Samuel Brohl & Company
Part 4 out of 4
Just as Princess Gulof was finishing this remarkable declaration of
her principles, the door opened and Mlle. Moriaz entered. Whatever it
might cost her to do so, the future Countess Larinski faithfully kept
the promise she had made to her father. Mme. de Lorcy was strictly on
her guard; she hastened to meet her, held out both hands, kissed her
on both cheeks, and reproached her, in the most affectionate tone in
the world, for the rarity of her visits. Then she presented her to the
princess, who said: "Come here, my beauty, that I may look at you; I
have been told that you are adorable."
When Antoinette approached, she fixed on her a keen, penetrating
glance, examined her from head to foot, passed all her perfections in
review: one might have taken her for some Normandy farmer at a cattle-
fair. The result of this investigation was satisfactory; the princess
cried, "Truly she does very well!" and proceeded to assert that Mlle.
Moriaz greatly resembled a certain person who had played a certain
role in a certain adventure that she undertook to narrate. She had
scarcely finished this recital when she entered on another. Mme. de
Lorcy was on thorns. She knew by experience that the anecdotes of
Princess Gulof were ordinarily somewhat indelicate and ill-suited to
maiden ears. She watched Antoinette anxiously, and, when she saw the
approach of an especially objectionable passage, she was suddenly
seized with a fit of coughing. The princess, comprehending the
significance of that, made an effort to gloss over, but her glossings
were very transparent. Mme. de Lorcy coughed anew, and the princess
ended by losing patience, and, brusquely interrupting herself,
exclaimed: "And this, that, and the other, etc. Thus ended the
Mlle. Moriaz listened with an astonished air, not in the least
understanding these attacks of coughing and these interruptions, nor
divining the significance of the constant repetition of "this, that,
and the other, etc." Princess Gulof struck her as a very eccentric and
unpleasantly brusque person; she even suspected her of being slightly
deranged or at least rather crack-brained; yet she was pleased with
her for being present upon this especial occasion and sparing her a
/tete-a-tete/ with Mme. de Lorcy with its disagreeable explanations
and unpleasant discussions.
She remained nearly an hour, planted on a chair, watching with a sort
of stupor the turning of the fan of this word-mill, whose clapper kept
up such an incessant noise. After having criticised to her heart's
content her neighbours, including under that title emperors and grand-
dukes, and having abundantly multiplied the et ceteras, Princess Gulof
suddenly turned the conversation to physiology: this science, whose
depths she believed herself to have fathomed, was, in her estimation,
the secret of everything, the Alpha and Omega of human life. She
exposed certain materialistic views, making use of expressions that
shocked the modest and delicate ears of Mlle. Moriaz. The astonishment
the latter had at first experienced became now blended with horror and
disgust; she judged that her visit had lasted long enough, and she
proceeded to beat a retreat, which Mme. de Lorcy made no effort to
Upon arriving at Cormeilles, her carriage crossed with a young man on
horseback, who with his head bowed down allowed his animal full
liberty to take his own course. This young man trembled when a clear,
soprano voice, which he preferred to the most beautiful music in the
world, cried to him, "Where are you going, Camille?"
He bowed over his horse's neck, drew down his hat over his eyes, and
replied, "To Maisons."
"Do not go there. I have just left because there is a dreadful old
woman there who says horrid things." Then Mlle. Moriaz added, in a
queenly tone, "You cannot pass--you are my prisoner."
She obliged him to turn back; ten minutes later she had alighted from
her coupe, he had sprung from his saddle, and they were seated side by
side on a rustic bench.
A few days previous M. Langis had met M. Moriaz, who had complained
bitterly of being forsaken by him as well as by Mme. de Lorcy, and who
had extracted from him the promise to come and see him. Camille had
kept this promise. Had he chosen well his time of doing so? The truth
is, he had been both rejoiced and heart-broken to learn that Mlle.
Moriaz was absent. Man is a strange combination of contradictions,
especially a man who is in love. In the same way he had bestowed both
blessings and imprecations upon Heaven for permitting him to meet
Antoinette. During some moments he had lost countenance, but had
quickly recovered himself; he had formed the generous resolution to
act out consistently his role of friend and brother. He had acquitted
himself of it so well at Saint Moritz, that Antoinette believed him
cured of the caprice of a day with which she had inspired him and
which she had never taken seriously.
"The last time I saw you," said she, "you dropped a remark that pained
me, but I am pleased to think that you did not mean to do so."
"I am a terrible culprit," he rejoined, "and I smite myself upon the
breast therefore. I was wanting in respect to your idol."
"Fortunately, my idol knew nothing about it, and, if he had known, I
would have appeased him by saying: 'Pardon this young man; he does not
always know what he is saying.' "
"He even seldom knows it; but what help is there for it? A man given
to fainting always did seem a curiosity to me. I know we should
endeavour to conquer our prejudices; every country has its customs,
and, since Poland is a country that pleases you, I will make an effort
to see only its good sides."
"Now that is the right way to talk. I hope this very day to reconcile
you with Count Larinski; stay and dine with us--he will be here very
soon; the first duty of the people whom I love is to love one
M. Langis at first energetically declined accepting this invitation;
Antoinette insisted: he ended by bowing in sign of obedience. Youth
has a taste for suffering.
Tracing figures in the gravel with a stick he had picked up, M. Langis
said, in a wholly unconstrained voice: "I do not wish M. Larinski any
harm, and yet you must admit that I would have the right to detest him
cordially, for I had the honour two years ago, if I mistake not, of
asking your hand in marriage. Do you remember it?"
"Perfectly," she replied, fixing upon him her pure, clear eyes; "but I
ought to avow to you that this fancy of yours never seemed to me
either very reasonable or very serious."
"You are wrong; I can certify to you that your refusal plunged me for
as much as forty-eight hours into the depths of despair--I mean one of
those genuine despairs that neither eat, drink, nor sleep, and that
speak openly of suicide!"
"And at the end of forty-eight hours were you consoled?"
"/Eh! bon Dieu/, it surely was time to come to reason. I had hesitated
a long time before asking your hand, because I thought, 'If she
refuses me, I cannot see her any more.' But I still do see you, so all
"And how soon do you mean to marry?"
"I? Never! I shall die a bachelor. An aspirant to the hand of Mlle.
Moriaz, being unable to win her, could not care for another woman.
Nothing remains but to strike the attitude of the inconsolable lover."
"And when this ceases to hinder one from eating, drinking, or sleeping
"One becomes interesting without being inconvenienced by the
consequences," he gaily interposed. Then, letting his eyes wander idly
around for a moment, he added: "It seems to me that you have in some
way changed the order of this terrace; put to the right what was at
the left, thinned out the shrubbery, cut the trees; I feel completely
"You mistake greatly; nothing is changed here; it is you who have
become forgetful. How! you now longer recognise this terrace, scene of
so many exploits? I was a thorough tyrant; I did with you what I
pleased. You revolted sometimes, but in his heart the slave adored his
chains. Open your eyes. See! here is the sycamore you climbed one day
to escape me when I wanted you to make believe that you were a girl,
as you said, and you had little fancy for such a silly role. There is
the alley where we played ball, and yonder the hedge and the grove
where we played hide-and-seek."
"Say rather, /cligne-musette/; it is more poetical," he rejoined.
"When I was down in Transylvania I made a /chanson/ about it all, and
set it myself to music."
"Sing me your /chanson/."
"You are mocking at me; my voice is false, as you well know; but I
will consent to recite it to you. The rhymes are not rich--I am no son
With these words, lowering his voice, not daring to look her in the
face, he recited the couplets.
"Your /chanson/ is very pretty," said she; "but it does not tell the
truth, for here we are sitting together on this bench; we have not
lost each other at all."
She was so innocent that she had no idea of the torture she was
inflicting, and he saw this so plainly that he could not so much as
have the satisfaction of finding fault with her; yet he asked himself
whether in the best woman's heart there was not a foundation of
cruelty, of unconscious ferocity. He felt the tears start to his eyes;
he scarcely could restrain them; he abruptly bowed his head, and began
to examine a beautiful horned beetle, which was just crossing the
gravel-path at a quick pace, apparently having some very important
affairs to regulate. When M. Langis raised his head his eyes were dry,
his face serene, his lips smiling.
"It is very certain," he observed, "that two years ago I must have
appeared supremely ridiculous to you. This little playmate of old,
this foolish little Camille, to attempt to transform himself into a
husband! The pretension was absurd indeed."
"Not at all," she replied; "but I thought at once that it was a
mistake. Little Camilles are apt to be hot-headed and fanciful; they
are subject to self-deceptions regarding their sentiments. Friendship
and love, however, are two entirely different things! I once said to
Mlle. Moiseney that a woman never should marry an intimate friend,
because it would be a sure way of losing him as such, and friends are
good to keep."
"Bah! How much do you care now for yours? I find my role very modest,
very insignificant. Open the trap-door--it is time for me to
"Bad counsel! I shall not open the trap-door. One always has need of
friends. I can readily imagine the possibility of the very happiest
married woman needing some advice or assistance that she could not ask
of her husband, for husbands do not understand everything. If ever
such a thing happens to me, Camille, I shall turn to you."
"Agreed!" he cried; "to help you out of embarrassment, I would run, if
necessary, all the way from Transylvania."
He held out his right hand, which she shook warmly.
At this moment they heard a step that Mlle. Moriaz at once recognised,
and Count Larinski appeared from the walk bordering the house.
Antoinette hastened to meet him, and led him forward by laying hold of
the tip of his glove, which he was in the act of drawing off.
"Gentlemen," said she, "I do not need to present you to each other;
you are already acquainted."
