Chapter 57170788

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Chapter NumberI
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Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57170788
Full Date1887-09-23
Page Number4
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Word Count3544
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Newspaper TitleAlexandra and Yea Standard, Gobur, Thornton and Acheron Express (Vic. : 1877 - 1908)
Trove TitleUn Bal De Mi-Careme
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* UN BAL DE MI-CARIEME.' Br 0. G. FURLRY, IN ALL TEr YEARo BOUD. OCnArEr I. The Marqule Alain de la Tdrmoutlle was a man oflberal principles. The de-condant of one of the oldest houses in France, whose members had intermarried wish the Conc?s a-d BourbonD, and bad thought it no great hoi.ur to call the king their cousin, be ougnh to have been a Lepstimit. He was ai thing; Orleani. Repoblican, Imperialist. R.publican again He served every party that would give him a portfolio and a ptsilon, in return for tbh ornamental use of his aooint title. He has been Minister of StaUt for almost everything ; and as be was iml artially ignorant of all the subjeots entrusted to him, it cannot be said that he falelmore oonnpiouously In one capacity thau snother. Finally, be took to diplomacy, and was appointed Ambaseador to a Sauth American .tate, where he distinglished him. self greatly, being the very pink of courtesy, aad a Pass Master in the art of evasion. It was while he was Minister of Flue Aris &tat I made his acquaintance. He professed to think it his cflolal duty to patronnso journalism, and so lavashed a great deal of oiorsesy on Ildr6 Mlohonneau, and somewhat Iess on me, Oeorges Proidevaux, his oom panion on the staff of the *Journal de Tout le" Monde.' As ' Everybody's Journal' was not, unfortunately, so well supported by everybody as its proprietors could have desired, I was both surp-.ied and flattered ny the Minis er'a civility, till Michonneau ex plained the cause of It according 'to bi oytoial views of men and their motives. ' MbInseur de la Trdmooille,' said he, ' is, like many eMfilal domocrat., a despot in private life. He thinks btat in bbh Chteau, and for twenty miles around, he should rule a suapreme a ns b es anestors did in the middle iaes. That might be possible, if be owned tbe land his fathers then possessed; but, being a gambler, and the deseendaot of three generations of gamblrrs, very little of it is left to him ; and be hates thore who have bought any portion of his domain as heartily aii .they had stolen it. My father, who was steward to the late marquis, was foolish S;enough to porabase some land nearly adjoin ing the Castle, and thereby inour the wrath of WL de la Tidmoulle, who more than hinted that he had gained the means of acquiring an estate by ebeating his employer. By way of rstort, my father closed a path that SJed from the Chateau to the rearest town, dirtot'y across his p-operty. Tae Marquis , laimed -a risht cf-way, and so they rassed One of those great quarrels over little Snatters, which often form the sole excite S-meat in the 'monotonous lives of country people, My father likes quarrellig; 'he enjoys it; it braces his nerves. He had di-tenalono not only with the Marquis, bi t with' all hil neighbours, till, at last, there was no one left to fight with ; then, S.. finally, he quarrelled with me. I left his Shoose, came to Paris, became a journalslt, Sand aftir undergoing the reqoiste initiation a i the art of starving, began to earn my living, Here I met the Marquis de la Tr6monille, who took* me up, invited me to hil house, made muoh of me-not be. cause be liked me, or oared for literature. I .but because he hated my father, and knew me to be an bad terms with him. That is the real foundation of bia iriendship for me; paiture to yourself how highly I value it.0 * 'HBu 'you profess to oare for it,' I said. SYou frequent the Hotel 'I rdooille ; you go to his official reoepwlons ; you talk'in .:our.most brilliant ityle to hi uointercat 'In goes' ; you even coho his opinlons xopressing them better than he can him aslf-In she journal. What does that - mean ?' Miabonoean smiled. * Ah, that's d. i erent,' he answered ; ' there are reasons, very good reasons. Are you so dull that you cannot.compreheod them ?' . did comprehend. My friend's ' reaone' were