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The hour arrived, and the aunt and niece were punctual. A thousand hopes and fears agitated the mind of the latter, as she thought of the probable consequences of her interview with the King; and as the carriage stopped at the door of the hotel, and De Sevigné handed her from it, it was with difficulty she was able to support herself.
The beautiful Ninon received her with that grace and courtesy for which she was celebrated ; and a feeling of remorse sprang up instantly in her mind when she beheld her emotion ; but the fondness for excitement checked it, and she made the speech that had been agreed on, promising that when the King arrived she should be summoned.
She and her aunt were then left in a room alone, and in a short time they judged by the bustle in the house that the moment so much desired was come.
They were not kept long in suspense ; for the Marquis De Sevigné presently entering, informed Gabrielle that she might follow him. With trembling steps she accepted his hand : and, after passing through a long corridor and several rooms, along which a great many persons elegantly dressed were stationed, the folding doors of a large saloon were thrown open, and she beheld a cavalier, whom she imagined to be the King, surrounded by gentlemen, conversing with Mademoiselle Ninon with an air of affability which was calculated to give her courage.
De Grammont, for he it was who personated the Monarch to the life, turned round on her entrance, and, looking at her with intent admiration, could scarcely suppress an exclamation; while Lomaria, who stood by, at once recognised the fair creature he had seen at Seignelay.
Gabrielle, pale and trembling, threw herself at his feet, and awaited his pleasure.
"Speak," said he in a soft voice, “and be not alarmed. Louis is not a tyrant, that the sight of him should terrify his fair subjects. Tell me the cause of your distress, and we will see if it be possible to assist you.”
“Your Majesty can with one word put an end to the fears and danger of three persons,” said Gabrielle : "what I now venture to entreat is a safe conduct for one whose wife lies under a false imputation.
If he could appear, it would be sufficient to release her from suspicion ; but he has, alas ! committed a crime which places his life in peril, and without your Majesty's word of grace he dare not venture before the judges of his wife."
“And his name, fair suppliant, is ?—" De Grammont was continuing, and had bent down his head towards the weeping girl, when the doors were flung open with violence, and the physician Fagon advanced with a rapid step into the centre of the room.
“ Hold, gentlemen !" cried he, in an angry voice : though you may be at liberty to play what fool's games you please when it concerns only yourselves, you have no right to deceive and mock the feelings of a lady, whose. misfortunes are entitled to compassion from all who have a right to the name of man. To those dishonourable buffoons who think it a pleasant jest to wound the heart of innocence, I announce that this injured lady is under my protection, and is no fitting subject for this disgraceful deception. Rise, madam, I entreat,” he added, addressing Gabrielle : “This is no place for you-you have been imposed upon by worthless persons, who think their nobility will shield them from contempt. Let me lead you back to your aunt, and to your
home; and despair not that the King will yet hear your prayer and listen to your sorrows."
So sudden was this interruption, and so vehement the indignant manner of Fagon, that at first none of all the group had uttered a single word. They looked at each other with shame and annoyance: at length De Grammont spoke.
“Doctor," said he, "you forget in whose presence you are: if it was indeed in the King's, your insolence might pass unnoticed, for he gives too much licence to his menials; but we endure no such conduct, and you had better quit the house this instant, while you have escaped the chastisement you merit. Lomaria, turn the Doctor out of the presence-chamber: the lady is under our protection.”
Lomaria, with an insolent air, advanced to the Doctor, and laying his hand on his cloak, was about to obey the sovereign command: but Fagon laid his hand on his sword.
“ Marquis de Gwerrand,” he said, "you are not in Brittany, nor are your oppressed vassals before you. This is not the aire neuve."
Lomaria recoiled, and the paleness of death spread over his countenance; while Fagon took the hand of the bewildered Gabrielle, and led her from the saloon.
As he passed Ninon he addressed her.
“Madam,” he said, "none know better than I, that in spite of your levity you have feelings which should have prevented you from permitting this scene."
“Come, Fagon," said De Sevigné, you insult not Mademoiselle de L'Enclos : dare to utter another word, and your descent into the street will be more rapid than you anticipated when you ventured to disturb our amusement."
“Silence, De Sevigné,” cried Ninon rising: “I have acted in a base and cruel manner in countenancing this outrage: let no one who values my friendship now and for ever oppose Monsieur Fagon, or detain the young lady; whose pardon J most earnestly entreat for the part I have taken in this affair. Although I am ignorant of her history, I am convinced she deserves better than even to be seen entering my house. Go, Doctor, and take with you my admiration for your zeal, and thanks for your plain speaking."