It is a very difficult thing to lead two men who do not like each
other into conversation: the present effort proved a total failure.
Fortunately for all parties, M. Moriaz shortly made his appearance at
the end of the terrace, and M. Langis arose to join him. Antoinette
remained alone with Samuel Brohl, who at once rather brusquely asked:
"Has M. Langis the intention of remaining here forever?"
"He has only just arrived," she replied.
"And you will send him away soon?"
"I thought so little of sending him away that I asked him to dinner,
in order to give you an opportunity of becoming more fully acquainted
"I thank you for your amiable intentions, but M. Langis pleases me
"What have you against him?"
"I have met him sometimes at Mme. de Lorcy's, and he always has shown
me a most dubious politeness. I scent in him an enemy."
"Pure imagination! M. Langis has been my friend from childhood up, and
I have forewarned him that it is his duty to love the people whom I
"I mistrust these childhood's friends," said he, growing excited. "I
should not wonder if this youth was in love with you."
"Ah, indeed! then you should have heard him but now. He has been
reminding me, this youth, that two years ago he sought my hand, and he
assured me that forty-eight hours sufficed to console him for my
"I did not know that the case was so grave, or the personage so
dangerous. Truly, do you mean to keep him to dinner?"
"I invited him; can I retract?"
"Very well, I will leave the place," he cried, rising.
She uplifted her eyes to his face and remained transfixed with
astonishment, so completely was his face transformed. His contracted
brows formed an acute angle, and he had a sharp, hard, evil air. This
was a Larinski with whom she was not yet acquainted, or rather it was
Samuel Brohl who had just appeared to her--Samuel Brohl, who had
entered upon the scene as suddenly as though he had emerged from a
magic surprise-box. She could not remove her eyes from him, and he at
once perceived the impression he was making on her. Forthwith Samuel
Brohl re-entered his box, whose cover closed over him, and it was a
true Pole who said to Mlle. Moriaz, in a grave, melancholy, and
"Pardon me, I am not always master of my impressions."
"That is right," said she; "and you will remain, won't you?"
"Impossible," he replied; "I should be cross, and you would not be
She urged him; he opposed her entreaties with a polite but firm
"Adieu," said she. "When shall I see you again?"
"To-morrow--or the day after--I do not know."
"Really, do you not know?"
He perceived that her eyes were full of tears. Tenderly kissing her
hand he said, with a smile that consoled her:
"This is the first time we have had any dispute; it is possible that I
may be wrong, but it seems to me that if I were a woman I would not
willingly marry a man who was always right."
These words uttered, he assured himself anew that her eyes were humid,
and then he left, charmed to have proved the extent of the empire he
held over her.
When she rejoined M. Langis, the young man asked:
"Does it chance to be I who put Count Larinski to flight? If so, I
should be quite heart-broken."
"Reassure yourself," said she, "he came expressly to inform me that
his evening was not free."
The dinner was only passably lively. Mlle. Moiseney owed M. Langis a
grudge; she could not forgive him for having made fun of her more than
once--in her eyes an unpardonable sin. M. Moriaz was enchanted to find
himself once more in company with his dear Camille; but he kept asking
himself, mournfully, "Why is not he to be my son-in-law?" Antoinette
had several attacks of abstraction; she did not, however, omit the
least friendly attention to Camille. Love had become master of this
generous soul; it might cause it to commit many imprudences, but it
was not in its power to cause it to commit an injustice.
At nine o'clock M. Langis mounted his horse and took his departure.
Meanwhile, Mlle. Moriaz, her arm resting on the ledge of her window,
was meditating on the strange conduct of Count Larinski as she gazed
on the stars; the sky was without clouds, unless a little black speck
above Mount-Valerien might be so called. Mlle. Moriaz's heart swelled
with emotion, and she felt implicit confidence that all would be
arranged the next day. What is one black spot in the immensity of a
In all that Samuel Brohl did, even in his wildest freaks, there was
somewhat of calculation, or contrivance. Unquestionably, he had
experienced intense displeasure at encountering M. Camille Langis at
Cormeilles; he had, doubtless, very particular and very personal
reasons for not liking him. He knew, however, that there was need for
controlling his temper, his impressions, his rancour; and, if he
ceased to do so for a moment, it was because he counted upon deriving
advantage therefrom. He was impatient to enter into possession, to
feel his good-fortune sheltered from all hazards; delays,
procrastinations, long waiting, displeased and irritated him. He
suspected M. Moriaz of purposely putting his shoulder to the wheel of
time, and of preparing a contract that would completely tie the hands
of Count Larinski. He resolved to seize the first opportunity of
proving that he was mistrustful, stormy, susceptible, in the hope that
Mlle. Moriaz would become alarmed and say to her father, "I intend to
marry in three weeks, and without any conditions." The opportunity had
presented itself, and Samuel Brohl had taken good care not to lose it.
The next day he received the following note:
"You have caused me pain, a great deal of pain. Already! I passed a
sorrowful evening, and slept wretchedly all night. I have
reflected seriously upon our dispute; I have endeavoured to
persuade myself that I was in the wrong: I have neither been able
to succeed, nor to comprehend you. Ah! how your lack of confidence
astonishes me! It is so easy to believe when one loves. Please
write me word quickly that you also have reflected, and that you
have acknowledged your misdemeanour. I will not insist upon your
doing penance, your face humbled to the ground; but I will condemn
you to love me to-day more than yesterday, to-morrow more than
to-day. Upon these conditions, I will pass a sponge across your
grave error, and we shall speak of it no more.
"Ever yours. It is agreed, is it not?"
Samuel Brohl had the surprise of receiving at the same time another
letter, thus worded:
"MY DEAR COUNT: I cannot explain to myself your conduct; you no
longer give me any signs of life. I believed that I had some
claims upon you, and that you would hasten to announce to me in
person the great event of events, and seek my congratulations.
Come, I beg of you, and dine this evening at Maisons with Abbe
Miollens, who is dying to embrace you; he studies men in Horace,
you know, and he finds none whom he prefers to you.
"You need not answer, but come; else I will be displeased with you
as long as I live."
Samuel replied as follows to Mlle. Moriaz:
"Be assured I have suffered more than you. Forgive me; much should
be forgiven a man who has suffered much. My imagination is subject
to the wildest alarms. Great, unlooked-for joy has rendered me
mistrustful. I have been especially low-spirited of late. After
having resolutely fought against my happiness, I tremble now lest
it escape me; it appears to me too beautiful not to prove only a
dream. To be loved by you! How can I help fearing to lose the
great boon? Each evening I ask myself: 'Will she still love me
to-morrow?' Perhaps my anxiety is blended with secret remorse. My
pride, ever on the alert to take umbrage, has often been my
torment; you can tell me it is only self-love: I will endeavour to
cure myself of it, but this cannot be done in a day. During these
long months of waiting there will come to me more than one
suspicion, more than one troubled thought. I promise you, however,
that I shall maintain a rigid silence concerning them, and, if
possible, hide them.
"You condemn me, for my punishment, to love you to-day more than
yesterday; you know well this were impossible. No; I shall inflict
upon myself another chastisement. Mme. de Lorcy has invited me to
dinner. I suspect her of having a very mediocre feeling of good-
will for me, and I also accuse her of being cold and insensible;
of understanding nothing whatever of the heart's unreasonableness,
which is true wisdom. Nevertheless, I will refrain from declining
her invitation. It is at Maisons and not at Cormeilles that I
shall this day pass my evening. Are you content with me? Is not
the penance severe enough?
"But to-morrow--oh! I shall arrive at your home to-morrow by two
o'clock, and I shall enter by the little green gate at the foot of
the orchard. Will you do me a favour? Promenade about two o'clock
in the gravel-walk that I adore. The wall being low at that place,
I shall perceive from afar, before entering, the white silk of
your sun-umbrella. I am counting, you see, upon sunshine. How very
childish! Yet, even this is not strange; I was born three months
and a half ago; I commenced to live July 5th of this year; at four
o'clock in the afternoon, in the cathedral at Chur. Forgive me all
my errors, my suspicions, my childish absurdities."
Mlle. Moriaz concluded that it would be well to shorten the term of
waiting, and that she would ask Count Larinski to fix the date of
their marriage himself. As to the contract, she had immediate occasion
to speak of it to her father, who announced to her that he had invited
his notary, Maitre Noirot, to dine with him the next day.
She was silent a few moments, and then said, "Can you explain to me
the use of notaries?"
He replied about as did /le Philosophe sans le savoir/: "We only see
the present; notaries foresee the future and possible contingencies."
She replied that she did not believe in contingencies, and that she
did not like precautions, because they presupposed distrust, and might
"We have charming weather to-day," said her father; "nevertheless
there is a possibility of rain to-morrow. If I started this evening on
a journey, I should carry my umbrella, without fearing to insult
Providence. Who speaks to you of offending M. Larinski? Not content
with approving of the step I propose taking, he will thank me for it.
Why did he at first refuse to marry you? Because you are rich, and he
is poor. The contract I wish to have drawn up will thoroughly set at
ease his disinterestedness and his pride."
"The question of money no longer exists for him," she eagerly replied;
"it is my desire that it should not be started again. And since you
like comparisons, let us suppose that you invited one of your friends
to take a turn in your garden. Your espaliers are laden with fruit,
and you know that your friend is an honest man, and that, besides, he
does not care for pears. Suppose you were to put handcuffs on him,
would he or would he not be insulted?"
