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tween England and France, a fate of an exceedingly ignominious nature, owing to a wretchedly mistaken idea on the part of a blundering British officer, that his apparent fondness for the art of war was less with the object to instruct himself than that of imparting his experience to others, which, to say the least of it, was taking a very illiberal view of the

pursuits of philanthropy.

Be this as it may, De Chenevis ever afterwards manifested a decided preference for the diplomacy which exposed him to perils of a much less exalted nature, and in this capacity he rendered himself very

useful to several successive administrations. His career, however, was not all sunshine, for he was unfortunate in the bestowal of his friendships ; those whom he loved and honoured most were invariably cut off in the most sudden manner and, such is the ingratitude of governments, even the society which he most affected was sure, sooner or later, to offer a holocaust to the alleged exigencies of the time. But this, he reflected, was the inevitable fate of all who cast their bread on the waters of political life, and having chosen his métier, he steadfastly refused to abandon it. For a long series of years he continued then in this course, but whether it was that eventually his zeal outran his discretion, and that the minister thought his talents too precious to be devoted to more than one cause at a time, whether he had drawn down upon himself the resentment of some erring man who chose to attribute his misfortunes to the agency of the marquis, or whether he went off the stage in an accidental way, no one, not even his widow, ever exactly knew; the only thing positively ascertained was, that they picked him up one day from the Seine, and that greater publicity was given to his remains than he had ever indulged in during his life, for he was exposed for three whole days at the Morgue before any of his former acquaintances recognised him. He was not buried in Père la Chaise, or if that cemetery do contain his bones, the spot where they lie attracts the attention of no traveller's wonder at the gorgeousness of the monument erected above them. His path was hidden from men's eyes while he lived, and had he thought of dictating his own epitaph, the sole inscription on his tomb would have been, “SILENCE.”

Conformably to the retired habits of his life, the heralds refrained from proclaiming his titles at his funeral, and even the undertakers were stinted in the accustomed largesse,” for, to tell the truth, the marquis died extremely poor ; so poor, indeed, that his bereaved relict found she had little to support herself upon, beyond the accident of her rank, -an accident which, however, may always in Paris be turned to a certain account. There are countries in which nobility without wealth is a certain clog on the possessor, but the Marquise de Chenevis did not believe this to be the case, nor did she find it so. Neither had her defunct husband sustained any disadvantage by the free adoption of a title, to which (feudal rights have been so disturbed in France since the first revolution) he might have experienced some difficulty in establishing his claim, had he not preferred his own assertion to the rights which are usually conferred by mouldy parchments and worm-eaten registers. That he was a lineal De Chenevis, he entertained no doubt, for his father had died on the scaffold (an aristocrat, of course), and, as he said, during the Reign of Terror, though some believed the sad event occurred before the humane invention of the guillotine, and that De Chenevis was a sobriquet which in some way alluded to the manner of his death. Having only his own convictions to rely upon, the marquisate grew, as it were, out of circumstances, and came into being at the Restoration, with many other forgotten titles. He was too single-minded to ask for “ indemnities,” and, not being a Norman, did not get up a law-suit to dispossess any of the returned emigrants of their estates; no one, therefore, interfered with the satisfaction which he derived from the enjoyment of titular nobility. His widow, herself,—as we have hinted,—of a descent so illustrious, that it was involved in obscurity at both ends, cherished the rank which was bequeathed to her, no less out of respect for the departed, than from the expectation that it would be profitable to her in her worldly affairs. She was right, for had she abandoned her position, and called herself plain Madame Chenevis, it is more than probable that her brother, the Comte de Malendroit, would never have left so precious a charge as the heiress of his house to her undivided care.

That fortunate destiny was, however, reserved for the young Countess, and greatly did she profit by it. Nature had endowed her with every grace of person ; the education bestowed upon her by her aunt was to the last degree soignée, and society beheld in Clotilde de Kerfilou one of its most brilliant ornaments. Unwilling prematurely to expose so rich a treasure to the gaze of an eager and (she sighed to think) a mercenary world, the Marquise had purposely secluded her niece until the proper time should arrive for launching her amid the gay crowds of fashionable life. The youthful days of Clotilde were, therefore, spent at one of her enormous châteaux in the midst of those vast forests of Brittany, where the wild boar loves to roam and the hungry wolf to prowl ; her chief amusement, when not cultivating the fine arts at home, being the enjoyment of sylvan sports. It chanced that the Vicomte Hercule de Souillac, who had passed the bathing season of the year, before this brief narrative opens, at the remote watering-place of Le Croisic, near the mouth of the Loire, was returning homeward to Paris, stopping occasionally to sport at the mansions of his numerous friends, and by accident took up

his quarters for a few days in the neighbourhood of Malendroit. Whilst indulging one fine afternoon in that brilliant sport which is so dear to a Frenchman, and which embraces in the same game-bag every thing furred or feathered, from a fox to a tomtit, he had the happiness to render a service of inestimable value to the lovely Clotilde de Kerfilou.

