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the hard winter of 1794. The place was besieged by the French republican army under General Pichegru; and to relieve the allied forces, the Duke of York, with an army of 30,000 men, conducted a brilliant attack on the French, but it was attended by no marked success. Nemeguen was evacuated, and fell into the hands of the French, who soon after completed the conquest of Holland by crossing the Waal, and other branches of the Rhine, on the ice an exploit that astonished Europe, and gave an impetus to the encroachments of the French Republic.
Shortly after the union of the Waal and the Maas, the river diverges into a number of cross branches enclosing islands, on one of which stands the ancient town of Dort, or Dordrecht. Some of these branches unite with the Leck; and one of them, the Maas, is the river on which the city of Rotterdam has been built. A few miles below Rotterdam, the Maas passes Schiedam, so celebrated for its manufacture of the kind of gin called Hollands. Further down, it joins the sea. It is principally by this channel that steam-boats and sailing-vessels ascend the river, to which we are now obliged to bid farewell :
Y poor Mina,' said sickly Madame Block to her little daughter, who was diligently working in what they call English embroidery, 'whence
do you get these ideas of grandeur and luxury? byt I am sure, not from me. If I were taken from
you, your situation in life would indeed be gloomy; and though you may learn how to gain a precarious livelihood by your needle, it will be necessary to suppress such ambitious longings. Look Jaround, and you will see all the property I shall be
able to leave you. What is its value ? Nothing.'
16. Mina raised her dark expressive eyes, and ran e them over the poor furniture of the humble apartment, lightly, almost contemptuously, until they fell on a mirror that still retained sufficient polish to reflect one of the most lovely countenances ever framed by the Creator. She gazed at herself for awhile, and then pointing with her needle, somewhat shamefacedly, it is true, replied: 'I see my fortune there.?
And who has told you that wealth is the inheritance of beauty?'
I feel it, mamma; and you must know it. A few of the fine ladies of Blois are, they say, nearly as beautiful as I am ; but can you find such a face as that among the peasants and the workwomen?'
Madame Block was somewhat alarmed at finding this train of thought running in her daughter's head; yet she endeavoured to carry on the dialogue calmly, as if she was discussing a mere philosophical problem. . Even if your observation, child, be true, it may all be accident; but you do not remember that at least among our workwomen many are to be found that were beautiful as children, but have become disfigured by time and labour. Besides, those that are in any way remarkable, are often induced to go to Paris'
"Yes; and become great ladies there !' cried Mina. "Felicie Pinson told me the story of her cousin Caroline, who went to the great city in sabots, and was rolling in her carriage with a fine white silk bonnet, in the place of her thirty-sou cap, before three months were over.'
Felicie is a bad friend for you; and you shall see her no more. She told the truth, but only part of the truth. Caroline died in an hospital last year. However, this is not the question. You say that beauty must bring wealth. Do you imagine, then, that I have not been beautiful in my time? Go to that drawer, and bring me a little casket you will find.
Mina, who seemed surprised at the serious turn the dialogue was taking, obeyed; and presently Madame Block held in her hands an old casket, still bearing vestiges of mother-of-pearl ornaments. Taking a small key from a drawer of her worktable, she opened it, with many signs of emotion, and from among several objects, selected a miniature-case, double, one side containing the portrait of a very fine young man of military appearance, the other of Madame Block herself.
Certainly, the comparison of that most exquisite countenance with the revelations of almost squalid poverty with which the room abounded, should at once have destroyed Mina's theory; but we are not always convinced, even by the evidence of our senses, of the falsehood of a long-cherished prejudice. Mina believed, because she wished to believe, that a beautiful, graceful being as she was, could never have been intended to be defiled and distorted in a struggle with the miseries of this world. Of moral deformity she knew nothing, as how should she? But when she looked in her mirror, and saw that she was fair, she believed herself appointed to hold some bright position on this earth, giving and receiving light from all around. Bending over her mother's picture, therefore, she sought to discover in it some refuge from conviction, and at length exclaimed : “Yes, mamma, you were beautiful, as you are now to me; but why that look of sorrow, that strange sadness in the eyes? Perhaps you might have been happy had you willed it, as I will it.
It is true, Mina, that I might have chosen what the world calls happiness. I might have been rich now, with a fine house, a carriage, a troop of servants '
'I thought so. I am right after all!' cried Mina, clapping her hands.
'But,' continued her mother, I should not have been really happy; for all this would have been the price of falsehood and treachery ; and while there is now in my heart only sorrow, there would have been despair.' .