He answered in an exceedingly vexed tone, that this was entirely
different, and Mlle. Moiseney having taken the liberty to interfere in
the discussion in Antoinette's behalf, declaring that Counts Larinski
are not to be distrusted, and that men of science are incapable of
comprehending delicacy of sentiment, he gave full vent to his wrath,
telling the worthy demoiselle to meddle with what concerned her. For
the first time in his life he was seriously angry. Antoinette caressed
him into good-humour, promised that she would put on the best possible
face to Maitre Noirot, that she would pay religious attention to his
counsels, and that she would endeavour to profit by them.
While M. Moriaz was engaged in this stormy interview with his
daughter, Samuel Brohl was /en route/ for Maisons. After the first
flush of astonishment, the note and invitation of Mme. de Lorcy had
pleased him immensely; he saw in it the proof that she had ceased to
struggle against the inevitable--against Samuel Brohl and destiny;
that she had resolved to bear her disappointment with a cheerful
countenance. He formed the generous resolution to console her for her
vexation; to gain her good-will by force of modesty and graceful
Alone in his compartment of the cars, Samuel Brohl was happy,
perfectly happy. He was nearing port; he held it for an established
fact that, before a fortnight, the banns would be published. Was he
alone in his compartment? An adored image kept him company; he spoke
to it, it replied to him. Blended with a rather uncommon frigidity of
soul, Samuel Brohl had an imagination that readily took fire, and,
when his imagination was kindled, he felt within him something warm,
which he took for a heart, and sincerely persuaded himself that he had
such an organ. At this moment he saw Antoinette as he had left her the
evening previous, her face animated, her cheeks flushed, her
countenance full of reproach, her eyes tearful. She never had appeared
to him so charming. He believed himself so madly in love that he was
inclined to mock a little at himself. He teased in anticipation the
joys that were in reserve for him; he revelled in thought of the day
and the hour when this superb creature would be his, when he could
view her as his own undisputed possession, and devour page after page,
chapter after chapter, of this elegantly printed, richly bound book.
However, he was not the man to wholly absorb himself in such a
reverie. His thoughts travelled farther; in idea he embraced his
entire future, which he fashioned out at pleasure. He took leave of
his sorrowful past as a blind man who by some miracle recovers his
sight, parts from his dog and his staff--troublesome witnesses of evil
days. He had done with petty employments, with ungrateful toil, with
humiliating servitude, with anxiety about the morrow, with the
necessity for counting every sou, with meagre repasts, with sordid
expedients, with sorrow, distress, and usuries; to all these he said
farewell. Henceforth he would pick up silver and gold by the
shovelful; he would have a share in abundance of festivals--the joy of
doing nothing--the pleasure of commanding--all the sweetness and all
the calm satisfaction of delightful egotism--reposing in a bed of
eider-down--fed upon delicate birds--owning two or three houses, a
carriage, horses, and a box at the opera. What a future! At intervals
Samuel Brohl passed his tongue over his lips; they were parched with
Alnaschar the Lazy received one hundred drachms of silver as his
entire patrimony, and he promised himself that he would one day marry
the daughter of the grand-vizier. He meant to clothe himself like a
prince, to mount upon a horse with a saddle of fine gold and housings
of gold, richly embroidered with diamonds and pearls. He proposed to
see that his wife formed good habits, to train her to obedience, to
teach her to stand before him and be always ready to wait upon him; he
resolved to discipline her with his looks, his hand, and his foot.
Samuel Brohl possessed a calmer spirit than the Athenian Hippoclide;
he was less brutal than Alnaschar of Bagdad: was he much less
ferocious? He proposed, he also, to educate his wife; he intended that
the daughter of the grand-vizier should consecrate herself wholly to
his happiness, to his service. To possess a beautiful slave, with
velvety eyes, chestnut hair, tinged with gold, who would make of
Samuel Brohl her padishah and her god, who would pass her life at his
knees on the alert for his wishes, reading his good pleasure in his
face, attentive to his fancies and to his eye-brows, belonging to him
body and soul, uplifting to him the gaze of a timid gazelle or a
faithful spaniel--such was his dream of conjugal felicity. And little
need would he have to exert himself much in the education of Mlle.
Antoinette Moriaz. Love would charge itself with that. She adored
Samuel Brohl, and he relied upon her devotion; it were impossible that
she could refuse him anything! She was prepared in advance for every
compliance, every obedience; she was ready to be his humble servant in
all things. Knaves make it their boast that they can readily fathom
honest people; the truth is, they only half comprehend them. Honest
people have sentiments, as do certain languages, reputed easy, which
are full of mystery, of refined delicacy, inaccessible to the vulgar
mind. A commercial traveller often learns to speak Italian in three
weeks, and yet never really knows the language; Samuel Brohl had
gained a superficial knowledge of Mlle. Moriaz in a few days, and yet
he was far from having a true comprehension of her.
He arrived at Maisons in the most cheerful, self-satisfied frame of
mind. As he walked through the park, he remembered that Mme. de Lorcy
had lost her only two children when they were still of a tender age;
that she was therefore free to will her property as she pleased; that
she had a short neck, an apoplectic temperament; that Antoinette was
her goddaughter; that although she was piqued with Count Larinski the
count was adroit, and would find a way to regain her sympathies. The
park appeared to him magnificent; he admired its long, regular alleys,
which had the appearance of extending as far as Peking; he paused some
moments before the purple beech, and it seemed to him that there must
be some resemblance between this beautiful tree and himself. He
contemplated with the eyes of proprietorship the terrace planted with
superb lindens, and he decided that he would establish himself in his
Maisons chateau, that his pretty Cormeilles villa would merely be his
country-seat. As it may be seen, his imagination refused him nothing;
it placed happiness and wealth untold at his command.
We are unable to state whether Mme. de Lorcy actually had an
apoplectic temperament; the one thing certain is, that she was not
dead. Samuel Brohl perceived her from afar on the veranda, which she
had just stepped out upon in order to watch for his arrival. He had
forgotten himself in the park, which should one day be his park, and
she was beginning to be uneasy about his coming.
She cried out to him: "At last! You always make us wait for you,"
adding, in a most affable tone, "We meet to-day under less tragic
circumstances than the last time you were here, and I hope you will
bear away a pleasanter remembrance of Maisons."
He respectfully kissed her hand, saying: "Happiness must be purchased;
I cannot pay too dearly for mine."
She ushered him into the /salon/, where he had scarcely set foot, when
he descried an old woman lounging on a /causeuse/, fanning herself as
she chatted with Abbe Miollens. He remained motionless, his eyes
fixed, scarcely breathing, cold as marble; it seemed to him that the
four walls of the /salon/ swayed from right to left, and left to
right, and that the floor was sliding from under his feet like the
deck of a pitching vessel.
The previous day, Antoinette once departed, Mme. de Lorcy had resumed
her attack on Princess Gulof, and the princess had ended by consenting
to delay her departure, to dine with the adventurer of the green eyes,
and to subject him to a close scrutiny. There she was; yes, it was
indeed she! The first impulse of Samuel Brohl was to regain the door
as speedily as possible; but he did nothing of the kind. He looked at
Mme. de Lorcy: she herself was regarding him with astonishment; she
wondered what could suddenly have overcome him; she could find no
explanation for the bewilderment apparent in his countenance. "It is a
mere chance," he thought at last; "she has not intentionally drawn me
into a snare." This thought was productive of a sort of half relief.
"/Eh bien!/ what is it?" she asked. "Has my poor /salon/ still the
misfortune to be hurtful to you?"
He pointed to a /jardiniere/, saying: "You are fond of hyacinths and
tuberoses; their perfume overpowered me for a moment. I fear you think
me very effeminate."
She replied in a caressing voice: "I take you for a most worthy man
who has terrible nerves; but you know by experience that if you have
weaknesses I have salts. Will you have my smelling-bottle?"
"You are a thousand times too good," he rejoined, and bravely marched
forward to face the danger. It is a well-known fact that dangers in a
silken robe are the most formidable of all.
Mme. de Lorcy presented him to the princess, who raised her chin to
examine him with her little glittering eyes. It seemed to him that
those gray orbs directed at him were two balls, which struck him in
the heart; he quivered from head to foot and asked himself confusedly
whether he were dead or living. He soon perceived that he was still
living; the princess had remained impassible--not a muscle of her face
had moved. She ended by bestowing upon Samuel a smile that was almost
gracious, and addressing to him some insignificant words, which he
only half understood, but which seemed to him exquisite--delicious. He
fancied that she was saying to him: "You have a chance, you were born
lucky; my sight has been impaired for some years, and I do not
recognise you. Bless your star, you are saved!" He experienced such a
transport of joy that he could have flung his arms about the neck of
Abbe Miollens, who came up to him with extended hand, saying:
"What have you been thinking about, my dear count? Since we last met a
very great event has been accomplished. What woman wishes, God wishes;
but, after all, my own humble efforts were not without avail, and I am
proud of it."
Mme. de Lorcy requested Count Larinski to offer his arm to Princess
Gulof and lead her out to dinner. He mechanically complied; but he had
not the strength to utter a syllable as he conducted the princess to
table. She herself said nothing; she seemed wholly busied in arranging
with her unoccupied hand a lock of her gray hair, which had strayed
too far over her forehead. He looked fixedly at this short, plump
hand, which one day in a fit of jealous fury had administered to him
two smart blows; his cheeks recognised it.
During dinner the princess was very gay: she paid more attention to
Abbe Miollens than to Count Larinski; she took pleasure in teasing the
good priest--in endeavouring to shock him a little. It was not easy to
shock him; to his natural, easy good-nature he united an innate
respect for grandeurs and for princesses. She did not neglect so good
an opportunity to air her monkey-development theories. He merrily
flung back the ball; he declared that he should prefer to be a fallen
angel rather than a perfected monkey; that in his estimation a parvenu
made a much sorrier figure in the world than the descendent of an old
family of ruined nobility. She replied that she was more democratic
than he. "It is pleasant to me," said she, "to think that I am a
progressive ape, who has a wide future before him, and who, by taking
proper pains, may hope to attain new advancement."
