"It's ending in a poor man's kitchen, Alida. cardano kurs dollar chart It was rather rough to bring you in here first, but the parlor is cold and comfortless.
"No," he replied, "not yet. There's something the matter with the chimney," and he hastenedbitcoin lightning network coin up to the attic room, removed the clog from the flue, put on the cover again, and threw open the window. Returning, he locked the door of the room which Mrs. Mumpson had occupied and came downstairs. "I must get a ladder and examine the chimney," he said as he passed."Oh, my dear Mr. Holcroft!" the widow began.
"Can't talk with you yet," and he hastened on."As soon as he's sure the house is safe, Jane, all will be well."But the girl had grown hopeless and cynical. She had not penetrated his scheme to restore her mother to health, but understood the man well enough to be sure that her mother's hopes would end as they had in the past. She sat down apathetically on the trunk to see what would happen next.After a brief inspection Holcroft came down from the roof and said, "The chimney will have to be repaired," which was true enough and equally so of other parts of the dwelling. The fortunes of the owner were reflected in the appearance of the building.If it were a possible thing Holcroft wished to carry out his ruse undetected, and he hastened upstairs again, ostensibly to see that all danger had passed, but in reality to prepare his mind for an intensely disagreeable interview. "I'd rather face a mob of men than that one idiotic woman," he muttered. "I could calculate the actions of a setting hen with her head cut off better than I can this widow's. But there's no help for it," and he came down looking very resolute. "I've let the fire in my stove go out, and there's no more danger," he said quietly, as he sat down on the porch opposite Mrs. Mumpson.
"Oh-h," she exclaimed, with a long breath of relief, "we've saved the dwelling. What would we have done if it had burned down! We would have been homeless.""That may be my condition soon, as it is," he said coldly. "I am very glad, Mrs. Mumpson, that you are so much better. As Jane told you, I suppose, I will pay you the sum I agreed to give you for three months' service--"We may observe the soundness of the Professor's judgment when he used his foot, with such economy of effort, to put Snacklit in his appropriate place.
As to what did happen to Professor Blinkwell, which exemplified the familiar proverb that the pitcher which goes often to the well will get broken at last - that is another story, and must be told at another time.But it may be recorded here that both Burfoot and Wilkes were convicted and duly hanged. Wilkes, in a last effort to dodge the rope, did tell his solicitors of the manner of Snacklit's end, which those gentlemen communicated to the police, who, without considering Wilkes to be a mirror of exact truth, were inclined to credit it, and the promotion of Inspector Dunchurch, which shortly followed, may have been partly due to this confirmation of the theory to which he had held so stubbornly. But it was decided that it would be impossible to prosecute Professor Blinkwell on the unsupported evidence of a convicted murderer, and Wilkes' anticipation that he would be kept alive to give that testimony proved to be a mistake.Irene gave evidence, which the Press treated with that voluntary discretion which is the usual consequence of a word from Whitehall or Downing Street, and that she was the daughter of the American Ambassador was not generally known. . . . The Press of the United States, under banner headlines, had more to say; but it was fortunately of the right kind.Mr. Thurlow, outlining these future events with considerable accuracy in his astute political mind, was feeling content with the world and with those around him. He would have liked to have continued the conversation after coffee was served. But he was a discreet man, and one who knew when silence or withdrawal are positive rather than negative actions. He said that he had matters of urgency with which to deal in his own room.
Irene and her cousin were left alone; and it is obvious that there is no means of knowing what took place afterwards, beyond disclosures which either of them made, which were not of a detailed kind. But much may be inferred from an announcement in The Times which Myra read at breakfast only two mornings later."A marriage has been arranged - - "
She laid down the paper, looked at her uncle, started to speak, and checked herself. Her rather heavy features resumed their usual immobility. But it cannot be recorded that she looked pleased.As to Professor Blinkwell, he took no notice at all. His mind had strayed erratically to the moment when he had struck a blow from behind at a man's neck hard enough to make silence certain, and from such an angle that there would be little risk of any bloodstain resulting upon a dinner-jacket which it would have been a pity to spoil.THE ENDChapter 1
Towards the close of the last century the Baron de Beaurepaire livedin the chateau of that name in Brittany. His family was ofprodigious antiquity; seven successive barons had already flourishedon this spot when a younger son of the house accompanied hisneighbor the Duke of Normandy in his descent on England, and wasrewarded by a grant of English land, on which he dug a mote andbuilt a chateau, and called it Beaurepaire (the worthy Saxons turnedthis into Borreper without delay). Since that day more than twentygentlemen of the same lineage had held in turn the original chateauand lands, and handed them down to their present lord.Thus rooted in his native Brittany, Henri Lionel Marie St. Quentinde Beaurepaire was as fortunate as any man can be pronounced beforehe dies. He had health, rank, a good income, a fair domain, agoodly house, a loving wife, and two lovely young daughters, allveneration and affection. Two months every year he visited theFaubourg St. Germain and the Court. At both every gentleman andevery lacquey knew his name, and his face: his return to Brittanyafter this short absence was celebrated by a rustic fete.Above all, Monsieur de Beaurepaire possessed that treasure oftreasures, content. He hunted no heart-burns. Ambition did nottempt him; why should he listen to long speeches, and court theunworthy, and descend to intrigue, for so precarious and equivocal aprize as a place in the Government, when he could be De Beaurepairewithout trouble or loss of self-respect? Social ambition could getlittle hold of him; let parvenus give balls half in doors, half out,and light two thousand lamps, and waste their substance battling andmanoeuvring for fashionable distinction; he had nothing to gain bysuch foolery, nothing to lose by modest living; he was the twenty-ninth Baron of Beaurepaire. So wise, so proud, so little vain, sostrong in health and wealth and honor, one would have said nothingless than an earthquake could shake this gentleman and his house.Yet both were shaken, though rooted by centuries to the soil; and byno vulgar earthquake.
For years France had bowed in silence beneath two galling burdens--aselfish and corrupt monarchy, and a multitudinous, privileged, lazy,and oppressive aristocracy, by whom the peasant was handled like aRussian serf. [Said peasant is now the principal proprietor of thesoil.]The lower orders rose upon their oppressors, and soon showedthemselves far blacker specimens of the same breed. Law, religion,humanity, and common sense, hid their faces; innocent blood flowedin a stream, and terror reigned. To Monsieur de Beaurepaire theserepublicans--murderers of women, children, and kings--seemed themost horrible monsters nature had ever produced; he put on black,and retired from society; he felled timber, and raised large sums ofmoney upon his estate. And one day he mounted his charger, anddisappeared from the chateau.
Three months after this, a cavalier, dusty and pale, rode into thecourtyard of Beaurepaire, and asked to see the baroness. She cameto him; he hung his head and held her out a letter.It contained a few sad words from Monsieur de Laroche-jaquelin. Thebaron had just fallen in La Vendee, fighting for the Crown.
From that hour till her death the baroness wore black.The mourner would have been arrested, and perhaps beheaded, but fora friend, the last in the world on whom the family reckoned for anysolid aid. Dr. Aubertin had lived in the chateau twenty years. Hewas a man of science, and did not care a button for money; so he hadretired from the practice of medicine, and pursued his researches atease under the baron's roof. They all loved him, and laughed at hisoccasional reveries, in the days of prosperity; and now, in onegreat crisis, the protege became the protector, to their astonishmentand his own. But it was an age of ups and downs. This amiabletheorist was one of the oldest verbal republicans in Europe. Andwhy not? In theory a republic is the perfect form of government:it is merely in practice that it is impossible; it is only upongoing off paper into reality, and trying actually to self-governlimited nations, after heating them white hot with the fire ofpolitics and the bellows of bombast--that the thing resolvesitself into bloodshed silvered with moonshine.Dr. Aubertin had for years talked and written speculativerepublicanism. So they applied to him whether the baroness sharedher husband's opinions, and he boldly assured them she did not; headded, "She is a pupil of mine." On this audacious statement theycontented themselves with laying a heavy fine on the lands ofBeaurepaire.Assignats were abundant, but good mercantile paper, a notoriouscoward, had made itself wings and fled, and specie was creeping intostrong boxes like a startled rabbit into its hole. The fine waspaid; but Beaurepaire had to be heavily mortgaged, and the loan borea high rate of interest. This, with the baron's previous mortgages,swamped the estate.The baroness sold her carriage and horses, and she and her daughtersprepared to deny themselves all but the bare necessaries of life,and pay off their debts if possible. On this their dependants fellaway from them; their fair-weather friends came no longer near them;and many a flush of indignation crossed their brows, and many anaching pang their hearts, as adversity revealed the baseness andinconstancy of common people high or low.
When the other servants had retired with their wages, one Jacintharemained behind, and begged permission to speak to the baroness."What would you with me, my child?" asked that lady, with an accentin which a shade of surprise mingled with great politeness.
"Forgive me, madame," began Jacintha, with a formal courtesy; "buthow can I leave you, and Mademoiselle Josephine, and MademoiselleRose? I was born at Beaurepaire; my mother died in the chateau: myfather died in the village; but he had meat every day from thebaron's own table, and fuel from the baron's wood, and died blessingthe house of Beaurepaire. I CANNOT go. The others are gone becauseprosperity is here no longer. Let it be so; I will stay till thesun shines again upon the chateau, and then you shall send me awayif you are bent on it; but not now, my ladies--oh, not now! Oh! oh!oh!" And the warm-hearted girl burst out sobbing ungracefully.
"My child," said the baroness, "these sentiments touch me, and honoryou. But retire, if you please, while I consult my daughters."Jacintha cut her sobs dead short, and retreated with a formalreverence.The consultation consisted of the baroness opening her arms, andboth her daughters embracing her at once. Proud as they were, theywept with joy at having made one friend amongst all their servants.
Jacintha stayed.As months rolled on, Rose de Beaurepaire recovered her naturalgayety in spite of bereavement and poverty; so strong are youth, andhealth, and temperament. But her elder sister had a grief all herown: Captain Dujardin, a gallant young officer, well-born, and hisown master, had courted her with her parents' consent; and, evenwhen the baron began to look coldly on the soldier of the Republic,young Dujardin, though too proud to encounter the baron's irony andlooks of scorn, would not yield love to pique. He came no more tothe chateau, but he would wait hours and hours on the path to thelittle oratory in the park, on the bare chance of a passing word oreven a kind look from Josephine. So much devotion gradually won aheart which in happier times she had been half encouraged to givehim; and, when he left her on a military service of uncommon danger,the woman's reserve melted, and, in that moment of mutual grief andpassion, she vowed she loved him better than all the world.Letters from the camp breathing a devotion little short of worshipfed her attachment; and more than one public mention of his name andservices made her proud as well as fond of the fiery young soldier.Still she did not open her heart to her parents. The baron, aliveat that time, was exasperated against the Republic, and all whoserved it; and, as for the baroness, she was of the old school: apassionate love in a lady's heart before marriage was contrary toher notions of etiquette. Josephine loved Rose very tenderly; butshrank with modest delicacy from making her a confidante offeelings, the bare relation of which leaves the female hearer achild no longer.
So she hid her heart, and delicious first love nestled deep in hernature, and thrilled in every secret vein and fibre.They had parted two years, and he had joined the army of thePyrenees about one month, when suddenly all correspondence ceased onhis part.
Restless anxiety rose into terror as this silence continued; andstarting and trembling at every sound, and edging to the window atevery footstep, Josephine expected hourly the tidings of her lover'sdeath.Months rolled on in silence.
Then a new torture came. He must not be dead but unfaithful. Atthis all the pride of her race was fired in her.The struggle between love and ire was almost too much for nature:
violently gay and moody by turns she alarmed both her mother and thegood Dr. Aubertin. The latter was not, I think, quite withoutsuspicion of the truth; however, he simply prescribed change of airand place; she must go to Frejus, a watering-place distant aboutfive leagues. Mademoiselle de Beaurepaire yielded a languid assent.To her all places were alike.But when they returned from Frejus a change had taken place. Rosehad extracted her sister's secret, and was a changed girl. Pity,and the keen sense of Josephine's wrong, had raised her sisterlylove to a passion. The great-hearted girl hovered about her lovely,suffering sister like an angel, and paid her the tender attentionsof a devoted lover, and hated Camille Dujardin with all her heart:hated him all the more that she saw Josephine shrink even from herwhenever she inveighed against him.
At last Rose heard some news of the truant lover. The fact is, thisyoung lady was as intelligent as she was inexperienced; and she hadasked Jacintha to tell Dard to talk to every soldier that passedthrough the village, and ask him if he knew anything about CaptainDujardin of the 17th regiment. Dard cross-examined about a hundredinvalided warriors, who did not even recognize the captain's name;but at last, by extraordinary luck, he actually did fall in withtwo, who told him strange news about Captain Dujardin. And so thenDard told Jacintha; and Jacintha soon had the men into the kitchenand told Rose. Rose ran to tell Josephine; but stopped in thepassage, and turned suddenly very cold. Her courage failed her; shefeared Josephine would not take the news as she ought; and perhapswould not love her so well if SHE told her; so she thought toherself she would let the soldiers tell their own tale. She wentinto the room where Josephine was reading to the baroness and Dr.Aubertin; she sat quietly down; but at the first opportunity madeJosephine one of those imperceptible signals which women, and aboveall, sisters, have reduced to so subtle a system. This done, shewent carelessly out: and Josephine in due course followed her, andfound her at the door.
"What is it?" said Josephine, earnestly."Have you courage?" was Rose's reply.
"He is dead?" said Josephine, turning pale as ashes."No, no;" said Rose hastily; "he is alive. But you will need allyour courage.""Since he lives I fear nothing," said Josephine; and stood there andquivered from head to foot. Rose, with pitying looks, took her bythe hand and drew her in silence towards the kitchen.