No rejoinder was made to this remark; and Gabrielle was carried rather than led to the carriage of her protector, where Madame Collard already sat ; and they arrived at her house in a few minutes.
Our other specimen has more of description in it, and therefore also exhibits Miss Costello to advantage. The scene is the execution of two of Count Lomaria's infamous agents, De Maintenon being the prime and subtle mover, for whom the villain employed the most nefarious arts. A tragedy succeeds the sacrifice :
Madame de Sevigné records in her famous letters that she was fortunate to get a sight of the procession as she sat at the hotel de Sully, with numerous ladies of rank, her friends, all of whom appear to have been equally gratified. Through many of the streets thus lined, the bridegroom Lomaria, and his intimate and inseparable friends de Sevigné, de Grammont, and the
rest, rode on their superbly caparisoned horses towards St. Germain de l'Auxerrois. Lomaria's dress was one which had excited great admiration, and it was pronounced by those excellent judges an inimitable one. His mantle and doublet were of violet velvet, with an embroidery of diamonds—the first lined with black satin, strewed all over with small diamond stars, said to surpass in richness that of the Prince de Conti on his wedding day.
His hat was surmounted with a white plume, and fastened with jewels of great value, and, as he rode along, the grace and ease with which he managed his fiery steed were the theme of admiration in many a crowded balcony, whence fair hands were waved to the gallant party as they paced along. As they had to pass near the Place de Grève it was proposed by the bridegroom's friends, and readily assented to by him, that they should turn down that way, and see the preparations for the execution: they accordingly directed their horses' heads down a little alley, which leads into the square, and had soon gained the opening. In the centre stood a high stake, surrounded by huge logs of wood, and light brushwood, and straw spread over them. A band of guards stood close to it, preventing the near approach of the populace, who were pouring in by every avenue. Presently from the opposite side from that at which Lomaria's party had entered, a cart was seen advancing, in which stood the condemned— La Voisin and de Rouville. They were dressed in white, and in their hands, tied together with cords, each held a torch. La Voisin was very red, and had all the appearance of being intoxicated-she violently repulsed the priest who was by her side, and refused to look at the crucifix he held up to her. De Rouville remained motionless, with her head bent down upon her breast, her brows strongly knit, and her lips pressed closely together. “Let us leave this place,” said Lomaria, turning pale, “ I had no idea the victims had arrived. I have no aste for an auto da fé."
“We must halt a moment,” said de Sevigné, "for the mob is so great that we shall scarcely be able to pierce it. Look at La Voisin, they say she has been drunk for several days, and is resolved to die merrily. The other is de Rouville-poor things how they must feel the jolting of that odious cart! they who had so much taste too~it is really a pity. But see—the fair Pole recognises us-she gesticulates--she would fain wave her hand, but that it is tied. Lomaria, it is surely you she is addressing." Lomaria looked in the direction his friend pointed, and met the eye of the unfortunate woman who was addressing herself to him.
The crowd rushed on, their howlings and hootings as the prisoners were hurried along became fearful, but above them all the bridegroom heard the curses of his nurse de Rouville, as she tore her hair with her manacled hands, and strove to break from the guards who held her. “ There!” cried she, " there he rides, flaunting and gay-to church to his bride-he who is a greater sinner than us all-a murderer and betrayer. He told me he would save my life at the last, but he abandoned his poor nurse, he turned a deaf ear to her prayers-he would not speak one word to Scarron to keep her from the stake--but he will not escape. Go-go to the bridal-enter the church and shine in beauty and wickedness—but beware of leaving it—the Aire Neuve! the Aire Neuve! Bretons do not forgive !" Lomaria spurred his horse—his companions did the same, and they soon cleared the crowd, and heard only at a distance the shricks of the condemned and the execra,
tions of the mob. “The fair Poles," said de Grammont, “who deceived us all so well, deserved a better fate, it must be exceedingly painful to die in this way.”
“Oh!” remarked de Sevigné, “ I am assured that they will be strangled before the pile is lighted-one of their own band who is experienced in the art, and says he practised it in the East, has been accepted for the office, his dexterity is wonderful—he is a gipsy-we will go one day Lomaria, and see some of his performances—it must be very curious—he will exhibit on animals, as it is thought wrong to take human subjects—though heaven knows our jails are full enough to spare some as specimens." Lomaria laughed hoarsely. “We shall be late," said he, "and the bride will be kept waiting. Poor Angelique! she is no doubt already on her way; in a few minutes I shall be a rich man." “What an agreeable sensation that must be," said de Sevigné, “ I really think I shall give my mother carte blanche to marry me to some fortunate heiress--if they could arrange it all without my appearing in the business, I really would not object.”
