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think of it, monsieur, with regret. Our to the château, and looking in vain for Frankish nobility seems to have utterly a symptom of interest on his counteperished under the ravage of that nance; he would merely shake his head dreadful time; there is not a trace of it incredulously, and turn away. I would left, but châteaus here and there, like shout at him-dance before him, all in this one, mere empty shells. They vain. I merely became conscious that were a wonderful race, to judge from a crowd had collected behind us, and record, in spite of their haughtiness; was making unsympathetic remarks. France has ever felt their want; and Then I attempted to flee-and woke up. ever will."
It was not unnatural, therefore, when His words sank into my soul like I did come face to face with him, that flakes of molten iron. My search was I should have been for the moment unrewarded at last, and the reward-I manned. He looked so uncommonly need have expected none other—to look like the phantom of my dream, subhelplessly at the ruins of the Château limely indifferent to everything and Thericourt, and think of its rightful every one near him. I had chosen the possessor as a wretched street artist, an time of day when the thoroughfare was outcast in a strange city, telling me- least frequented, at least so far as erchanically to himself the story of the rand-boys were concerned, and I was downfall of his race. The miracle of the only man within hail, except the his existence faded into insignificance eternal policeman, as I advanced across before the stronger reality of that grey the street to his place. I knelt down roofless building standing out against close to him and said the three words, the fading light. There was the gate- "Gascogne, Serenne, Thericourt.” way-the very gateway in which he He started as if he had been suddenly had played-half-choked with briars. I waked from a deep sleep, and rose pushed my way through them to the slowly to his feet. We stood facing one courtyard—the curé following at my el- another without speaking, and I bow-and walked on to where the net watched, for the first, and doubtless the tles were growing rankest.
last time in my life, the eyes of a man "The fountain stood somewhere gradually lighting up with the fire of a here,” I said dreamily. "He was look- rekindling memory. In uttering those ing out of one of those windows when words I had applied the match, and the it stopped.”
pile was already ablaze. The expresThe curé looked hard at me.
sion of careworn indifference faded "You must excuse these wanderings away, the hard drawn lines round his. on my part," I cried. “These old le mouth relaxed, his frowning forehead gends interest me so much, you know. was smoothed down. I am more obliged to you than I can say A distant clock struck half past somefor this information about it, and I thing, and its chimes brought me back hope you will let me contribute some- to a sense of where I stood, and the thing for the benefit of your poor.” risk I ran of looking ridiculous. It im
He bowed and accepted my alms with mediately occurred to me that this was. much grace.
the golden opportunity to do I
pleased with the man, that was to say If the seeking out of the Château before the whirl of returning memories Thericourt had been a toilsome affair, had subsided. I took him by the arm I felt that the task of announcing my and began to lead him towards the cabsuccess to the street artist would re- rank; he came a few steps, but turned quire infinite tact. His unearthly smile and went back to his picture, which he and strange method of narration had carefully rubbed out. Then he rejoined filled me with a distrust of myself. I me of his own accord. was haunted perpetually, on my way The cabman seemed surprised when back to England, with a waking vision I engaged him to drive the baron and of myself modestly mentioning my visit myself; not unnaturally either, as he
did not know the facts of the case. smiled on and caresserl him; of his pale Seeing this, I said with much presence mother and timid sister, who played of mind:
apart from him with her dolls; of his "The poor fellow is unwell; yes--well faithful friend the steward, who wore -drive me home, 27 Welgrave Street; the livery with the fleur-de-lys on it, a it's nearer than the hospital.”