While they were thus chatting, Samuel Brohl was striving with all his
might to recover from the terrible blow he had received. He noted with
keen satisfaction that the eyesight of the princess was considerably
impaired; that the microscopic studies, for which she had always had a
taste, had resulted in rendering her somewhat near-sighted; that she
was obliged to look out carefully to find her way among her wine-
glasses. "She has not seen me for six years," thought he, "and I have
become a different man, I have undergone a complete metamorphosis; I
have difficulty sometimes in recognising myself. Formerly, my face was
close-shaven, now I have let my entire beard grow. My voice, my
accent, the poise of my head, my manners, the expression of my
countenance, all are changed; Poland has entered my blood--I am Samuel
no longer, I am Larinski." He blessed the microscope, which enfeebled
the sight of old women; he blessed Count Abel Larinski, who had made
of him his twin brother. Before the end of the repast he had recovered
all his assurance, all his aplomb. He began to take part in the
conversation: he recounted in a sorrowful tone a sorrowful little
story; he retailed sundry playful anecdotes with a melancholy grace
and sprightliness; he expressed the most chivalrous sentiments;
shaking his lion's mane, he spoke of the prisoner at the Vatican with
tears in his voice. It were impossible to be a more thorough Larinski.
The princess manifested, in listening to him, an astonished curiosity;
she concluded by saying to him: "Count, I admire you; but I believe
only in physiology, and you are a little too much of a Pole for me."
After they had left the table and repaired to the /salon/, several
callers dropped in. It was like a deliverance to Samuel. If the
society was not numerous enough for him to lose himself in it, at
least it served him as a shield. He held it for a certainty that the
princess had not recognised him; yet he did not cease feeling in her
presence unutterably ill at ease. This Calmuck visage of hers recalled
to him all the miseries, the shame, the hard, grinding slavery of his
youth; he could not look at her without feeling his brow burn as
though it were being seared with a hot iron.
He entered into conversation with a supercilious, haughty, and
pedantic counsellor-at-law, whose interminable monologues distilled
ennui. This fine speaker seemed charming to Samuel, who found in him
wit, knowledge, scholarship, and taste; he possessed the (in his eyes)
meritorious quality of not knowing Samuel Brohl. For Samuel had come
to divide the human race into two categories: the first comprehended
those well-to-do, thriving people who did not know a certain Brohl; he
placed in the second old women who did know him. He interrogated the
counsellor with deference, he hung upon his words, he smiled with an
air of approbation at all the absurdities that escaped him; he would
have been willing to have his discourse last three hours by the watch;
if this charming bore had shown symptoms of escaping him, he would
have held him back by the button.
Suddenly he heard a harsh voice, saying to Mme. de Lorcy: "Where is
Count Larinski? Bring him to me; I want to have a discussion with
He could not do otherwise than comply; he quitted his counsellor with
regret, went over and took a seat in the arm-chair that Mme. de Lorcy
drew up for him at the side of the princess, and which had for him the
effect of a stool of repentance. Mme. de Lorcy moved away, and he was
left /tete-a-tete/ with Princess Gulof, who said to him, "I have been
told that congratulations are due to you, and I must make them at once
--although we are enemies."
"By what right are we enemies, princess?" he asked with a slightly
troubled feeling, which quickly passed away as she answered:
"I am a Russian and you are a Pole, but we shall have no time for
fighting; I leave for London to-morrow morning at seven o'clock."
He was on the point of casting himself at her feet and tenderly
kissing her two hands, in testimony of his gratitude. "To-morrow at
seven o'clock," he mentally ejaculated. "I have slandered her; she has
some good in her."
"When I say that I am a Russian," resumed the princess, "it is merely
a formal speech. Love of country is a prejudice, an idea that has had
its day, that had sense in the times of Epaminondas or of Theseus, but
that has it no longer. We live in the age of the telegraph, the
locomotive; and I know of nothing more absurd now than a frontier, or
more ridiculous than a patriot. Rumour says that you fought like a
hero in the insurrection of 1863; that you gave proof of incomparable
prowess, and that you killed with your own hand ten Cossacks? What
harm had they done you, those poor Cossacks? Do they not sometimes
haunt your dreams? Can you think of your victims without disquietude
and without remorse?"
He replied, in a dry, haughty tone: "I really do not know, princess,
how many Cossacks I have killed; but I do know that there are some
subjects on which I do not love to expatiate."
"You are right--I should not comprehend you. Don Quixote did not do
Sancho the honour to explain himself to him every day."
"Ah, I beg of you, let us talk a little of the man-monkey," he
observed, in a rather more pliant tone than he had at first assumed.
"That is a question that has the advantage of being neither Russian
"You will not succeed that way in throwing me off the track. I mean to
tell you all the evil I think of you, no matter how it may incense
you. You uttered, at table, theories that displeased me. You are not
only a Polish patriot; you are an idealist, a true disciple of Plato,
and you do not know how I always have detested this man. In all these
sixty years that I have been in this world, I have seen nothing but
selfishness, and grasping after self-gratification. Twice during
dinner you spoke of an ideal world. What is an ideal world? Where is
it situated? You speak of it as of a house whose inhabitants you are
well acquainted with, whose key is in your pocket. Can you show me the
key? I promise not to steal it from you. O poet!--for you are quite as
much of a poet as of a Pole, which is not saying much--"
"Nothing remains but to hang me," he interposed, smilingly.
"No, I shall not hang you. Opinions are free, and there is room enough
in the world for all, even idealists. Besides, if you were to be
hanged, it would bring to the verge of despair a charming girl who
adores you, who was created expressly for you, and whom you will
shortly marry. When will the ceremony take place?"
"If I dared hope that you would do me the honour of being present,
princess, I should postpone it until your return from England."
"You are too amiable; but I could not on any consideration retard the
happiness of Mlle. Moriaz. There, my dear count, I congratulate you
sincerely. I had the pleasure to meet here the future Countess
Larinski. She is adorable! It is an exquisite nature, hers--a true
poet's wife. She must have brains, discernment; she has chosen you--
that says everything. As to her fortune, I dare not ask you if she has
any; you would turn away from me in disgust. Do idealists trouble
their heads with such vile questions?"
She leaned towards him, and, fanning herself excitedly, added: "These
poor idealists! they have one misfortune."
"And what is that, princess?"
"They dream with open eyes, and the awakening is sometimes
disagreeable. Ah, my dear Count Larinski, this, that, and the other,
/et cetera/. Thus endeth the adventure."
Then, stretching out her neck until her face was close to his, she
darted at him a venomous, viper-like look, and, in a voice that seemed
to cut into his tympanum like a sharp-toothed saw, she hissed, "Samuel
Brohl, the man with the green eyes, sooner or later the mountains must
It seemed to him that the candelabra on the mantel-piece darted out
jets of flame, whose green, blue, and rose-coloured tongues ascended
to the ceiling; and it appeared to him as though his heart was beating
as noisily as a clock-pendulum, and that every one would turn to
inquire whence came the noise. But every one was occupied; no one
turned round; no one suspected that there was a man present on whom a
thunderbolt had just fallen.
The man passed his hand over his brow, which was covered with a cold
sweat; then dispelling, by an effort of will, the cloud that veiled
his eyes, he, in turn, leaned towards the princess, and with quivering
lip and evil, sardonic glance, said to her, in a low voice:
"Princess, I have a slight acquaintance with this Samuel Brohl of whom
you speak. He is not a man who will allow himself to be strangled
without a great deal of outcry. You are not much in the habit of
writing, nevertheless he received from you two letters, which he
copied, placing the originals in safety. If ever he sees the necessity
of appearing in a court of justice, these two letters can be made to
create quite a sensation, and unquestionably they will be the delight
of all the petty journals of Paris."
Thereupon he made a profound bow, respectfully took leave of Mme. de
Lorcy, and retired, followed by Abbe Miollens, who inflicted a real
torture by insisting on accompanying him to the station.
No longer restrained by Mme. de Lorcy's presence, the abbe spoke
freely of the happy event in which he prided himself to have been a
co-operator; he overwhelmed him with congratulation, and all the good
wishes he could possibly think of for his happiness. During a quarter
of an hour he lavished on him his myrrh and honey. Samuel would gladly
have wrung his neck. He could not breathe until the abbe had freed him
from his obtrusive society.
A storm muttered in the almost cloudless sky. It was a dry storm; the
rain fell elsewhere. The incessant lightning, accompanied by distant
thunder, gleamed from all quarters of the horizon, and darted its
luminous flashes over the whole extent of the plain. At intervals the
hills seemed to be on fire. Several times Samuel, who stood with his
nose against the glass of the car-door, thought that he saw in the
direction of Cormeilles the flaring light of a conflagration, in which
were blazing his dream and two millions, to say nothing of his great
He bitterly reproached himself for his folly of the previous day. "If
I had passed yesterday evening with her," he thought, "surely she
would have spoken of the Princess Gulof. I would have taken measures
accordingly, and nothing would have happened." It was all M. Langis's
fault; it was to him that he imputed the disaster, and he hated him
all the more.
However, as he approached Paris, he felt his courage returning.
"Those two letters frightened the old fairy," he thought. "She will
think twice before she declares war with me. No, she will not dare."
He added: "And if she dared, Antoinette loves me so much that I can
make her believe what I please."
And he prepared in his mind what he should say, in case the event
At that very moment Mme. de Lorcy, who was alone with Princess Gulof,
was saying: "Well, my dear, you have talked with my man. What do you
think of him?"