compried in one personality-that of SCharlotte de Is T.6monille, the Marquis's beautilfl daughter. * R?ne; you are mad I' I exolaimed. ' To let yourself love Mademoiselle de la Trd-. muille iethe height of folly. You are only laying up sorrow for yourself, and perhaps, for her also. You do not imagine that ber father would let her marry you-a bourgeois, a Bohemian, a ournalist I' ' I do not imagine it. I know he would forbid auch a thing in that grand manner which Is the onlylgood quality the ancient regime has transmitted to him; but not Abeamuse I am all that you say. No ; I oan ctore him pronouncing a paternal bene dtion on me in the eame oharming style ; and speaking eloquently of the dratruction *of aste prejudices ; the redtmption of errant man through that beautiful institu tlon, the domPatio hearth, and the noion of 'rank and letters-as all exemplified in my marriage with hie daughter-if I were rich enough. My povrly is my sole, but sofi cloet demerit. For M. le Marquis Is liberal in other things than politlla. He spent Jlse own inheritance with the most reckless liberality, then abowed his superiority to rioial distinctions by bestowing his coronet on azatozne L-rv, whose pedigree is doubc. lIes longer than hiq owD, uat whose income Was largo'y derived fromn a soecessul gtmbling establishme\t. It was a large 'tndome, bat not enough for the Marquis, who finally sold his claim to it for an SIomense tom. This, tbo. he bha spent, and I again in debt. He has but one posase-ion I It to sell-his daughter-and she maos go to the man who can pay most for her. * You are aware of all this,' I crled, when be paused in his saornfol charactoriestion ol the Marquis.' and yet, knowing that your Spassion 'Is hopeless, you take every oppor tunity of indulging and increasing t 1' 6 What does that master ' he retorted, dropping his listless tone and apsakine with aIl the Intensity of the South from which be Olmse. Does one - ak oneself, when one beglnp to love a woman, if one has any ?haoe of marryinglt on, may ; I do not. I know Ibth to be near. her sl happiness, to ,b qpart from her is, misery ; I know that 2 would sacrifioe anything, everything,' to be loved by her again, I take my joy while Iloan get it'; 1 seie it the more eagerly b'e~ause I know it can last but a short time; and I trust the foture and ile bhanees to Plovldenoe.' *'And f1 Mademoiselle de la Termonllle loves you, how will it affoot her Is it satr to win a woman'. love if you can only ]breakher heart by it ? You admit that you erobrt marry 'her. Women of her statidn *ad beauty are not permitted to " coifle Bainte Oatherine." The result will be that *while her heart is yours, she will become the wife 'of some man to whom she' Is, at best, indlfferent.' ' "'Women of her beauty and'atatlon, men amf, ire not permitted :to marry for love. Vd one will know- how Iudifferent she Is to him betlter than her husband. This ii not ?'y affair. aed 1.do not see why I ahould waorlflee che little happiness I can now ecurcrd for the aske of a peronages who Is still in the miste of futurity, and whom when he appears, I shall detest with all my heart. 1'* Do you think M, de la Trdmoollle knows o'efyor passion for Mademoiselle Charlolte I' I asked after a pause; giving up my uselos, contention. * Who Unowa' 'answeried Mlheboneau, *iarlersly. ' Who can fell what the marquis knowsa His skillin olnoealing hil knowledge li'tolstrpasaed, even by bilskill In cooealing Ilis ignoranch. If hb ise l6ouroicn of the love between ua-for I will admit to you that Charlotte does not forbid l'y f eotion-he does not yet think T'iiii`eseary to hbeok it, apt lavlng yet' ieleotod' his daughter's hbuP -band Meanwhile I am of uie to him io poblllhiog oplnions In harmony with his own-not to speak of giving him one or two Ideas on the subjeot ba Is supposed to anaieage-and my affeotion for Mademoiselle .codrea my allegiance.' *6Do you thlok, then, that he plays, with hitdaughter's heart for bis obwn ends? *Not he I M. lo Marqhie plijs with noth. Ing; he makes une of all thin.s, hbiadaunhter fIolded.; When sheo an be employed .to better purposes than isa served by keeping a poor seribbler in his Irain, I shall be 'dl mlered in some unforeseen manner, the nature of whicbh I trln entirely Io M. de 1-. T.nimcille'E well known Ingenuity,' Yet' Ilhink tL nd wa 5 unpepared t fo v • , ,,. . . . . : !