privilege granted by the king; of the My friend the baron sat silent beside crowd of begging country-folk and the me in the hansom, and I dared not look murmuring peasantry; of the sudden at him, until I had got him safely in- inroad of the rough hideous republican doors. He sank, at my bidding, into an guards, and the general destruction. armchair, and fell fast asleep. It was There was silence after the series of the exhaustion following restored ani- disjointed sentences which the foregomation-mental, however, in this case, ing recountal implies, as if he had told not physical. The week following was all he knew. tantalizing experience for me. I did "Nay," I said, “that is not the end not like to press him for an account of though. You took refuge in the crack his mysterious existence, for fear of en- which the earthquake made in the wall, tirely unhinging his already over- and fell asleep." strained intellect. He would sit mo- “Yes," he replied thoughtfully-"yes; tionless for hours in the armchair, that is so. Yet I do not know which he had occupied after his arrival, than that. I can only say that I came and think, or appear to think. Some to stand on the bank of a pool near the times he walked up and down the room, château; it was early morning, and I murmuring to himself incoherently. knew that I saw the light again after My patience was at last rewarded when years, so many that I could not think one evening he began to question me of them. I was cold because I about my visit to Thericourt. He spoke naked, except for a few rags, and in the same snatchy English as usual, a string round my neck. A little image and I was often obliged to assist him was fastened to the string; it was of by suggesting words, or reducing my gold. They found me wandering there, own replies to simpler language. By and I was taken to a dreadful place, degrees, however, I managed to explain with bare walls, and I had no liberty to him the circumstances of my inter- there. I ran away at last, and an Italview with the curé, and the appearance ian man brought me to this place. He of the château. He accepted all I said, had an organ, and I gathered money and yet I could see that it was a hard for him. When he died, I sat by him struggle with him to believe that I had and starved, and thought of Thericourt. really been there. While I contem- I had forgotten the name, as you know, plated his perplexed look, I remembered so I made a picture of it. There was a that I had brought a relic of the place man who also lived in that room who with me a little fragment of marble made pictures like mine, but in colors. carved with a fleur-de-lys, which I had He took me to a place where I could picked up in the courtyard. I fetched buy them.” it from a desk and handed it to him. “That was some years ago, I supHe caught it out of my hand and pose?" looked it over closely.
"Ten years, perhaps. Well, well, I "Above the fire,” he said, “there were cannot say. I have moved from street those in a row.” He pointed to the to street, and forget the time.” chimney-piece.
hiefly struck by your cosThe ice was entirely broken. tume,' I said. He spoke of his childhood, of his dim He laughed softly. "I know it myself remembrance of his stern father, and now," said he, “but I did not then. I of his priestly tutor, whom he adored; used to see, in some sort of a dream, of the stag-hunt in the forest, and of people that I loved, and I would try in the visit of the king and queen, who vain to make my clothes like theirs."
“Well, I understand that. But how new-old world, and trying to make it did you make your story out. There out. He started, when the servant are words in it your knowledge of spoke to me, as if it concerned him to which now surprises me.”
hear the language again and not under"I ask again and again of any one stand it. Then he gazed at the wa,ls, who would listen to me in the evening, which were papered—they disconcerted or hearing a word I would know it was him; at the floor, which was carpetedthe one I wished for."
he shrugged his shoulders at it. But I suppose that is all I shall ever know the ceiling seemed to pacify him. It about it; the baron has never been able was crossed by beams of chestnut of to remember more, and one cannot ex- various sizes and at irregular intervals, pect additional revelations now. I was and hung with dried herbs. He lay a fool (I know it now) not to put back in his chair and muttered to it further questions at once, but instead gently and confidingly. The maid busto go aside after my crude notions of tled in and out of the room singing, as modernizing him in dress and appear she cleared away our meal. The baron ance. There was little difficulty in ef- took no notice until the song fecting this, except when it came to cut- changed for one beginningting his hair. He sat with his head be
Zadan, Zadan, amiable Zadan. tween his hands and sighed unutterable sighs at the idea of losing it. "They He turned round and gasped out: would not know me at Thericourt,” he "The words are wrong." moaned. Argument, however, pre- She stopped her work and looked at vailed at last.
me inquiringly. A fortnight later we set out for Se- “He says you are singing the wrong renne. The baron behaved like a child words," I said. --an obedient child, perhaps, but noth- “Ah,” she laughed, “and he is right. ing more. He stared and listened.