The princess distressed her by her reply. "I think, my dear," she
rejoined, "that Count Larinski is the last of the heroes of romance--
or, if you like better, the last of the troubadours; but I have no
reason to believe him to be an adventurer."
Mme. de Lorcy could get nothing further from Princess Gulof; she had
invited her to remain overnight; she got no pay for her hospitality.
The princess spent part of the night in reflecting and deliberating.
Samuel Brohl's insolent menace had produced some effect. She sought to
remember the exact purport of the two letters that formerly she had
had the imprudence to write him from London, while he was fulfilling a
business commission for her in Paris. On his return she had required
Samuel to burn these two compromising epistles, in her presence; he
had deceived her; he burned the envelopes and blank paper. The thought
of some day having her composition quoted in court, and printed
verbatim in the petty journals, terrified her, and made her blood boil
in her veins; she hardly cared to take Paris and St. Petersburg into
her confidence concerning an experience the recollection of which
caused her disgust--but to let such an admirable opportunity of
vengeance escape her! renounce the delight of the gods and of
princesses! permit this man who had just defied her to accomplish his
underhand intrigue! She could not resign herself to the idea, and the
consequence was that, during the night she spent at Maisons, she
scarcely closed her eyes.
The following day, after breakfast, Mlle. Moriaz was walking alone on
the terrace. The weather was delightfully mild. She was bare-headed,
and had opened her white silk umbrella to protect herself from the
sun; for Samuel Brohl had been a true prophet--there was sunshine. She
looked up at the sky, where no trace was left of the wind-storm of the
preceding evening, and it seemed to her that she never had seen the
sky so blue. She looked at her flower-beds, and the flowers that she
saw were perhaps not there. She looked at the orchard, growing on the
slope that bordered the terrace, and she admired the foliage of the
apple-trees, over which Autumn, with liberal hand, had scattered gold
and purple; the grass there was as high as her knee, and was fragrant
and glossy. Above the apple-trees she saw the spire of the church at
Cormeilles; it seemed to amuse itself watching the flying clouds. It
was a high-festival day. The bells were ringing out a full peal; they
spoke to this happy girl of that far-off, mysterious land which we
remember, without ever having seen it. Their silvery voices were
answered by the cheerful cackling of the hens. She at once understood
that a joyful event was occurring in the poultry-yard, as well as in
the belfry; that below, as well as above, an arrival was being
celebrated. But what pleased her more than all the rest was the little
deep-set gateway with its ivy-hung arch at the end of the orchard. It
was through this gate that he would come.
She walked several times around the terrace. The gravel was elastic,
and rebounded under her step. Never had Mlle. Moriaz felt so light:
life, the present, the future, weighed no heavier on her brow than a
bird in the hand that holds it and feels it tremble. Her heart
fluttered like a bird; like a bird it had wings, and only asked to
fly. She believed that there was happiness everywhere; there seemed to
be joy diffused through the air, in the wind, in every sound, and in
all silences. She gazed smilingly on the vast landscape that was
spread out before her eyes, and the sparkling Seine sent back her
Some one came to announce that a lady, a stranger, had called, who
wished to speak with her. Immediately thereupon the stranger appeared,
and Mlle. Moriaz was most disagreeably surprised to find herself in
the presence of the Princess Gulof, whom she would willingly never
have seen again. "This is an unpleasant visit," she thought, as she
asked her guest to be seated on a rustic bench. "What can this woman
want with me?"
"It was M. Moriaz whom I desired to speak with," began the princess.
"I am told that he is out. I shall leave in a few hours for Calais; I
cannot await his return, and I have, therefore, decided to address
myself to you, mademoiselle. I have come here to render you one of
those little services that one woman owes to another; but, first of
all, I would like to be assured that I may rely on your absolute
discretion; I do not desire to appear in this affair."
"In what affair, madame?"
"One of no little consequence; it concerns your marriage."
"You are extremely kind to concern yourself with my marriage; but I do
"You will understand in a few moments. So you promise me----"
"I promise nothing, madame, before I understand."
The princess looked in amazement at Mlle. Moriaz. She had anticipated
talking with a dove; she found that the dove had a less accommodating
temper and a much stiffer neck than she had believed. She hesitated
for a moment whether she would not at once end the interview; she
decided, however, to proceed:
"I have a story to relate to you," she continued, in a familiar tone;
"listen with attention, I beg of you. I err if in the end you do not
find it interesting. Thirteen or fourteen years ago, one of those
unlucky chances, common in travelling, obliged me to pass several
hours in a miserable little town in Galicia. The inn, or rather the
tavern, where I stopped, was very dirty; the tavern-keeper, an ill-
looking little German Jew, was still dirtier than his tavern, and he
had a son who was in no better condition. I am given to forming
illusions about people. In spite of his filth, this youth interested
me. His stupid father refused him all instruction, and beat him
unmercifully; he appeared intelligent; he made me think of a fresh-
water fish condemned to live in a quagmire. He was called Samuel
Brohl: remember the name. I pitied him and I saw no other way of
saving him than to buy him of his father. This horrid little man
demanded an exorbitant price. I assure you his pretensions were
absurd. Well, my dear, I was out of cash; I had with me just the money
sufficient for the expenses of the rest of the journey; but I wore on
my arm a bracelet that had the advantage of pleasing him. It was a
Persian trinket, more singular than beautiful. I can see it now; it
was formed of three large plates of gold ornamented with grotesque
animals, and joined by a filigree network. I valued this bracelet; it
had been brought to me from Teheran. By means of a secret spring, one
of the plates opened, and I had had engraved inside the most
interesting dates of my life, and underneath them my profession of
faith, with which you have no concern. Ah! my dear, when one has once
been touched by that dangerous passion called philanthropy, one
becomes capable of exchanging a Persian bracelet for a Samuel Brohl,
and I swear to you that it was a real fool's bargain that I made. This
miserable fellow paid me badly for my kindness to him. I sent him to
the university, and later I took him into my service as secretary. He
had a black heart. One fine morning, he took to his heels and
"That was revolting ingratitude," interrupted Antoinette, "and your
good work, madame, was poorly recompensed; but I do not see what
relation Samuel Brohl can have to my marriage."
"You are too impatient, my darling. If you had given me time I would
have told you that I had had the very unexpected pleasure of dining
yesterday with him at Mme. de Lorcy's. This German has made great
advances since I lost sight of him; not content with becoming a Pole,
he is now a person of vast importance. He is called Count Abel
Larinski, and he is to marry very soon Mlle. Antoinette Moriaz."
The blood rushed into Antoinette's cheeks, and her eyes flashed fire.
Princess Gulof entirely mistook the sentiment that animated her, and
said: "My dear, don't be angry, don't be indignant, your indignation
will not help you at all. Without doubt, a rascal capable of deceiving
such a charming girl as you deserves death ten times over; but be
careful not to make an exposure! My dear, scandal always splashes mud
over every one concerned, and there is a rather vulgar but exceedingly
sensible Turkish proverb that says that the more garlic is crushed,
the stronger becomes its odour. Believe me, you would not come off
without a tinge of ridicule; certain mistakes always appear a little
ridiculous, and it is useless to proclaim them to the universe. Thank
Heaven! you are not yet the Countess Larinski--I arrived in time to
save you. Be silent about the discovery you have just made; by no
means mention it to Samuel Brohl, and seek a proper pretext to break
with him. You would not be a woman if you could not find ten for one."
Mlle. Moriaz could no longer refrain her anger. "Madame," she
exclaimed excitedly, "will you declare to M. Larinski, in my presence,
that his name is Samuel Brohl?"
"I made that declaration to him yesterday--it is useless to repeat it.
He was nearer dead than alive, and I was truly sorry for the state
into which I had thrown him. I cannot disguise from myself that I am
the cause of all this; why did I take the boy from his father's tavern
and his natal mud? Perhaps there he would have remained honest. It was
I who launched him into the world and gave him the desire to advance,
I put the trump-cards into his hand, but he found that he could not
win fast enough by fair play, so he ended by cheating. It is not my
place to overwhelm the poor devil--we owe some consideration to those
who are under obligations to us; and, once more, I desire not to
appear further in this business. Promise me that Samuel Brohl never
will be informed of the measures I have taken."
She replied, in a haughty tone: "I promise you, madame, that I never
will do Count Larinski the wrong to repeat to him a single word of the
very likely story you have related to me."
The princess rose hastily, remained standing before Mlle. Moriaz, and
contemplated her in silence; finally she said, in tones of the most
cutting sarcasm: "Ah! you do not believe me, my dear. Decidedly you do
not believe me. You are right; you should not put faith in an old
woman's childish chatter. No, my darling, there is no Samuel Brohl: I
dined yesterday at Maisons with the most authentic of Counts Larinski,
and nothing remains for me to say but to present my best wishes for
the certain happiness of the Countess Larinski, /et cetera/--of the
Countess Larinski and company."
With these words she bowed, turned on her heels, and disappeared.
Mlle. Moriaz remained an instant as if stunned by a blow. She
questioned herself as to whether she had not seen a vision, or had had
the nightmare. Was it, indeed, a Russian princess of flesh and blood
who had just been there, who had been seated close beside her, and had
conversed so strangely with her that the belfry of Cormeilles could
not hear it without falling into a profound stupor? In fact, the
belfry of Cormeilles had become silent, its bells no longer rang; an
appalling silence reigned for two leagues round.
Antoinette soon controlled her emotions. "The day before yesterday,"
she thought, "this woman appeared to me to be deranged: she is a
lunatic; I wish that Abel were here, he could tell me what happened at
dinner between him and this dotard, and we should laugh over it
together. Perhaps nothing happened at all. The Princess Gulof should
be confined. They do very wrong to let maniacs like that go at large.
