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  Josephine had married Raynal. The marriage was sudden, but no doubtthere was an attachment: he had some reason to believe in suddenattachments. Colonel Dujardin, an old acquaintance, had come backto France woundetron sam flynn actord, and the good doctor had undertaken his cure: thisincident appeared neither strange nor any way important. Whataffected him most deeply was the death of Raynal, his personalfriend and patron. But when his tyrants, as he called the surgeonand his uncle, gave him leave to go home, all feelings wereoverpowered by his great joy at the prospect of seeing Rose. Hewalked over to Beaurepaire, his arm in a sling, his heart beating.

"No matter, use what you like and I'll put the rest in the bank for you and in your name. I was a nice kind of a business partner, wasn'tpolygon coin hangi borsada I? Expecting you to do nearly half the work and then have you say, 'Will you please get me a few plants and seeds?' and then, 'Oh! If you think it's foolish to spend money for such things.' Why, you have as good a right to spend some of the money you help earn as I have. You've shown you'll be sensible in spending it. I don't believe you'll use enough of it. Anyway, it will be yours, as it ought to be.""Very well," she replied, nodding at him with piquant significance, "I'll always have some to lend you."

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"Yes, shouldn't wonder if you were the richest some day. Everything you touch seems to turn out well. I shall be wholly dependent on you hereafter for eggs and an occasional fricassee.""You shall have your share. Yes, I like this notion. It grows on me. I'd like to earn some money to do what I please with. You'll be surprised to see what strange and extravagant tastes I'll develop!""I expect to be perfectly dumfoundered, as Mrs. Mumpson used to say. Since you are so willing to lend, I'll lend you enough to get all you want tomorrow. Make out your list. You can get a good start tomorrow for I was too tired and it was too late for me to gather the eggs tonight. I know, too, that a good many of the hens have stolen their nests of late, and I've been too busy to look for 'em. You may find perfect mines of eggs, but, for mercy's sake! don't climb around in dangerous places. I had such bad luck with chicks last year that I've only set a few hens. You can set few or many now, just as you please."Even as he talked and leisurely finished his supper, his eyes grew heavy with sleep. "What time will you start tomorrow?" she asked."Oh, no matter; long before you are up or ought to be. I'll get myself a cup of coffee. I expect to do my morning work and be back by nine or ten o'clock for I wish to get in some potatoes and other vegetables before Sunday."

"Very well, I'll make out my list and lay it on the table here. Now, why don't you go and sleep at once? You ought, with such an early start in prospect.""Ought I? Well, I never felt more inclined to do my duty. You must own up I have put one good notion into your head?"They entered the chapel, and there they saw something thatthoroughly surprised them: a marble monument to the memory ofRaynal. It leaned at present against the wall below the placeprepared to receive it. The inscription, short, but emphatic, andfull of feeling, told of the battles he had fought in, including thelast fatal skirmish, and his marriage with the heiress ofBeaurepaire; and, in a few soldier-like words, the uprightness,simplicity, and generosity of his character.

They were so touched by this unexpected trait in Camille that theyboth threw their arms round his neck by one impulse. "Am I wrong tobe proud of him?" said Josephine, triumphantly."Well, don't say too much to me," said Camille, looking downconfused. "One tries to be good; but it is very hard--to some ofus--not to you, Josephine; and, after all, it is only the truth thatwe have written on that stone. Poor Raynal! he was my old comrade;he saved me from death, and not a soldier's death--drowning; and hewas a better man than I am, or ever shall be. Now he is dead, I cansay these things. If I had said them when he was alive, it wouldhave been more to my credit."They all three went back towards the house; and on the way Rose toldthem all that had passed between the baroness and her. When shecame to the actual details of that conversation, to the words, andlooks, and tones, Josephine's uneasiness rose to an overpoweringheight; she even admitted that further concealment would be verydifficult."Better tell her than let her find out," said Rose. "We must tellher some day."At last, after a long and agitated discussion, Josephine consented;but Rose must be the one to tell. "So then, you at least will makeyour peace with mamma," argued Josephine, "and let us go in and dothis before our courage fails; besides, it is going to rain, and ithas turned cold. Where have all these clouds come from? An hourago there was not one in the sky."They went, with hesitating steps and guilty looks, to the saloon.Their mother was not there. Here was a reprieve.

Rose had an idea. She would take her to the chapel, and show herthe monument, and that would please her with poor Camille. "Afterthat," said Rose, "I will begin by telling her all the misery youhave both gone through; and, when she pities you, then I will showher it was all my fault your misery ended in a secret marriage."The confederates sat there in a chilly state, waiting for thebaroness. At last, as she did not come, Rose got up to go to her."When the mind is made up, it is no use being cowardly, and puttingoff," said she, firmly. For all that, her cheek had but littlecolor left in it, when she left her chair with this resolve.

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Now as Rose went down the long saloon to carry out their unitedresolve, Jacintha looked in; and, after a hasty glance to see whowas present, she waited till Rose came up to her, and then whipped aletter from under her apron and gave it her."For my mistress," said she, with an air of mystery."Why not take it to her, then?" inquired Rose."I thought you might like to see it first, mademoiselle," saidJacintha, with quiet meaning.