I It should go : felt a strong desire to set him down
Serenne, Serenne, ma belle Serenne! quickly on the spot to which his earliest remembrances belonged, without garb- Then the baron returned his gaze to ling his mind with strange and irrele- the ceiling, and was satisfied. vant impressions. It seemed to me that "What did she say?" he said to me a he ought to be brought back to the moment later, without stirring. right end and begin where he left off. I repeated the line. Thus I experienced relief at his not "It means-what?" he muttered. asking questions, or becoming excited. "My beautiful Serenne!" As we neared the little wayside railway “That old nurse, the one that opens station from which Serenne is reached, the window for my father's spirit, she I debated how to ensure our entering sings it, while I fall asleep, but a little the village without spoiling my plans. differently. And I see another thing
The château stands on rising ground, she sits at a wheel and winds while she and is visible from the highroad; so sings." wishing to avoid the possibility of ine This was the new shred of memory baron catching sight of his ancestral which the song had kindled in the home from the top of a crazy diligence, baron's brain. It set me cogitating surrounded by the malodorous descend- deeply as to how much more might not ants of his father's peasantry, I be elicited by judicious introduction to gaged a private carriage, and waited old things like it. Another song or two until darkness was setting in, before of the same date, the noise of the dilileaving the railway. As we sat together gence on the stony pavement, the call in the little hostel after our supper, I of the goat-herd in the early morning, watched his face narrowly. His mind there were a thousand sounds which was working at something, groping, so would be identically the same as when to speak, round this dark spot in his he lived and played here hundred
years ago. The sights would come of cause we were just approaching the themselves, too, on the morrow. I saw château, and the baron's pace had him to bed in high hope.
quickened almost to a run. I was up betimes next morning, fear- “Great Heaven!" I cried, "I can't ing that the baron might feel restless, miss this; it's the climax of the whole and rise early. But he slept late, and hing." seemed weary still when he appeared. So saying I ran ahead. The baron After breakfast we went, as my ap- had already passed through the gatepointed plan was, to the curé, to whom way when I overtook him. He I reintroduced myself and explained crouching down in a corner of the overmy desire to show my friend the beau. grown courtyard, and his face was ties of Thericourt. We sallied forth to- buried in his hands. The curé joined gether; the curé talked fast on alien us a minute later, much out of breath. topics, politics mostly-all people who "What is the matter?" said he. "Is live in out-of-the-way places have your friend the baron ill?" strong political notions-while I vouch- “Oh, my good man," I cried in heedsafed monosyllabic replies, and kept a less excitement, “can't you watchful eye on the baron. He walked place ought to belong to him, and he is close beside me, his eyes on the ground rather overcome. Good Heavens! what and his fingers twitching. Once or have I said? No, I don't know why he twice he looked up, but it was only for is upset. Yes, I do. Well — Yes, he a moment; the nervousness appeared to isn't well.” get more and more accentuated, as we “Alas!" the curé said, "I cannot went on; I thought of going back once understand. You speak English and more and putting off the visit to the French mixed together. Do not scruple château for a few days, but the sin of to confide in me, if I can be of help. curiosity overcame me. We went on in As a priest, I am accustomed to this way to the dividing of the road, fidences." half-way up the hill. It is a peculiarly The baron raised himself from his beautiful spot. The tiny valley in crouching attitude, and leant against which Serenne lies was spread out be- the wall; then he began gradually to fore us, a picture of a southern French look about him. village in its antique perfection;
"He has had some kind of fit from marred by a single modern building. walking too fast, I suppose," said the Behind us the slope steepened up to a curé gently. scar on which the dark green of pines "No doubt," I replied, intently watchstood out sharply against the sky. The ing the baron. curé took my arm and pointed out some The curé stepped forward and laid his objects of interest visible beyond the hand on the baron's shoulder. village, where the valley leaves the "Cheer up, my friend," he said; “It is plain. This occupied a fraction of a merely a passing faintness. You will minute, but when we turned again, the recover altogether in another minute. baron was well ahead of us, walking Turn your thoughts away from yourquickly along the narrow lane which self; you are pleased with Thericourt, leads from the highroad to Thericourt. I hope. Ha, ha, I wonder what the
“Come," I said hurriedly to the curé, great baron of Fleuraye-Thericourt "the baron will be out of sight.”