It is dangerous; the bells of Cormeilles have ceased ringing. Ah! /bon
Dieu/, who knows? Mme. de Lorcy surely has a hand in this business; it
is the result of some grand plot. How many acts are there in the play?
Here we are at the second or third; but there are some jokes that are
very provoking. I shall end by being seriously angry."
Princess Gulof appeared to have entirely failed in her object. It
seemed to Mlle. Moriaz that for the last twenty minutes she loved
Count Larinski more than ever before.
The hour drew near; he was on the way; she had never been so impatient
to see him. She saw some one at the end of the terrace. It was M.
Camille Langis, who was going towards the laboratory.
He turned his head, retraced his steps, and came to her. M. Moriaz had
asked him to translate two pages of a German memoir which he had not
been able to understand. Camille was bringing the translation; perhaps
that was the reason of his coming back to Cormeilles after two days;
perhaps, too, it was only a pretext.
Mlle. Moriaz could not help thinking that his visit was inopportune;
that he had chose an unfortunate time for it. "If the count finds him
still here," thought she, "I am not afraid that he will make a scene,
but all his pleasure will be spoiled." There was a tinge of coldness
in her welcome to M. Langis, of which he was sensible.
"I am in the way," he said, making a movement to retire.
She kept him, and altered her tone: "You are never in the way,
Camille. Sit there."
He seated himself, and talked of the races at Chantilly, that he had
attended the day before.
She listened to him, bowed her head in sign of approval; but she heard
his voice through a mist that veiled her senses. She lifted her hand
to brush away a wasp that annoyed her by its buzzing. The lace of her
cuff, in falling back, left her wrist exposed.
"What a curious bracelet you have!" said M. Langis.
"Have you not seen it before?" she replied. "It is some time
She interrupted herself, a sudden idea occurring to her. She looked at
her wrist. This bracelet from which she never was parted--this
bracelet that Count Larinski had given to her--this bracelet that he
loved because it had belonged to his mother, and that the late
Countess Larinski had worn as long as she lived--resembled none other;
but Mlle. Moriaz observed that it had a strong resemblance to the
Persian bracelet that the Princess Gulof had described to her, and
which she had exchanged for Samuel Brohl. The three gold plates, the
grotesque animals, the filigree network--nothing was wanting. She took
it from her arm and handed it to M. Langis, saying to him: "There is,
it seems, something written on the interior of one of these plates;
but you must know the secret to be able to open it. Can you guess
He carefully examined the bracelet. "Two of these plates," said he,
"are solid, and of heavy gold; the third is hollow, and might serve as
a case. I see a little hinge that is almost invisible; but I seek in
vain for the secret--I cannot find it."
"Is the hinge strong?"
"Not very, and the lid easily could be forced open."
"That is what I want you to do," she rejoined.
"What are you thinking of? I would not spoil a trinket that you
She replied: "I have made the acquaintance of a Russian princess who
has a mania for physiology and dissection. I have caught the disease,
and I want to begin to dissect. I am fond of this trinket, but I want
to know what is inside. Do as I tell you," she continued. "You will
find in the laboratory the necessary instruments. Go; the key is in
He consulted her look; her eye was burning, her voice broken, and she
repeated: "Go--go! Do you not understand me?"
He obeyed, went to the laboratory, taking the bracelet with him. After
five minutes he returned saying: "I am very unskilful; I crushed the
lid in raising it; but you wished it, and your curiosity will be
She could, in truth, satisfy her curiosity. She eagerly seized the
bracelet, and on the back of the plate, now left bare, she saw
engraved in the gold, characters almost microscopic in size. Through
the greatest attention she succeeded in deciphering them. She
distinguished several dates, marking the year, the month, and the day,
when some important event had occurred to the Princess Gulof. These
dates, accompanied by no indication of any kind, formerly sufficed to
recall the principal experiments that she had practised on mankind
before having discovered Samuel Brohl. The result had not been very
cheerful, for beneath this form of calendar stood a confession of
faith, thus expressed, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!" This
melancholy declaration was signed, and the signature was perfectly
legible. Mlle. Moriaz spelled it out readily, although at that moment
her sight was dim, and she was convinced that the trinket, which Count
Larinski had presented to her as a family relic, had belonged to Anna
Petrovna, Princess Gulof.
She grew mortally pale, and lost consciousness; she seemed on the
verge of an attack of delirium. In the agitation of her mind, she
imagined that she saw herself at a great distance, at the end of the
world, and very small; she was climbing a mountain, on the other side
of which there was a man awaiting her. She questioned herself, "Am I,
or is this traveller, Mlle. Moriaz?" She closed her eyes, and saw a
blank abyss open before her, in which her life was ingulfed, whirled
about, like the leaf of a tree in a whirlpool.
M. Langis drew near her, and, lightly slapping the palms of her hands,
said, "What is the matter?"
She roused herself, made an effort to lift her head, and let it sink
again. The trouble that lay in the depths of her heart choked her; she
experienced an irresistible need of confiding in some one, and she
judged that the man who was talking to her was one of those men to
whom a woman can tell her secret, one of those souls to whom she could
pour out her shame without blushing. She began, in a broken voice, a
confused, disconnected recital that Camille could scarcely follow.
However, he finally understood; he felt himself divided between an
immense pity for her despair, and a fierce lover's joy that tightened
his throat and well-nigh strangled him.
The belfry of Cormeilles had recovered its voice; two o'clock rang out
on the air. Antoinette rose and exclaimed: "I was to meet him at the
pretty little gate that you see from here! He will have the right to
be angry if I keep him waiting."
At once she hastened towards the balustered steps that led from the
terrace to the orchard. M. Langis followed her, seeking to detain her.
"You need not see him again," said he. "I will meet him. Pray, charge
me with your explanations."
She repelled him and replied, in a voice of authority: "I wish to see
him, no one but I can say to him what I have in my heart. I command
you to remain here; I intend that he shall blame no one but me." She
added with a curl of the lips meant for a smile: "You must remember, I
do not believe yet that I have been deceived; I will not believe it
until I have read the lie in his eyes."
She hastily descended into the orchard, and, during five minutes, her
eye fixed on the gate, she waited for Samuel Brohl. Her impatience
counted the seconds, and yet Mlle. Moriaz could have wished the gate
would never open. There was near by an old apple-tree that she loved;
in the old days she had more than once suspended her hammock from one
of its arched and drooping branches. She leaned against the gnarled
trunk of the old tree. It seemed to her that she was not alone; some
one protected her.
At last the gate opened and admitted Samuel Brohl, who had a smile on
his lips. His first words were: "And your umbrella! You have forgotten
She replied: "Do you not see that there is no sunshine?" And she
remained leaning against the apple-tree.
He uplifted his hand to show her the blue sky; he let it fall again.
He looked at Antoinette, and he was afraid. He guessed immediately
that she knew all. At once he grew audacious.
"I spent a dull day yesterday," said he. "Mme. de Lorcy invited me to
dine with a crazy woman; but the night made up for it. I saw Engadine
in my dreams--the firs, the Alpine pines, the emerald lakes, and a red
"I, too, dreamed last night. I dreamed that the bracelet you gave me
belonged to the crazy woman of whom you speak, and that she had her
name engraved on it."
She threw him the bracelet: he picked it up, examined it, turned and
returned it in his trembling fingers. She grew impatient. "Look at the
place that has been forced open. Don't you know how to read?"
He read, and became stupefied. Who would have believed that this
trinket that he had found among his father's old traps had come to him
from Princess Gulof? that it was the price she had paid for Samuel
Brohl's ignominy and shame? Samuel was a fatalist; he felt that his
star had set, that Fate had conspired to ruin his hopes, that he was
found guilty and condemned. His heart grew heavy within him.
"Can you tell me what I ought to think of a certain Samuel Brohl?" she
That name, pronounced by her, fell on him like a mass of lead; he
never would have believed that there could be so much weight in a
human word. He trembled under the blow; then he struck his brow with
his clinched hand and replied:
"Samuel Brohl is a man as worthy of your pity as he is of mine. If you
knew all that he has suffered, all that he has dared, you could not
help deeply pitying him and admiring him. Listen to me; Samuel Brohl
is an unfortunate man--"
"Or a wretch!" she interrupted, in a terrible voice. She was seized by
a fit of nervous laughter; she cried out: "Mme. Brohl! I will not be
called Mme. Brohl. Ah! that poor Countess Larinski!"
He had a spasm of rage that would have terrified her had she
conjectured what agitated him. He raised his head, crossed his arms on
his breast, and said, with a bitter smile:
"It was not the man that you loved, it was the count."
She replied, "The man whom I loved never lied."
"Yes, I lied!" he cried, gasping for breath. "I drank that cup of
shame without remorse or disgust. I lied because I loved you madly. I
lied because you were dearer to me than my honour. I lied because I
despaired of touching your heart, and any road seemed good that led to
you. Why did I meet you? why could I not see you without recognising
in you the dream of my whole life? Happiness had passed me by, it was
about to take flight; I caught it in a trap--I lied. Who would not
lie, to be loved by you?"
Samuel Brohl never had looked so handsome. Despair and passion kindled
a sombre flame in his eyes; he had the sinister charm of a fiery
Satan. He fixed on Antoinette a fascinating glance that said: "What
matter my name, my lies, and the rest? My face is not a mask, and I am
the man who pleased you." He had not the least suspicion of the
astonishing facility with which Antoinette had taken back the heart
that she had given away so easily; he did not suspect that miracles
can be wrought by contempt. In the middle ages people believed in
golems, figures in clay of an entrancing beauty, which had all the
appearance of life. Under a lock of hair was written, in Hebrew
characters, on their brow, the word "Truth." If they chanced to lie,
the word was obliterated; they lost all their charm, the clay was no
longer anything but clay.