Talking thus, the friends arrived at the church door, where they took their stations, and waited till the bridal cortege appeared, which it shortly after did, and all entered together. There was a great crowd in the square before the church, and it was with difficulty a way could be made through the concourse of people. Many artizans and persons of a low class were mingled with well-dressed groups, all eager to gaze on the scene. Amongst them might be observed two men of rather singular appearance, who stuod together and gravely looked on: they were dressed nearly alike, and wore large black hats, very much flapped over their faces, their long hair hanging over their shoulders, their nether garments of great amplitude plaited in large folds round their waists, and fastened by a girdle, in which were stuck the long knife peculiar to their nation: their costume at once proclaimed them as Bretons, and the singular patois in which they uttered a few words to each other at intervals
, left no donbt on the subject. They seemed quite careless of the jibes of the mob, who cut many jokes on their outlandish appearance, but continued to keep close to the door of entrance, one on each side, maintaining their post with great perseverance, as if determined to be the first to see the bride and bridegroom when they came forth as man and wife. Their apparent desire was soon about to be accomplished, for, the ceremony over, the folding doors were thrown open, and the bridal party began to walk forward : the Queen, and many of her ladies, had been witnesses of the ceremony, and when it was finished, Mary Therèse, unable to suppress a tear, stooped down and imprinted a kiss on the bride's forehead. A strain of solenın music filled the aisles as Lomaria gave his hand to Angelique, and led her down the centre aisle to the door, where stood a magnificent carriage covered with gilding, and the panels richly painted with emblematic figures and devices. Plumes nodded at each corner of the gilded roof, the horses we recaparisoned in dazzling colours, and the numerous attendants were clothed in liveries of the richest description. The pair reached the door, and Lomaria handed his bride into the resplendent chariot, a present from the king, and substituted, as a surprise, for the travelling carriage which was to have borne the new-married lovers to St. Germain, where a grand fete awaited them. Angelique smiled as she observed the change, and pauscd an instant as she placed her foot on the step, turning to Lomaria
with a gratified expression. At that moment the two Bretons darted forward, their knives gleamed in the air, and before the flash was scarcely observed both were buried in the body of the bridegroom. “L'Aire Neuve !" shrieked Lomaria as he fell on the steps of the carriage, dying the white garments of his bride crimson with his blood. The crowd, paralyzed with amazement and horror, pressed forward-many had seen the blow, but no one had presence of mind to seek for or seize the assassins, who had disappeared, and were nowhere to be found, when, the confusion having subsided, inquiry was made for them. As de Sevingé, de Grammont, and the rest returned with the body of the murdered man to his residence, they again crossed the Place de Grève-the crowd had deserted it—all had hurried to the wedding, but in the centre were still seen a few smouldering ashesstrong smell of fire filled the space, heavy masses of smoke rolled sluggishly away, and all told the tale that Les Amis had expiated their crimes, and that the catalogue of their dangerous revelations was hushed, by the frightful death to which they had been condemned.
ART. V.—The Progress of the Nation, in its various Social and
Economical Relations, from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century to the Present Time. By G. R. Porter, Esq., F.R.S.
Sections V. to VIII. This is the third of the series of the volumes which Mr. Porter has published within these few years, upon the subject of the Progress of the Nation in its Social and Economical Relations, from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century to the Present Time. The first volume related to Population and Production; the second was devoted to Interchange, Revenue, and Expenditure; and the one before us treats of Consumption, Accumulation, Moral Progress, Colonies and Foreign Dependencies. Mr. Porter's merit is such as any person of high purpose, and exemplary labour may be proud of. He is a man of science as well as of facts; and both are made to point and work towards the same enlightened and benevolent end. Political economy with him is something more than an array of satistical tables or computations, although these are numerous ; for the general views deduced have life and language in them; and spite of the dulness or erratic taste of the popular reader, will bind his attention to matters of a social and moral nature interesting to all, and send him away with principles defined, and with more practical impressions than probably he ever dreamt of. The author's mode of selection and combination is excellent. Nothing more brief, clear, and substantial of the same sort of commodity was ever before provided; nothing more liberal and yet more unflinching, firm, and fruitful of suggestion.
Before quoting passages of some length and more or less connectedly, in order to enable the reader to form a tolerably correct