would say, if he foundHe stepped out by my side, without He did not finish his sentence; the making reply, that good curé of “great baron's" son, who had stood durSerenne, but his mind was deep in mying the whole exhortation motionless last remark.
and with downcast eyes, now turned "The baron," he said at last con- and faced him, and said in a low voice, templatively—“the baron. Is your "That is myself!" friend then a baron?"
The curé stepped back and wrung his I did not answer his question, be- hands.
"Oh, what is it-what is it?" he cried. scious pride; “this part of the world is “Your friend you call baron, and he is an interesting one. We are, as I have so terribly affected by the sight of this often said, a volcanic race living in a place. Yes, and he has the golden hair volcanic region. Just now it is the and features of the Fleurayes. I could earth's turn. Lately we have felt it believe he was the very man whose por shake, the first time for many years. trait used to hang in the inn."
Yesterday there was quite sharp “It has passed before me, all my life, shock but no damage, thank God!" in a moment; and it is gone forever- We walked through the gateway, and forever."
found the baron looking hard at the It was the baron who said this; but heap of earth and crumbling stone in the tones were so low and sepulchral the centre of the courtyard. The reathat I doubted for the moment whence son of his intentness became immedithey came. In spite of the almost in- ately apparent; a fountain of water was superable agony of disappointment gushing up among the stones and runwhich was growing over me, I pulled ning away in rivulet toward the myself together, and led the curé aside. western wall.
"It is a long story," I said, "and I "The water of Serenne," said the have spoilt it by my hideous impa- baron, “taste it. It is the half of my tience. at least I think I have. Let us patrimony. And the other half is go back. I asked you to act as our here." guide because I wanted an impartial We followed him to the gateway, witness; I apologize for having brought and there he singled out a place under you here for nothing."
the wall covered with grass. It was Then, in single file and headed by the the hiding place of his father's moneybaron we walked silently back to bags. Serenne.
The water cure of Serenne is becomEight months later, I sat alone with ing better known and appreciated with the curé in the best room of his little every season. The baron rules all, and dwelling. His face wore a thoughtful consults the tastes and fancies of his smile, and he beat his foot on the floor richer clients with excellent judgment. softly.
But the poor are his chief care. In my “So it is settled," said he.
own heart I dwell chiefly on the fact "Settled at last," I replied; "the deeds that it has occurred to no one to queswere signed yesterday afternoon." tion his right to the title of Baron of
“But what will you and the baron do Fleuraye-Thericourt. with the place?"
"It is his alone-not mine. I merely the money-lender. And as for that I don't know what he will do with it, but he seems confident in the fu
From The Contemporary Review. ture."
AFTER THE FAMINE IN MY GARDEN. "Ha, ha! the sanguine baron; where When there was snow on the ground is he now?”
and famine in the garden the birds "Walking up to his château. I have flocked to my food, but the thaw came, promised to follow, and you shall come and not one of them all has ever been with me."
back to say “Thank you." It may be We walked briskly up to the château that the blackbird and thrush now sing. through the keen air of the hills, the ing from the fir-tops are grateful, and curé talking volubly according to his that the short, bright chants of the wont.
robin are canticles in acknowledgment "Both ethnologically and physically,” of a timely kindness. But I wish they he said, using the words or rather his would sometimes come back to the equivalent French idiom, with tables that I spread for them when they