Tell me how this can be?' said Mina despondingly. And Madame Block related her story, which we can only give in outline. . She was the daughter of a humble tradesman of Paris; her beauty made her a celebrity in her quarter; and many offers of marriage came both direct to her and through her father. But she refused them all, not from caprice or ambition, but, she said, from the sordid, or vulgar, or disreputable characters of those who made them. Like Mina, she believed in herself, and thought that she was too fair a prize for the first reformed rake who chose to settle down into matrimony. Thus time wore on, and the early bloom of youth paled into the more steady tints of womanhood. Then a bright vision appeared to her, endowed with a name which seemed at first to her unpicturesque and even ridiculous. Casimir Block, whom she supposed to be a Pole, residing in Paris as a student, came to live in the same house. He no sooner beheld her, than he gave testimonies of unequivocal admiration, and soon contrived to make himself agreeable to her father, Paul Sismond. The courtship that took place was rapid; and Adelaide even confessed that in a week her heart was won. The stranger was evidently well supplied with money, so that there was no objection on that score. In three months, they were affianced, and would have been immediately married, but for the absence of some necessary papers on Casimir's part. When asked to produce these, he became much agitated ; but suddenly recovering his selfpossession, said he would go and fetch them himself, and return in two months. Parents and neighbours began to suspect that all was not well, but Adelaide remained unshaken. In an interview with her lover, she promised, in her enthusiasm, to wait, not only two months, but all her life, rather than marry any one else. Casimir departed, and gave no sign for more than a year. Public opinion laughed at her as a jilted one; but she patiently bore everything, and was at length rewarded by the arrival of her lover. He explained his absence and his silence in the most satisfactory manner, and produced every necessary document. The marriage was celebrated, and two years of uninterrupted happiness followed.
The only thing that troubled me,' said Madame Block, 'was that I was aware of the presence of some mystery, both in the previous and actual life of my husband. I felt persuaded that he had never told me the whole truth as to who he was; and I did not even know with certainty to what nation he belonged. Once only I ventured to question him, but my curiosity was repressed with firmness, almost with sternness; and although some meddling friends tried to incite me to constant inquisitiveness, I resolved not to peril my happiness by searching for a flower in the grass where I might find a serpent. Besides, you, my dear Mina, were born to us; and how could I doubt my husband, or feel uneasiness about the future, when I beheld your golden smiles reflected in delight upon his face? ..We lived in a handsome apartment in the Marais, but saw little company. My father, who had long been a widower, died shortly after you were born, leaving very little property, which he did not think it worth while to invest for me, considering me to be most brilliantly married. At the end of the time I have mentioned, my husband, who had already made several brief absences, announced that it was necessary for him to undertake a somewhat prolonged journey. As usual, he entered into no explanations whatever, merely promising to write as often as he was able. He seemed much excited during the days that preceded his departure; and once or twice I caught his large eyes dwelling upon my countenance with a most sorrowful expression. His manner was not exactly that of a fond husband about to undergo a temporary separation from his wife, but of one about to bid a friend an eternal adieu. Perhaps I ought then to have flung myself into his arms, and wrung the secret from him by tears and entreaties; and I was several times on the point of doing so: but pride and prudence combined to repress the impulse, and I suffered him to go away in the belief that I was a humble, dutiful, stupid wife, who conceived herself to have no right to pry into the secrets of her lord. He went, I say, wrote one letter from Berlin, and one from the grand duchy of Posen; but from that time to this I have never had any direct information as to his fate.'
"My poor father !' exclaimed Mina. "Perhaps he died on the journey.
No replied Madame Block. He did not die, at least immediately; but two long years passed, during which I received no news whatever. He had left a considerable sum of money at my disposal; but I believed so firmly in his return at first, that I did not consider it necessary to economise, and when I at length began to fear I was deserted, the greater part was already gone. I retrenched, then, somewhat too late; discharged first one servant, then another; left my spacious apartment, and chose one more suitable to my means, selling a great part of the furniture, but keeping all my plate and jewels. This, however, is anticipation. Above two years after my husband's departure, a stranger came to the house, announcing himself as Monsieur Block. This man, who in height and appearance bore a general resemblance to my husband, coldly disclosed the fact, that I had been married under a false name to a Russian nobleman, whose real title he refused to tell. All the papers used for our marriage belonged to this stranger, who was in the secret of the whole transaction. He
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