Mlle. Moriaz divined Samuel Brohl's thought; she exclaimed: "The man I
loved was he whose history you related to me."
He would have liked to kill her, so that she never should belong to
another. Behind Antoinette, not twenty steps distant, he descried the
curb of a well, and grew dizzy at the sight. He discovered, with
despair, that he was not made of the stuff for crime. He dropped down
on his knees in the grass, and cried, "If you will not pardon me,
nothing remains for me but to die!" She stood motionless and
impassive. She repeated between her teeth Camille Langis's phrase: "I
am waiting until this great comedian has finished playing his piece."
He rose and started to run towards the well. She was in front of him
and barred the passage, but at the same moment she felt two hands
clasp her waist, and the breath of two lips that sought her lips and
that murmured, "You love me still, since you do not want me to die."
She struggled with violence and horror; she succeeded, by a frantic
effort, in disengaging herself from his grasp. She fled towards the
house. Samuel Brohl rushed after her in mad pursuit; he was just
reaching her, when he suddenly stopped. He had caught sight of M.
Langis, hurrying from out a thicket, where he had been hidden. Growing
uneasy, he had approached the orchard through a path concealed by the
heavy foliage. Antoinette, out of breath, ran to him, gasping,
"Camille, save me from this man!" and she threw herself into his arms,
which closed about her with delight. He felt her sink; she would have
fallen had he not supported her.
At the same instant a menacing voice saluted him with the words,
"Monsieur, we will meet again!"
"To-day, if you will," he replied.
Antoinette's wild excitement had given place to insensibility; she
neither saw nor heard; her limbs no longer sustained her. Camille had
great difficulty in bringing her to the house; she could not ascend
the steps of the terrace; he was obliged to carry her. Mlle. Moiseney
saw him, and filled the air with her cries. She ran forward, she
lavished her best care on her queen. All the time she was busy in
bringing her to her senses she was asking Camille for explanations, to
which she did not pay the least attention; she interrupted him at
every word to exclaim: "This has been designed, and you are at the
bottom of the plot. I have suspected you--you owe Antoinette a grudge.
Your wounded vanity never has recovered from her refusal, and you are
determined to be revenged. Perhaps you flatter yourself that she will
end by loving you. She does not love you, and she never will love you.
Who are you, to dare compare yourself with Count Larinski? Be silent!
Do I believe in Samuel Brohl? I do not know Samuel Brohl. I venture my
head that there is no such person as Samuel Brohl."
"Not much of a venture, mademoiselle," replied M. Moriaz, who had
arrived in the meantime.
Antoinette remained during an hour in a state of mute languor; then a
violent fever took possession of her. When the physician who had been
sent for arrived, M. Langis accompanied him into the chamber of the
sick girl. She was delirious: seated upright, she kept continually
passing her hand over her brow; she sought to efface the taint of a
kiss she had received one moonlight night, and the impression in her
hair of the flapping of a bat's wings that had caught in her hood.
These two things were confounded in her memory. From time to time she
said: "Where is my portrait? Give me my portrait."
It was about ten o'clock when M. Langis called on Samuel Brohl, who
was not astonished to see him appear; he had hoped he would come.
Samuel had regained self-possession. He was calm and dignified.
However, the tempest through which he had gone had left on his
features some vestige of its passage. His lips quivered, and his
beautiful chestnut locks curled like serpents about his temples, and
gave his head a Medusa-like appearance.
He said to Camille: "Where and when? Our seconds will undertake the
arrangement of the rest."
"You mistake, monsieur, the motive of my visit," replied M. Langis. "I
am grieved to destroy your illusions, but I did not come to arrange a
meeting with you."
"Do you refuse to give me satisfaction?"
"What satisfaction do I owe you?"
"You insulted me."
"And you said: 'The day, the place, the weapons. I leave all to your
M. Langis could not refrain from smiling. "Ah! you at last acknowledge
that your fainting-fit was comedy?" he rejoined.
"Acknowledge on your part," replied Samuel, "that you insult persons
when you believe that they are not in a state to hear you. Your
courage likes to take the safe side."
"Be reasonable," replied Camille. "I placed myself at Count Larinski's
disposal: you cannot require me to fight with a Samuel Brohl!"
Samuel sprang to his feet; with fierce bearing and head erect he
advanced to the young man, who awaited him unflinchingly, and whose
resolute manner awed him. He cast upon him a sinister look, turned,
and reseated himself, bit his lips until the blood came; then said in
a placid voice:
"Will you do me the favour of telling me, monsieur, to what I owe the
honour of this visit?"
"I came to demand of you a portrait that Mlle. Moriaz is desirous of
"If I refuse to give it up, you will doubtless appeal to my delicacy?"
"Do you doubt it?" ironically replied Camille.
"That proves, monsieur, that you still believe in Count Larinski; that
it is to him you speak at this moment?"
"You deceive yourself. I came to see Samuel Brohl, who is a business-
man, and it is a commercial transaction that I intend to hold with
him." And drawing from his pocket a porte-monnaie, he added: "You see
I do not come empty-handed."
Samuel settled himself in his arm-chair. Half closing his eyes, he
watched M. Langis through his eye-lashes. A change passed over his
features; his nose became more crooked, and his chin more pointed; he
no longer resembled a lion, he was a fox. His lips wore the sugared
smile of a usurer, one who lays snares for the sons of wealthy
families, and who scents out every favourable case. If at this moment
Jeremiah Brohl had seen him from the other world, he would have
recognised his own flesh and blood.
He said at last to Camille: "You are a man of understanding, monsieur;
I am ready to listen to you."
"I am very glad of it, and, to speak frankly, I had no doubts about
it. I knew you to be very intelligent, very much disposed to make the
best of an unpleasant conjuncture."
"Ah! spare my modesty. I thank you for your excellent opinion of me; I
should warn you that I am accused of being greedy after gain. You will
leave some of the feathers from your wings between my fingers."
For a reply M. Langis significantly patted the porte-monnaie which he
held in his hand, and which was literally stuffed with bank-notes.
Immediately Samuel took from a locked drawer a casket, and proceeded
to open it.
"This is a very precious gem," he said. "The medallion is gold, and
the work on the miniature is exquisite. It is a master-piece--the
colour equals the design. The mouth is marvellously rendered. Mengs or
Liotard could not have done better. At what do you value this work of
"You are more of a connoisseur than I. I will leave it to your own
"I will let you have the trinket for five thousand francs; it is
Camille began to draw out the five thousand francs from his porte-
monnaie. "How prompt you are!" remarked Samuel. "The portrait has not
only a value as a work of art; I am sure you attach a sentimental
value to it, for I suspect you of being head and ears in love with the
"I find you too greedy," replied Camille, casting on him a crushing
"Do not be angry. I am accustomed to exercise methodical precision in
business affairs. My father always sold at a fixed price, and I, too,
never lower my charges. You will readily understand that what is worth
five thousand francs to a friend is worth double to a lover. This gem
is worth ten thousand francs. You can take it or leave it."
"I will take it," replied M. Langis.
"Since we agree," continued Samuel, "I possess still other articles
which might suit you."
"Why, do you think of selling me your clothing?"
"Let us come to an understanding. I have other articles of the same
And he brought from a closet the red hood, which he spread out on the
"Here is an article of clothing--to use your own words--that may be of
interest to you. Its colour is beautiful; if you saw it in the
sunshine, it would dazzle you. I grant that the stuff is common--it is
very ordinary cashmere--but if you deign to examine it closely, you
will be struck by the peculiar perfume that it exhales. The Italians
call it '/l'odor femminino/.' "
"And what is your rate of charge for the '/odor femminino/?' "
"I will be moderate. I will let you have this article and its perfume
for five thousand francs. It is actually giving it away."
"Assuredly. We will say ten and five--that makes fifteen thousand."
"One moment. You can pay for all together. I have other things to
offer you. One would say that the floor burned your feet, and that you
could not endure being in this room."
"I allow that I long to leave this--what shall I say?--this shop,
lair, or den."
"You are young, monsieur; it never does to hurry; haste causes us acts
of forgetfulness that we afterwards regret. You would be sorry not to
take away with you these two scraps of paper."
At these words he drew from his note-book two letters, which he
"Is there much more?" demanded Camille. "I fear that I shall become
short of funds, and be obliged to go back for more."
"Ah! these two letters, I will not part with them for a trifle, the
second especially. It is only twelve lines in length; but what pretty
English handwriting! Only see! and the style is loving and tender. I
will add that it is signed. Ah! monsieur, Mlle. Moriaz will be charmed
to see these scrawls again. Under what obligations she will be to you!
You will make the most of it; you will tell her that you wrested them
from me, your dagger at my throat--that you terrified me. With what a
gracious smile she will reward your heroism! According to my opinion,
that smile is as well worth ten thousand francs as the medallion--the
two gems are of equal value."
"If you want more, it makes no difference."
"No, monsieur; I have told you I have only one price."
"At this rate, it is twenty-five thousand francs that I owe you. You
have nothing more to sell me?"
"Alas! that is all."
"Will you swear it?"
"What, monsieur! you admit, then, that Samuel Brohl has a word of
honour--that when he has sworn, he can be believed?"
"You are right; I am still very young."
"That is all, then, I swear to you," affirmed Samuel, sighing. "My
shop is poorly stocked; I had begun laying in a supply, but an
unfortunate accident deranged my little business."