He did it, of course, as all heroes do, at the risk of his own life: “arresting the fiery animal at the brink of a fearful precipice;" or “plunging headlong into the foaming waters, and bearing his precious burden to the shore;” or “transfixing the savage monster with his boarspear at the very moment when, powerless to defend herself, the affrighted girl had fallen into a deep swoon, from which she awoke only to find herself in the arms of her gallant preserver, his left arm in a sling and bathed in the gore of his hideous adversary.” It was something of this kind, --so ran the legend (like all legends, not very precise), which led to an intimacy between the noble De Souillac and the heiress of Malendroit ; and an intimacy once formed, love followed with rapid feet, and in this instance his course was smooth ; no stern parental voice forbade the happiness of the lovers, and it was resolved that the following spring should witness their union.

However gratifying it might have been to the numerous tenantry of the noble houses of De Souillac and Malendroit to witness the nuptial festivities which graced this proud alliance, it was impossible that both should be gratified; had the marriage-rites been celebrated in Brittany,

heart-burning might have ensued in Limousin ; and if, on the other hand, the Vicomte's people had been favoured, the choler of the angry Bretons would probably have been roused. To avoid either alternative, the Marquise de Chenevis decided that the marriage should take place in the capital, and on the 1st of April, 1847, the banns were published for the first time at the Mairie of the Premier Arrondissement de Paris ; and on the following day (which was Sunday) the notice was repeated in the church of Saint Roch, and in the Madeleine, where the fiancés severally resided.

CHAPTER II.

WHICII SHOWS HOW NOBLE AND WEALTHY FAMILIES ARE PRIZED IN

PARIS.

WHATEVER faults may be imputed to the tradespeople of Paris, no one can justly accuse them of neglecting their own interests. Their empressement to secure customers, fascinating as may be the manner in which it is developed, does not arise, as many have believed, from a merely philanthropic or vain-glorious feeling, but is firmly based on the money-making principle, so that when a Russian, an Englishman, or any other wealthy foreigner, is offered the run of their shops with the dulcet intimation of, “Payez quand vous voudrez,” he must clearly understand that the shopkeeper's regard is not for his person, but for “ les beaux yeux de sa cassette." In other words, the Parisian tradesman is not more Quixotic in his generosity than his brethren in London, Brussels, or Viennabut he speculates, perhaps, a little more boldly.

Amongst the customs which have of late years obtained in Paris, there is one of a peculiar kind, which has been very generally followed by the classe boutiquière. It is this :

Having an especial eye to business, wherever it may be done, they not only fee the porters of hotels to inform them when any rich arrival takes place, that they may instantly wait upon them with their wares, but also employ agents, who are perpetually on the qui vive to ascertain at the different mairies, what persons of rank and wealth are affichés to be married, that they may monopolise their custom. On occasions of this nature, orders are profusely given, prices are seldom asked, and the harvest is generally an abundant one. There may sometimes be exceptions to the generosity of bridegrooms : we, for example, remember a case where an acquaintance of ours, about to be married to a very lovely girl, whispered to us, on his way to the altar, that “ he would be (never mind what), “if he gave the clergyman more than a guinea!" (the curmudgeon deserved the fate which afterwards befel him); but these instances are rare, and, for the most part, those who furnish the trousseau, have little cause to complain of niggard instructions.

The month of April opened last year with brighter promise than the fickle season fulfilled. The morning of the 3rd was warm and genial, the air was fresh and invigorating, the sun shone brightly, and many a heart was cheered with hopes which, like the new leaves, have their birth in spring and lie crushed and trodden under foot at the close of autumn.

premier of one of the hotels in the Rue de Rivoli, and on the desirable side, overlooking the gardens of the Tuileries, sat two ladies, enjoying the beauty of the newly-awakened season, and conversing with that joyous animation which denotes that the heart is satisfied, the mind devoid of care, and no cloud upon the innocence or serenity of either ; such, at least, are the inferences usually drawn from this delightful abandon of the spirits. It is the privilege of age, after a life rightly spent, and the heritage of youth before it has come into contact with the misery or the vices of the world! The ages

window on the

At an open

of the ladies differed no less than their personal appearance. The elder of the two had, probably, passed her fiftieth year, the younger could scarcely have reached her twentieth. Both were handsome, but the majestic embonpoint of the matron offered a remarkable contrast to the svelte figure of the girl, and the air of command which characterised the bearing of the first came out in striking relief against the winning graces of manner which shed a halo round every movement and gesture of her sweetly timid companion.

