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from all the petty intrigues, the mean spites and jealousies, the odious machinations to which in the course of my profession I was so often made the confidante, to the warm and glowing love of these two children of solitude and poverty.
“ I did not hesitate an instant, but, bidding my old grandmother come with me, I led the way down our steep and narrow stairs, and had passed the porte cochère of our house ere I would venture to communicate my intentions, lest they should meet with opposition on the part of my grandmother, although she had accustomed herself to look less upon me as a sort of world's wonder, and to consider that all I did was just and right.
“ Once in the street, there was not much difficulty in persuading her to grant assistance, and, by the time we had turned the corner of the street, and drawn near the house where Louis resided, and I had told her the strange story of true love of which he was the hero, the dear old creature had become as warm in her admiration of the lovers, and as ardent in her desire to assist them by every means in her power as I had ever been myself.
My first thought was to shield from calumny the good name of Paquerette, so I insisted upon her instantly seeking her own home, as the night was coming on. It required all my influence to make her act as I desired, for she saw no harm in going to see Louis, nor in taking charge of him during his sickness, and she could not understand why she should be talked of for so doing any more than I, who had no love for him further than that to which my friendship for her might have given rise. But the porter of the house where I lived was used to my return from the Opera and Masquerade at all hours of the night, while Françoise would have been half-crazed had Paquerette not made her appearance at the gate before nightfall. By dint of hard persuasion we induced her, at length, to act with the prudence required, and we left her weeping at her own door. We hurried on alone-my aged grandmother and myself—and ere we had reached the young man's dwelling, we had agreed that dear granny should present herself as sick nurse, and I knew that to get her instantly accepted by the poor invalid, I should have but to whisper in his ear the name of Paquerette. It was easy to perceive on our very entrance, how the world stood with the poor student, for the porter scowled as we asked for Monsieur Louis, and said, in a surly tone:
"Well ; so ye have thought fit to come at last to see the stripling; ye
have done well, for if he had died last night, our proprietaire told us to convey him to the Morgue, as he knew of no relations that he had, money pay
his funeral.' “ These words sank into my very soul as I mounted the stair, nor was the bitter impression which they had conveyed at all diminished on our entrance into the young man's chamber. We found him seated, or rather reclining, in a large arm-chair before his easel. There was a candle attached to it above his head, to assist him in his work, and its light fell wan and sickly upon his pale and careworn features. He was handsome—this could not be denied—with a soft fair complexion, and large blue eyes, while a luxuriance of yellow hair, parted on the forehead, and falling in thick ringlets over his shoulders, after the manner of the German students, gave to the expression of his countenance something so meek and gentle, that it seemed almost girlish. I no longer wondered at the thraldom in which he seemed to hold the very soul of Paquerette, but to me
there was something wanting in his countenance. I missed the arched line above the eye, the lofty brow-token of long and proud descent, telling of firm and high resolve and scorn of base thoughts, which was so conspicuous in the actions and face of Paquerette, and there was a sharpness too about the outline of his features, and many deep furrows about the mouth, doubtless, the fruits of anxiety and disappointment, which, at that
had no business there. “ He was attired in a loose dressing-gown of faded brocade, and his shirt and neckcloth were left open at the throat, doubtless, to enable him to breathe more freely, for his respiration was hard and irregular, and every breath appeared to be uttered with pain and difficulty. He started from his seat, evidently in alarm and trepidation, as we entered, and still holding his palette and baguette, advanced a step or two to meet us, but the effort was too much, he again sank upon his chair trembling and exhausted, and had I not assisted him, would have fallen upon the floor. As I drew near, I observed it was still the portrait of Paquerette which occupied his easel, and the blue Mecca pigeon, of which she had spoken, was perched, sleeping with its head beneath its wing upon the back of the chair wherein he was seated. The bird was adorned with a gilt collar round its neck, and a golden chain attached its leg to the arm of the chair; yet there were no curtains to the bed, nor fire on the hearth, but, as I had often been told of the prodigality and recklessness of tomorrow which distinguish the Parisian artist even above all others, and I, therefore, felt no surprise. I found myself compelled to speak first, for poor granny had not yet recovered her breath from mounting so high, and the youth was still panting from the slight effort he had made on rising to meet us.