"Bah! be consoled," replied M. Langis; "you will find another
opportunity; a genius of such lofty flights as yours never is at a
loss. You have been unfortunate; some day Fortune will compensate you
for the wrongs she has done you, and the world will accord justice to
your fine talents."
Speaking thus, he laid on the table twenty-five notes of a thousand
francs each. He counted them; Samuel counted them after him, and at
once delivered to him the medallion, the hood, and the two letters.
Camille rose to leave. "Monsieur Brohl," he said, "from the first day
I saw you, I formed the highest opinion of your character. The reality
surpasses my expectations. I am charmed to have made your
acquaintance, and I venture to hope that you are not sorry to have
made mine. However, I shall not say, /au revoir/."
"Who knows?" replied Samuel, suddenly changing his countenance and
attitude. And he added, "If you are fond of being astonished,
monsieur, will you remain still another instant in this den?"
He rolled and twisted the twenty-five one-thousand-franc notes into
lamp-lighters; then, with a grand gesture, /a la Poniatowski/, he
approached the candle, held them in the flame until they blazed, and
then threw them on the hearth, where they were soon consumed.
Turning towards M. Langis, he cried, "Will you now do me the honour of
fighting with me?"
"After such a noble act as that, I can refuse you nothing," returned
Camille. "I will do you that signal honour."
"Just what I desire," replied Samuel. "I am the offended; I have the
choice of arms." And, in showing M. Langis out, he said, "I will not
conceal from you that I have frequented the shooting-galleries, and
that I am a first-class pistol-shot."
Camille bowed and went out.
The next day, in a lucid interval, Mlle. Moriaz saw at the foot of her
bed a medallion laid on a red hood. From that moment the physician
announced an improvement in her symptoms.
Six days after these events, Samuel Brohl, having passed through Namur
and Liege without stopping at either place, arrived by rail at Aix-la-
Chapelle. He went directly to the Hotel Royal, close to the railroad-
station; he ordered a hearty dinner to be served him, which he washed
down with foaming champagne. He had an excellent appetite; his soul
kept holiday; his heart was expanded, inflated with joy, and his brain
intoxicated. He had revenged himself; he had meted out justice to that
insolent fellow, his rival. Mlle. Moriaz did not belong to Samuel
Brohl, but she never would belong to Camille Langis. Near the Franco-
Belgian frontier, on the verge of a forest, a man had been shot in the
breast; Samuel Brohl had seen him fall; and some one had cried, "He is
dead!" It is asserted that Aix-la-Chapelle is a very dull city, that
the very dogs suffer so sadly from ennui that they piteously beg
passers-by to kick them, with a view to having a little excitement.
Samuel never felt one moment's ennui during the evening that he spent
in Charlemagne's city. He had constantly in mind a certain spot in a
forest, and a man falling; and he experienced a thrill of delight.
After the champagne, he drank punch, an after that he slept like a
dormouse; unfortunately, sleep dissipated his exhilaration, and when
he awoke his gaiety had left him. He had the fatal custom of
reflecting; his reflections saddened him; he was revenged, but what
then? He thought for a long while of Mlle. Moriaz; he gazed with
melancholy eye at his two hands, which had allowed her and good
fortune to elude their grasp.
He recited in a low voice some German verses, signifying:
"I have resolved to bury my songs and my dreams; bring me a large
coffin. Why is this coffin so heavy? Because in it with my dreams I
have laid away my love and my sorrows."
When he had recited these verses Samuel felt sadder than before, and
he cursed the poets. "They did me great harm," he said, bitterly.
"Without them I had spent days interwoven with gold and silk. My
future was secure: it was they who gave me a distaste for my position.
I believed in them; I was the dupe of their hollow declamation; they
taught me thoughtless contempt, and they gave me the sickly ambition
to play the silly part of a man of fine sentiments. I despised the
mud. Where am I now?"
He had formed the project of going to Holland and of embarking thence
for America. What would he do in the United States? He did not know
yet. He passed in review all the professions that at all suited him;
they all required an outlay for first expenses. Thanks to God and to
M. Guldenthal, whose loan was in the greatest danger, he was not
destitute of all supplies. But a week previous he had held into the
flames and burned twenty-five one-thousand-franc bills of the Bank of
France. He felt some remorse for the act; he could not help thinking
that a revenge that cost twenty-five thousand francs was an article of
luxury of which poor devils should deprive themselves. In thinking
over this adventure, it seemed to him that it was another than himself
who had burned those bills, or at least that he had mechanically
executed this /auto-da-fe/ through a sort of thoughtless impulse, like
a puppet moved by an invisible string. Suddenly the phantom with whom
he had had frequent conversations appeared, and there was a sneer on
its lips. Samuel addressed it once more--this was to be the last time;
"Imbecile! You are my evil genius. It was you who caused me to commit
this extravagance. You yourself lighted the candle, you put the bills
into my hands, you guided my arm, extended it, held it above the fatal
flame. This act of supreme heroism was your work; it is not I, it is
you, who paid so dearly for the pleasure of astonishing one who
wantonly insulted me, and of killing him. Cursed forever be the day
when I assumed your name, and when I conceived the foolish notion of
becoming your second self! I made myself a Pole: did Poland ever have
the least idea of government? You of all men were the most incapable
of making your way; I aped a poor model indeed. Abel Larinski, I break
off all connection with you; I wind up the affairs of our firm, I put
the key under the door, or drop it down the well. O my great Pole! I
return to you your title, your name, and with your name all that you
gave me--your pride, your pretensions, your dangerous delicacy, your
attitudes, your sentimental grimaces, and your waving plume."
It was thus that Samuel Brohl took a decisive farewell of Count Abel
Larinski, who might henceforth rest quietly in his grave; there was no
further danger of a dead man being compromised by a living one. What
name did Samuel Brohl mean now to assume? Out of spite to his destiny,
he chose for the time the humblest of all; he decided to call himself
Kicks, which was his mother's name.
His melancholy would have known no bounds, had he suspected that
Camille Langis was still in the world. Camille Langis for two weeks
lay between life and death, but the ball had finally been successfully
extracted. Mme. de Lorcy hastened to Mons and nursed him like a
mother; she had the joy of bringing him back alive to Paris.
Care was taken that no mention of the duel should be made to Mlle.
Moriaz, and not a word concerning it reached her; her condition for a
long time caused the gravest anxiety. After she became convalescent
she remained sunk in a gloomy, taciturn sadness. She never made the
least allusion to what had passed, and would not permit any one to
speak of it to her. She had been deceived, and a mortification,
mingled with dread, was the result of her mistake. It seemed to her
that nothing remained in life for her but remembrance and silence.
Towards the end of November, M. Moriaz proposed to her that they
should return to Paris. She expressed her desire not to leave
Cormeilles--to pass the winter in solitude; the human face terrified
her. M. Moriaz tried to represent to her that she was unreasonable.
"Will you wear eternal mourning for a stranger?" he asked; "for, in
reality, the man that you loved you never saw. Ah! /mon Dieu/, you
deceived, you deluded yourself. Is there, I will not say a single
woman, but a single member of the Institute, who has not once been
grossly imposed on? It is through the means of failures in experiments
that science progresses."
And he rose to still higher considerations; he endeavoured to prove to
her that, if it is bad to have erred, an excessive fear of erring is a
still worse evil, because it is better to lose one's way than not to
walk at all.
When he had finished his harangue, she said, shaking her head, "I have
no longer faith in any one."
"What! not even in the brave fellow to whom you owe the recovery of
your portrait and your letters?"
"Of whom do you speak?" she exclaimed.
Then he declared to her how M. Langis had effected the descent into
the den, without telling her what had resulted therefrom.
"Ah! that was kind, very kind," she said. "I never doubted that
Camille was a true friend."
"A friend? Are you very sure that it is only friendship that he feels
Whereupon M. Moriaz told her all the rest. She grew pensive and sank
into a reverie. Suddenly the door of the /salon/ opened, and Camille
entered. After inquiring after her health, he informed her that in
consequence of a cold he, too, had been sick; and, as he was now free
from business engagements, his physician was sending him to pass the
winter in Sorrento.
She replied: "That is a journey that I would like to make. Will you
take me with you?"
She gazed fixedly at him; there was everything in her gaze. He bent
his knee before her, and for some moments they remained hand-in-hand,
and eye to eye. In the midst of this, Mlle. Moiseney appeared, who, at
sight of this /tableau vivant/, stood perfectly confounded.
"You are very much astonished, mademoiselle," said M. Moriaz to her.
"Not so much as you fancy, monsieur," replied she, recovering herself.
"I did not dare to say it, but in my heart I always believed, always
thought-- Yes, I always was sure that it would end thus."
"God bless Pope Joan!" he cried; "I shall cease to correct her."
We have failed to learn what Samuel Brohl is doing in America. In
waiting for something better, has he become an humble teacher? has he
attempted a new matrimonial enterprise? has he become a reporter of
the /New York Herald/, or a politician in one of the Northern States,
or a carpet-bagger in South Carolina? does he dream of being some day
President of the glorious republic with the starry banner?
Up to the present time, no American journal has devoted the shortest
paragraph to him. Adventurers are beings who constantly vanish and
reappear; they belong to the family of divers; but, after many
plunges, they always end by some catastrophe. The wave supports the
drowning man an instant, then bears him away and drags him down to the
depths of the briny abyss; there is heard a splash, a ripple, a hoarse
cry, followed by a smothered groan, and Samuel Brohl is no more! For
some days the question is agitated whether his real name is Brohl,
Kicks, or Larinski; soon something else is talked about, and his
memory becomes a prey to eternal silence.
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