever may be your personal opinions I will not violate this sanctuary: Come,” cried he aloud, “ let as depart comrades, there is no person here but this
lady's husband." Though Blinyal spoke thus to his soldiers, he was perfectly convinced that the officer was not married to Caroline, being firmly assured of her attachment, and soon perceived how the affair was, after the first emotions of surprise had given place to reflection. He asked after her father's wel-. fare in a reserved manner, and left the house with his troop.
When Blinyal had been gone a short time, and the officer felt himself a little recovered, he could not resist giving vent to his feelings in the following terms: - Ah! Madam, how humane and generous is Blinval, he has discovered me, and I cannot, nor do I wish to deny it: he knows that I am the Baron de Lassalliere. that my estate is ten leagues from hence: he also knows that I am one of the royalists, but he was resolved to save the life of his former college compa. nion, or rather it is to the respect which he bears to your family, that I owe my preservation. The obligation shall not be forgotten on my side.”—“ I do nut repent what I have done,” said Caroline, who however * could not help sighing at the thoughts of Blinval's suspicions, and at length burst into a flood of tears ; " but do not,” added she, “impute my grief to regret for doing a good action! no, the cause is very different, they are for my troubles alone.”
Lassalliere pressed her so earnestly, and with su much respect, to inform him of the cause of her distress, that she at length told him the affection which she had for Blinval, and their former projects of happiness. “What you have risqued for me," replied the Baron, “informs me of what I ought to do in return: I do not wish to be surpassed in generosity. A man of honour in my situation has only one thing to which he can have recourse, and that is to repair the mischief of which he has been the innocent and inyoluntary cause. Whatever may be the consequences, I will immediately put myself into the power of the republicans, and will inform them of all the particuJars, I will tell them that the terror of the moment caused me to enter your house, into which I had never hefore beeis. I will tell them with what admirable greatness of mind, you exposed yourself for a man