“• We have been told that you were sick and ill, Monsieur Louis,' I said in as gentle a voice as I could assume; ' and that you needed skilful care and attendance. My grandmother here is a sick-nurse by profession, and would be happy to attend you, and, never fear, she will soon enable you to get abroad again; she has great good fortune with her patients.'
“ • And who told you I was sick and ill?' exclaimed the youth, impatiently, while I could see that if he had not interrupted us before, it was for want of strength ; who told you I needed care and attendance—and who sent you here, I pray, to intrude upon my privacy, with offers of service which I neither seek nor require ?'
It was Paquerette de Fontenay who sent me !' I replied, without appearing to notice his passion ; she it was who told me you were ill, and required nursing and repose. '
“ The effect of these few words was instantaneous. The youth started convulsively, while a deep blush suffused itself over his pallid cheek, as he repeated faintly the name of Paquerette, and, gasping for breath, he rose, and leaned his head against the open casement, for he seemed almost choking with the violence of his emotion.
“ I advanced and laid my hand upon his arm—Come,' said I, courage, Monsieur Louis, I know all; i, too, love Paquerette with all my soul, and she, in return, loves me well enough to confide in me, and she has told me more than even you can know, for you can scarcely dream of the treasure you possess in her affection.'
“ He seemed softened, and said more gently, • But you are wrong in
coming hither, for I have not wherewithal to pay your services. I am poor, very poor.'
“Oh, say not so,' exclaimed my grandmother, starting from the edge of the bed, where she had hitherto been seated, in silence, watching the scene ; 'say not so,' she continued, advancing into the light, and extending her arms with prophetic effect ; say not you are poor, young man, you are rich in all that makes life of value-in all that makes riches themselves valueless. You are rich in youth, in hope, in talent. And, oh, more than this, you are rich beyond all things in the affection of a young and generous heart, whose love could not be bought, and is a pearl beyond all price.' She paused for a moment, and added, though while she gazed steadfastly into his face; it is when you shall have outlived all theseit is when you shall have replaced all the fresh feelings of your youth, all the fond trusting of your love, ay, though it be with wealth, and fame, and honour, it is then that you shall find that you are poor indeed!
“ The youth bowed his head, as if those words had reached his very soul, and, taking the withered hand of my dear grandmother within his own, he pressed it to his lips, as he said, in a faint and trembling voice ; . Thus Paquerette herself will sometimes speak. I am, indeed, a fool to reject all that life has yet to offer. I once had these visions
But, see you, it is the fever which has thus unmanned me, and drawn as it were a dark shade betwixt me and the dreams of glory in which but a short time since I would so love to indulge. But now they are all over, and have given place to disappointment and distrust; and I sometimes think that I were better - far better in my grave !'
“ As he concluded, his head sank upon his bosom, and the tears trickled slowly down his face, while his whole frame trembled with such violence from head to foot that I grew terrified, but granny, taking him gently by the arm, led him to the bed, while I hurried to fetch the doctor according to her bidding.
" It was near midnight when I returned. I found my grandmother much alarmed, for the fever was at its height, and Louis in that state of delirium so frightful to the beholder. Yet, in the midst of it, the name of Paquerette was for ever on his tongue, and now and then snatches of the hymn to the Virgin, which I had heard the lovers sing together, would burst from his parched lips and vibrate like a funeral dirge through the chamber. The doctor arrived soon after I returned. He was a kind and generous young man, himself at that time a poor student struggling against poverty, and if he has since risen to honour and riches, and his name has grown familiar to all, none should envy him who do not feel the
courage to strive as he has striven, and to undergo what he has undergone. He, too, had already felt the world's bitterness and the world's scorn, and the whole of that long night did he sit by the bedside of that raving sufferer, listening with tender interest to the story of Paquerette.
“ The unceasing care and attention of this good young man, aided by the youth and strong constitution of Louis, soon succeeded in getting the better of the fever, but it was when convalescence, with all its train of nervous terrors and of wayward fancies came on, that the horror of his position was felt the most. My grandmother returned home; 1, myself, had to make up for lost time, and for unforeseen expenses; the doctor returned again with redoubled ardour to his profession; and, once more, Louis was left to solitude and poverty. He could not even live from day to day, as he hitherto had done, upon the hope of a few moments' interview with Paquerette, for it would have been madness to have attempted a renewal of his aërial visits; besides which, the doctor had expressly forbidden the risking of any violent emotion, so that a kind message, a few words of love, or a flower, conveyed by me each morning, were all that the poor invalid could expect for some time to come. The spirit of the youth gave way, as is often the case after this kind of nervous fever produced by mental agitation, and left him a prey to a dark and silent melancholy. He would still endeavour to work at his easel, and I would sometimes run all over Paris in my endeavours to find a buyer for his productions, but, whether it was that his talent had decreased, or that his imagination had grown feeble, or, perhaps, that the cloven foot of the demon, which is ever found to press more heavily upon the neck of him who falls and seeks to rise again, weighed with greater force upon his faculties ; I know not the reason, but I met with but slight success, and he was often compelled to refuse himself what was absolutely necessary to his cure. Our resources were, by this time, all exhausted. Even the blue pigeon, sole memento of Paquerette, was sold, in spite of his grief on parting with it. I, myself, disposed of it for half its cost, to a bird-fancier on the Quai de la Megisserie. I dared not tell all this to Paquerette, although, at times, I felt some embarrassment when she asked me for minute details concerning Louis, and about his health and renewed prospects of glory and of happiness.
“At length my visits to the chamber of the poor young man grew every day more rare, for, to speak truly, I grew at last unwilling to go, for I could no longer afford any further relief than a few kind words of encouragement and hope, with such little pecuniary aid as could be spared from
my sick grandmother, who was taken ill about this time with the malady whereof she soon after died.”
ON RECEIVING A PRESENT OF TRINITY AUDIT ALE.
BY C. V. LE GRICE.
One drop I seek not from the sparkling spring
April.-- VOL. LXXXII. NO. CCCXXVIII.
So much is said upon the excitement of a successful revolt, of intellectual and political progress, that many unthinking minds are carried away with the idea that something new, something that will insure greater happiness and greater prosperity to all classes of society has really been discovered. Yet never was the turbulent and democratic capital of France more signally mistaken, than when it holds itself forth, through the organ of its new republic—the National—as being at the head of either intellectual or political civilisation.
The elective franchise of the Parisians dates from the earliest period of their monarchy. At the time when Clovis first fixed his residence in Lutetia, the Franks assembled every year on the Champ de Mars to make laws, or name their king--still, notwithstanding numberless insurrections and several revolutions, France did not possess, up to the Revolution of 1848, nor will it possess now, so free and constitutional a government as that of Great Britain. The extreme to which the same country has now gone in adopting universal suffrage, will, by bringing in as representatives of the people, the uneducated and the prejudiced, tend inevitably to lower the intellect of its metropolis. And the subsidizing of nine hundred, probably for the most part ignorant senators, wili only place a large and incommodious household in the pay and at the bidding of a small executive government.
It is impossible, however, to understand in what this boasted intellect and civilisation consists, and where this long and proudly anticipated progress (“ a progress,” it is triumphantly said, “which would bare advanced with the step of a man in each century, with the systems of yesterday; but which will proceed with the step of a giant in every year of the system of to-day") is to be sought for, without tracing back the movements of the intellectual and revolutionary mind of Paris from its earliest development; and more especially from the time that modern philosophies got mixed up with political ideas and tendencies. Such cannot be, at the present moment, either an uninteresting or an unfruitful task. It will lead to a better appreciation of the actual political condition of Paris, and of its future political prospects, than any consideration of the hastily got up proclamations of a Provisional Government, or the daily accidents produced by the collision of parties and factions. It is the history of the national mind developed in its literary, political, and revolutionary aspects.
The first titular kings of France were, it is well known, shut up by their mayors, after the Oriental system, in their own palaces, till the latter became strong enough themselves to assume the purple. But even then, the first of the regal mayors — Pepin le Bref---referred all matters of importance to those national assemblies, which held that the law is made by the consent of the people, only to be promulgated by the king. But Pepin introduced an element of subordination into these national assemblies, by appointing the clergy as a distinct political order.
Charlemagne introduced schools into France, and, with the assistance of an English monk, the first literary institutions were founded in Paris.