"Is it from the dear doctor?" asked Josephine."La, no, mademoiselle, don't you know the doctor is come home? Why,he has been in the house near an hour. He is with my lady."The doctor proved Jacintha correct by entering the room in personsoon after; on this Rose threw down the letter, and she and thewhole party were instantly occupied in greeting him.When the ladies had embraced him and Camille shaken hands with him,they plied him with a thousand questions. Indeed, he had not halfsatisfied their curiosity, when Rose happened to catch sight of theletter again, and took it up to carry to the baroness. She now, forthe first time, eyed it attentively, and the consequence was sheuttered an exclamation, and took the first opportunity to beckonAubertin.He came to her; and she put the letter into his hand.

He put up his glasses, and eyed it. "Yes!" whispered he, "it isfrom HIM."Josephine and Camille saw something was going on; they joined theother two, with curiosity in their faces.Rose put her hand on a small table near her, and leaned a moment.

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She turned half sick at a letter coming from the dead. Josephinenow came towards her with a face of concern, and asked what was thematter.The reply came from Aubertin. "My poor friends," said he, solemnly,"this is one of those fearful things that you have not seen in yourshort lives, but it has been more than once my lot to witness it.

The ships that carry letters from distant countries vary greatly inspeed, and are subject to detaining accidents. Yes, this is thethird time I have seen a letter come written by a hand known to becold. The baroness is a little excited to-day, I don't know fromwhat cause. With your approbation, Madame Raynal, I will read thisletter before I let her see it.""Read it, if you please.""Shall I read it out?""Certainly. There may be some wish expressed in it; oh, I hopethere is!"Camille, from delicacy, retired to some little distance, and thedoctor read the letter in a low and solemn voice."MY DEAR MOTHER,--I hope all are well at Beaurepaire, as I am, or Ihope soon to be. I received a wound in our last skirmish; not avery severe one; but it put an end to my writing for some time.""Poor fellow! it was his death wound. Why, when was this written?--why," and the doctor paused, and seemed stupefied: "why, my dears,has my memory gone, or"--and again he looked eagerly at the letter--"what was the date of the battle in which he was killed? for thisletter is dated the 15th of May. Is it a dream? no! this waswritten since the date of his death.""No, doctor," said Rose, "you deceive yourself.""Why, what was the date of the Moniteur, then?" asked Aubertin, ingreat agitation."Considerably later than this," said Camille."I don't think so; the journal! where is it?""My mother has it locked up. I'll run.""No, Rose; no one but me. Now, Josephine, do not you go and giveway to hopes that may be delusive. I must see that journaldirectly. I will go to the baroness. I shall excuse her less thanyou would."He was scarcely gone when a cry of horror filled the room, a cry asof madness falling like a thunderbolt on a human mind. It wasJosephine, who up to this had not uttered one word. But now shestood, white as a corpse, in the middle of the room, and wrung herhands. "What have I done? What shall I do? It was the 3d of May.I see it before me in letters of fire; the 3d of May! the 3d ofMay!--and he writes the 15th.""No! no!" cried Camille wildly. "It was long, long after time 3d.""It was the 3d of May," repeated Josephine in a hoarse voice thatnone would have known for hers.Camille ran to her with words of comfort and hope; he did not shareher fears. He remembered about when the Moniteur came, though notthe very day. He threw his arm lovingly round her as if to protecther against these shadowy terrors. Her dilating eyes seemed fixedon something distant in space or time, at some horrible thing comingslowly towards her. She did not see Camille approach her, but themoment she felt him she turned upon him swiftly.

"Do you love me?" still in the hoarse voice that had so little in itof Josephine. "I mean, does one grain of respect or virtue minglein your love for me?""What words are these, my wife?""Then leave Raynal's house upon the instant. You wonder I can be socruel? I wonder too; and that I can see my duty so clear in oneshort moment. But I have lived twenty years since that letter came.Oh! my brain has whirled through a thousand agonies. And I havecome back a thousand times to the same thing; you and I must seeeach other's face no more.""Oh!" cried Rose, "is there no way but this?""Take care," she screamed, wildly, to her and Camille, "I am on theverge of madness; is it for you two to thrust me over the precipice?

Come, now, if you are a man of honor, if you have a spark ofgratitude towards the poor woman who has given you all except herfair name--that she will take to the grave in spite of you all--promise that you will leave Raynal's house this minute if he isalive, and let me die in honor as I have lived.""No, no!" cried Camille, terror-stricken; "it cannot be. Heaven ismerciful, and Heaven sees how happy we are. Be calm! these are idlefears; be calm! I say. For if it is so I will obey you. I willstay; I will go; I will die; I will live; I will obey you.""Swear this to me by the thing you hold most sacred," she almostshrieked."I swear by my love for you," was his touching reply.

Ere they had recovered a miserable composure after this passionateoutburst, all the more terrible as coming from a creature so tenderas Josephine, agitated voices were heard at the door, and thebaroness tottered in, followed by the doctor, who was trying in vainto put some bounds to her emotion and her hopes."Oh, my children! my children!" cried she, trembling violently.