the drarte?etableu l tant ugtunuity was to take. In the first plhc there appeared at the HotelTrdmouille a ertain Vicomte de BIie. joly, who, it soon appeared, sought the hand of Madem*iaelle Charlotte. He was as nearly a nobcdy te a man with a title could be for his father had begun life as Jean Jolibois, bricklayer, and did not display, either in looks or manner, any striking il!urtration of the dignity of labour. IBut the bricklayer had bteome a contractor, has made mnillions, asd '. judioiously transposing the syllables of his family name, had made it fit to hear with seemliness the title his wealth porehased for him. His son, the VleoJmte {lfred, was a very fine specimen of unmanly manhood, under-sized, Insignificant, cowardly, inoapable of even an amusement that made any strain on courage and endurance ; yet he was thought to be s fitteg husband for prona Charlotte de la Ti dmooille, with the beauty she had inherited from a long line of noble ancestors enriobed by the mother's 0 ieotal grace. * bo rorneo Boiejoly, and swore to 1 rd (as he told me) that she would never yield to her father's commands; and it is true that the marquis was not able to announce -to his credrtnre end others-the betrothal that was to save him from ruin, as soon as he desired. 'If this were any other country than France I would carry her off and make her mine,' cried Michonnean, In passionate despair; ' hout our laws are made to suit the tyranny of such parents as M. de Is T.Cd mouille, and I cannot marry her without her father's consent.' a He was in a very exasperated mood, my p or ltlrd, maddened with the thought of the woman he loved being given to a men she hated. All the cynical coolness with which he had intendid to view the spectacle had vanished, and his anger, which was ready to dtaplay itself in irritation against anyone, made him an easy tool in the marquis's skillol hands. As this time the Government was biog. muab abu.ed for its foreign policy, wheob some condemned as rash, and othere as timorouse. As one of M. de sl Trd mouille'e cffiloal receptions, Rd d was defending this, not perhaps from conviction, but from a wish to please hise hot, who pre sumably thought the polioy wise and right. Thbe marquis stood listening with a pleasant smile, as those around heard in silence, if not with conviction, Mitohonneau's passionate, and, indeed, clever arguments; but when these were finished, he turned to one of the bystanders and said: ' And you. M. Enault, what do you think of all Ibi, ' I thought-It might be only fanoy-that a glance expressing a secret understanding paessed between our host and Enault, the editor of ' L'Avenir,' as he replied in a slow, drawling accent, which I knew to be enough of its.if to annoy my friend : ' With all deference to M. le Marquis, who doubtless approves the action of his col leagues, I consider the policy which expends millions of francs on arms which may never be used, to be foolish and imprudent; and I hold that everyone who expresses approval of it maut be either a traitor to the true interests of his country, or ignorant what these are.' ' Monsieur,' erled Rdnd,' 'I approve of the palloy.' Enault shrugged his shoulders. ' You have already made that clear,' he answered. 'I can only say-so much the worse for you, and, perhaps also, so much the worse for the Government.' This slight on his literary capacity touched Idr d to the quick. lie was intensely sensitive; intensely ambitious. ' You insult me I' he exclaimed. ' Do yo take the truth as an insult?' returned the other, with a sneer. The fact was that Enault was jealous of my friend, who was rapidly advancing to the first rank of journalism ; end he was well content to quarrel with him on his own account, even if he had not obliged the Miniter by doing so. To Euaolt's last speech there could be but one sequod. A meeting was arranged, and they fought. The editor of ' L'Avenir' was one of the beet shots in Paris. Doubtless the Marquis expected that Miohonneao. now become an incumbrance to him, would fall; and, even If he were not killed, would be laid aside for a suffioiently long time to enable him to marry 'his daughter to the Vicomte de Boisjoly. The result, however, was very different. Enault missed; while I6e6,e nervous, etouted, and unakilled in the Ine of the pistol though he was, sent a ball through his opponent's heart. This acoident, however, played M. de la TreLnooille's game as well as any other; and I do not supoose that a man of his rank, the inheritor of med'oval ideas on the value of human life in creatures of a lower caste, cared much which mere journalist was t illou to suit his convenienoo. For in any case Miohonneau was got rid of. Duelling was to be severely punished in our model new Republic; and we had to make haste in smuggling the victor over the Belgian frontier. in order to save him from at least a long term of Imprieonment. He still worked for the journal, and I wrote to him regularly; but I carefully abstained from speaking of Mademoiselle de la Tr6mouille, hoping that the miserable affair In which he had just been ooncerned would in rome degree have effaced this foolish passion from his mind. It appeared to have done so, for Miohonnean made no iequiry after the minister or any of his connections. Toe duel had taken place in early winter. At the beginning of March it was evident that it had played its part in the schemes of the Marquis ; the betrothal of Mademoiselle Charlotte to the Vicomte de Bitijoly was announeed to the world. The wedding was to take place at Easter. Meanwhile the poor little Vicomte might he seen everywhere in sttebdance on his bride and her parents, of whom he seemed to be more or lees afraid, though in other rocitty of a more ignoble Skind, he was aconfident and presuming enough Mademolselle di la Tr6mouille looked prouder aban ever, and more beautiful alsoa; hut the character of her beauty was changed All the vivacity of girlhood was gone' from I ; one would have said evnn that the bloom of youth had disappeared from her com plesion; she looked already like a mature woman of the world. And yet her pride covered only a bitterness that well nigh approusahed humility, as I foond on tus occasioan when I ventured to offer her my congralulatlona. She listened in silence to my civil phrases, while her great dark eyes looked steadily into mine, as if to decipher how mouch truth lay beneath my words. How ashe re ad me l cannot say; but when I had finished my ommoeplace remarks, anod was turning away. she stopped me, and with lips that trembled, forced herself to say a few words: 'Understand, M. Froldevaux-for I wish -yoo -to know the truth-that my father's honour is involved in my marriage, Ha has entrusted the prerersvation of it to me, and I must not prove onelual to the task.' I knew the message was meant for another than myself, and therefore dared to answer it frankly,. 'Mademopslaelle,' I said, 'I hold that a man has no olaim to possess honour who cannot keep it intact without aid from anothrr, even hise own child.' She flusheabrd slightly, and I thought she s'ghed. 'You are right, perhaps; but a hbtld cannot say that to a parent, must not even think it of him,' I hesiltated about forwarding thisbl mesae to ILohonneau. and fioally decided to suppress it. But I could not suppress the newspapers, which conveyed to my friend alh be needed to know-that Charlotte weas about to be married. True he had foreseen this marriage, bad even prophesied his own dismissal; but it was none tbe less a ashook, when hifs predltions were so speedily fulfilled. I did indeed hope that he had :aken it calmly, for in his letters to me be m•de no mention of it; bht I was soon to be nndeaelved. I was'lId the ole one day, watching the passers by languidly, hhlle I meditated an article for next week's isone of 'Le Journal de Tout le Mondo,' when I saw approsaching a riding party of three persone-Mademoi rolls de la Tr6montlle, accompanioed by her father and her lover. . They were goinog s a w-alking p5e0, 'so that 1 could observe I ihem elosely. The Marquis looked at thoe apoPd?o and, peasionally bowed ton tn

aotuatutance with a deliciouu asirjf rutuiuno and yet benevolent self.satiafaction; his daughter, though she held her reins loosely and gazed absently in front of her, sat haughtily upright; while Boiejoly started nervously at every motion of his horse's head, and seemed painfully eonoeiou8 of the insecurity of his position. Buidenly, when they were about half a dozen yards from me, I saw Charlotte start and turn pale. She gave her horse a hasty cut withthe whip, andin a moment had passed me like a flash of lightning, while her father hastened to overtake her, and Boisjoly, whose horse had broken sympathetically into a carnter, joggled unsteadily behind. Turning to the poirnt where the obange in the girl'i demeanour had taken place, I saw Riire .Mihonneau. lhe was standing behind a group of people. and was balifhidden also by a tree; hbu I could see his faoe turned eagerly in the direction in which the woman he loved was disappearing, and on it I read an intei.e yearning, mingled with a sad reproach, a, d yet more pitiful triumph. I hurried up to him. 'IRedo, what are you doing here?' I exclaimed. 'It is madnmea to ran suoh a ri,k !' IHe took no notlle of my question, though he ,eemed to feel some pleasure at meeti.,g -eo, and kept my band in a convulsive pre-rure. I- it true ?' he demanded. 'What are you speaking of?' I asked in return. ' Is it true that she Is to marry tsil Boiijoly, this plece of gilded mud? Is he the Idol to which Charlotte is to be sacrificed ? ' Say rather that he is the priest by whom the sacrifice Is performed. The victim Is offered up to her lathrber's pride, poverty, and selfishnese But why do you take it so bitterly? You knew loeg ago that this mnt be; you youreelf foratolO it.' ' Yea, but I did not, could not, foretell how intolerable it would be to me. And to her, too She seemed numbed with misery when she passed me; and when she aought a glimpse of my face, how pale she grew I It te a sin that she should be saoriflea I I will see her again. I will bereech her to come to me.' ' Do not speak so loudly 1' I entreated; 'do not attraot attentionl IIf you are seen and recognised, you know what the result must be. And do not try to see Mademoiselle de la Trdmonille. She is resigned to her fate; she feels that duty demands of her this sacrifice of herself. You can offer her no better destiny than that 'which hles before her. Without her lather's consent-unastainable, as you know-she oannot be your wife. Leave her then to suoh peace as s?e can find. Do not make her fate harder than it needs be.' 'I must see her-I will see her,' he re peated with set teeth, ' But do not fear that I will compromise you by letting anyone see me in your soolety. Take no thb nght of me. I mues go my own way at any risk. You shall not see me again till the object for whioh I have cometo Paris is attained.' And before I had time to reply, he had left me, and was hidden by the shllfting groups of loungers.