They were richly and fashionably attired, and the most careless observer would at once have recognised them as persons of condition, so unmistakable is the air of those who in their transit through life, are only called upon to exercise the ethereal faculties of mind. That they were opulent as well as of high rank might with equal certainty have been inferred, from the fact of their occupying the apartments

which we have described, for the “Hôtel d'Abd-el-Kader" in which they resided (we name it out of regard for the amiable and conciliating hostess, whose charges are indelibly impressed upon our memory), is decidedly the most expensive of its class, in this, the most expensive quartier of Paris.

But the nobility of soul of the Marquise de Chenevis (the reader has of course anticipated our avowal that she was the elder of the two ladies, and Clotilde de Kerfilou, the younger), had always set her above the paltry consideration of expense, when weighed in the balance with real happiness, even when her worldly circumstances were at the lowest, and it is a fact no less remarkable than true that she was never knownonce—to question a single item in the numerous bills presented to her for payment in the course of her chequered career. The exception (she told the anecdote herself, with pleasing naïveté) occurred on the high road between Lyons and Grenoble, at a small village where one of her horses had cast a shoe, for replacing which a charge was made of a thousand francs. “ Mais, comment donc ! Mille francs un fer de cheval !"

“. Pas precisément, madame,' replied the farrier, je ne demande pas autant pour mon fer; mais, il ne m'est jamais arrivé de ferrer le cheval d'une dame comme votre excellence, et je voudrais garder le souvenir de votre trajet.'

“A la bonne heure,' ai-je repondu, en lui remettant un billet de mille francs ; mais, il me parait, monsieur, que c'est aussi dans votre métier de faire des impressions de voyage!

“That was the only time,” continued the Marquise, “that I ever remember being overcharged, but," she used smilingly to add, " I forgave the man's impudence on account of the compliment he paid me, for I was vain enough then to be pleased with compliments and-sans trancher le mot-good-looking enough to think I deserved them."

It was of course the rarity of the occurrence that caused the Marquise frequently to tell this story, and it so happened that she was often indiscreet enough to mention it in the presence of tradespeople and persons of

-save

that description, who, it need scarcely be said, invariably took advantage of her generous disposition.

When we remember the nature of the event which had that morning taken place at the mairie of the arrondissement in which they dwelt, the subject on which the blushing Clotilde was so gaily discoursing with her aunt may readily be surmised. It appeared to afford that kind relative no less heartfelt satisfaction, for her countenance beamed with smiles as if she already saw in the projects for her niece's marriage the fruition of her dearest hopes, but even we, who are the historians of this true tale, presume only to conjecture that such was the case, the few last words of their conversation alone having reached our ear.

“ And you think then,” exclaimed Clotilde, with pleasure dancing in her

eyes, “ you think they will send to us?''

“Think!” replied the marquise, “I am perfectly sure of it. In our position it was the

very best move we possibly could have made. Rely upon it, it is a perfectly safe—"

“ Hush !” said Clotilde, putting her finger on her lips, there is some one at the door-oh, it's only Lucille. Well, Lucille, what is the matter ?”

“ If you please, Madame la Marquise, there is a person in the antichamber who has brought this card, and wishes to have the honour of being admitted.”

The Marquise took the card from the femme de chambre, shot a glance of singular meaning at Clotilde, and then read aloud:

“MADEMOISELLE LE NORMAND,
“ BOULEVARD DES CAPUCINES, No. 3,

“CORBEILLES DE MARIAGE.”

“Really the good people of Paris divine our intentions almost before they are formed. Do

you know Mademoiselle le Normand's establishment, Lucille ?"

Only by reputation, madame. I believe it is one of the first in Paris."

“Are you quite certain you have not spoken in that quarter of my niece's intended marriage ?". “ Mais, madame, je ne suis

pas capable —” “Well, it is very extraordinary! I wonder how she could have heard of it. At any rate, show the person in."

The femme de chambre disappeared, and presently returned, followed by a very well-dressed lady, who was endowed with no small share of volubility. “She was the dame de confiance of the celebrated modiste, who would herself have had the honour of waiting on the Marquise de Chenevis (a low curtsey), and the Comtesse de Malendroit (another and still lower reverence), had sbe not been suddenly summoned to Neuilly to receive her Majesty's commands respecting a costume for the young Duchesse de Montpensier. But whatever orders mesdames thought proper to give, might be intrusted to her with the fullest reliance of their being, &c., &c.," the usual formula on these occasions. “It is not to be supposed,” continued the voluble emissary, “that ladies of such distinguished rank as yours do not employ milliners of your own,--persons of extremely good taste, no doubt, but as there is only one house in Paris

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