"Here, Rose, my hands shake so; take this key, open the cabinet,there is the Moniteur. What is the date?"The journal was found, and rapidly examined. The date was the 20thof May."There!" cried Camille. "I told you!"The baroness uttered a feeble moan. Her hopes died as suddenly asthey had been born, and she sank drooping into a chair, with abitter sigh.Camille stole a joyful look at Josephine. She was in the sameattitude looking straight before her as at a coming horror.Presently Rose uttered a faint cry, "The battle was BEFORE.""To be sure," cried the doctor. "You forget, it is not the date ofthe paper we want, but of the battle it records. For Heaven's sake,when was the battle?""The 3d of May," said Josephine, in a voice that seemed to come fromthe tomb.

Rose's hands that held the journal fell like a dead weight upon herknees, journal and all. She whispered, "It was the 3d of May.""Ah!" cried the baroness, starting up, "he may yet be alive. Hemust be alive. Heaven is merciful! Heaven would not take my sonfrom me, a poor old woman who has not long to live. There was aletter; where is the letter?""Are we mad, not to read the letter?" said the doctor. "I had it;it has dropped from my old fingers when I went for the journal."A short examination of the room showed the letter lying crumpled upnear the door. Camille gave it to the baroness. She tried to readit, but could not."I am old," said she; "my hand shakes and my eyes are troubled.

This young gentleman will read it to us. His eyes are not dim andtroubled. Something tells me that when I hear this letter, I shallfind out whether my son lives. Why do you not read it to me,Camille?" cried she, almost fiercely.Camille, thus pressed, obeyed mechanically, and began to readRaynal's letter aloud, scarce knowing what he did, but urged anddriven by the baroness.

"MY DEAR MOTHER,--I hope all are well at Beaurepaire, as I am, or Ihope soon to be. I received a wound in our last skirmish; not avery severe one, but it put an end to my writing for some time.""Go on, dear Camille! go on.""The page ends there, madame,"The paper was thin, and Camille, whose hand trembled, had somedifficulty in detaching the leaves from one another. He succeeded,however, at last, and went on reading and writhing."By the way, you must address your next letter to me as ColonelRaynal. I was promoted just before this last affair, but had nottime to tell you; and my wound stopped my writing till now.""There, there!" cried the baroness. "He was Colonel Raynal, andColonel Raynal was not killed."The doctor implored her not to interrupt.

"Go on, Camille. Why do you hesitate? what is the matter? Do forpity's sake go on, sir."Camille cast a look of agony around, and put his hand to his brow,on which large drops of cold perspiration, like a death dew, weregathering; but driven to the stake on all sides, he gasped on ratherthan read, for his eye had gone down the page."A namesake of mine, Commandant Raynal,"--"Ah!""has not been--so fortunate. He"--"Go on! go on!"The wretched man could now scarcely utter Raynal's words; they camefrom him in a choking groan."he was killed, poor fellow! while heading a gallant charge upon theenemy's flank."He ground the letter convulsively in his hand, then it fell allcrumpled on the floor."Bless you, Camille!" cried the baroness, "bless you! bless you! Ihave a son still."She stooped with difficulty, took up the letter, and, kissing itagain and again, fell on her knees, and thanked Heaven aloud beforethem all. Then she rose and went hastily out, and her voice washeard crying very loud, "Jacintha! Jacintha!"The doctor followed in considerable anxiety for the effects of thisviolent joy on so aged a person. Three remained behind, panting andpale like those to whom dead Lazarus burst the tomb, and came forthin a moment, at a word. Then Camille half kneeled, half fell, atJosephine's feet, and, in a voice choked with sobs, bade her disposeof him.

She turned her head away. "Do not speak to me; do not look at me;if we look at one another, we are lost. Go! die at your post, and Iat mine."He bowed his head, and kissed her dress, then rose calm as despair,and white as death, and, with his knees knocking under him, totteredaway like a corpse set moving.He disappeared from the house.

The baroness soon came back, triumphant and gay."I have sent her to bid them ring the bells in the village. Thepoor shall be feasted; all shall share our joy: my son was dead, andlives. Oh, joy! joy! joy!""Mother!" shrieked Josephine.

"Mad woman that I am, I am too boisterous. Help me, Rose! she isgoing to faint; her lips are white."Dr. Aubertin and Rose brought a chair. They forced Josephine intoit. She was not the least faint; yet her body obeyed their handsjust like a dead body. The baroness melted into tears; tearsstreamed from Rose's eyes. Josephine's were dry and stony, andfixed on coming horror. The baroness looked at her with anxiety."Thoughtless old woman! It was too sudden; it is too much for mydear child; too much for me," and she kneeled, and laid her agedhead on her daughter's bosom, saying feebly through her tears, "toomuch joy, too much joy!"Josephine took no notice of her. She sat like one turned to stonelooking far away over her mother's head with rigid eyes fixed on theair and on coming horrors.

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster