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through the little screened wicket. Look- the days of his youth, Frances, but you ing cautiously round, he approached with seek in vain ; the burning sun of India, rapid steps the door leading to her suit of and these scars which I gained in the serapartments.

vice of the king against the wild mountain "It is he! it is he!” she exclaimed, and tribes of Affghanistan, and the warriors with quick movement she agitated a little of Holland, have entirely effaced those silver bell. A maid of honor entered- features once familiar, and

my

heart alone “ Beatrice,” said she, hastily and excit- remains unchanged !" ed, “I expect the visit of a gentleman “Still, as ever, an enthusiast,” she re with whom I must converse on important marked, with a melancholy smile, pressing business. He will be here immediately; the hand of her early friend; then she while he remains with me I am at home continued, in a lower tone, but now, to no one; understand, Beatrice, to no about that which concerns you so closely;

Soon the stranger entered. you write me in the letter, in which you “ Frederick !” exclaimed the lady joy- ask for an interview, that

you

have been fully, holding out her hand to the friend slandered to the king, in relation to your of her youth,

conduct while in India ; you are said to Madame," answered Monsieur de have neglected the service of the king, Malpre, while he approached a little near- and, I should scorn to repeat the expreser, An embarrassed silence now com- sion, if you had not already written it to menced on both sides, exactly like on that me, and to have been accused of considerformer occasion many years past. This able peculations, which have induced him, time the lady broke the silence, “Your without listening to your defence, to banfirst word, Frederick, after a separation ish you forever from the court and Paris ? of twenty years, was a reproach," she Have you no suspicion about this, Fredesaid, with a faltering voice, supporting rick ?» herself by the back of a chair,

Certainly, I do suspect,” he replied ; Frances exist for you no longer? Have “it is a rival, who has vainly endeavored you preserved no reminiscences in your to dispossess me of my position in India; heart which”—at these words she cast her one of those men who, when they are sent eyes blushingly down—“which intercede as governors, or commissaries, into the for forgiveness for the friend of your colonies, plunder and impoverish them in youth ?"

every possible way, exactly in the same Monsieur de Malpre raised his head, and manner as the Roman proconsuls and looked with a fixed and grieved expression prætors used to do; my slanderer is a at her.

relation of the Marquise de Montespan.” “Frances,” he said, “ Frances, twenty An exclamation of surprise from Mayears beneath the scorching sun of India dame de Maintenon interrupted him; he were, indeed, enough to dry up my coun- looked inquiringly at her. tenance; but my heart remained ever “What is the matter, Frances? what fresh and young as of old ! Pardon, ails you ?” Frances, this stormy restless heart—that Nothing, nothing !” she answered cold word shall be its first and last re- quickly; " continue your story, Fredeproach ; from this moment, no Marquise rick;" to herself, she added, "extraordinde Maintenon exists for me, but only a ary, his enemies are also mine!" Frances de Aubigné, does this satisfy, It will be remembered that Madame de Frances ?"

Maintenon had been the cause of depriv“I thank you, Frederick; you are a ing Madame de Montespan again of the noble, rare being !" said Madame de Main- favor of Louis XIV., through Mademoitenon, giving him her hand, which he selle de Fontages, which made Madame pressed to his lips; "many changes have de Montespan her bitterest enemy. taken place since we last met, Frederick!" “What causes me most grief is,” De she continued, motioning him to be seated Malpre continued, “not the banishment near her, and regarding him attentively, from Court, for you know, Frances, I as if making a comparison between then never was a courtier, but my spotted honand now.

or—the blot on the name of a man whose Malpre guessed her thoughts.

whole life has never been dishonored by a “You are looking for the features of single wrong act the shame which will that Frederick whom you once knew in attach to the escutcheon of De Malpre;

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therefore, did I ask you, Frances, for this de Malpre remain, while you listen to his interview; not that, by your intercession, defence.” you may obtain for me mercy from the “ Madame,” said the king, surprised by king, but that you might gain for me the the unusual boldness of this speech, which right of defending myself.”

flattered him, notwithstanding. “ You have my word, Frederick,” in- The marchioness, quickly perceiving the terrupted the marchioness, in a quick impression which her words had made voice, and with complexion heightened upon the king, availed herself of the opby excitement. But, suddenly, she be-portunity, and said to De Malpre, “Speak, came pale, and glanced towards the door monsieur.” of the cabinet, steps were heard in the The king, who had not yet recovered ante-chamber, and a short imperative from his surprise, offered no opposition, voice. Before Frederick, whose look fol- and De Malpre, in a short impassioned lowed that of the marchioness, could de- speech, convinced him of the groundlesstermine what to do, the door was hastily ness of the charges brought against him. thrown open, and the king entered, with a During this time the king had been atcountenance inflamed by anger, and eyes tentively observing both De Malpre and sparkling fire.

the marchioness, who, in this moment of Malpre quickly rose from his seat at excitement, appeared to him more charmthis unexpected appearance, and bowed ing than ever. before Louis XIV., while Madame de When De Malpre had concluded, he Maintenon, breathless with excitement, said : “Very well, Monsieur de Malpre; remained sitting, in the most mortifying your banishment is annulled, but after embarrassment, concealing her glowing you have presented yourself to me tocountenance with a fan.

morrow.” It was a feeling of jealousy, For one moment, a painful silence pre- he having heard something of the former vailed, until the king, turning to Monsieur connexion between Frances and Frederde Malpre, said, in a rough and command- ick, which prompted him to continueing voice,“ Since when has Monsieur de “Three days afterwards you leave VerMalpre forgotten to obey the commands sailles. Now take leave of the marchioof his king? Did I not order you twen- ness. ty-four hours since to leave Paris and Monsieur de Malpre made a deep obeiVersailles on the instant, and never again sance, and without a single word in reto appear at court ? announce yourself to ply, turned to leave the room; the marthe captain of the guard on duty as a pri- chioness returning his salute in the same soner, and hand to him your sword.”

manner. One tear glistened in her eye, “Sire !” exclaimed, at this harsh sen- which the king did not perceive, but De tence, as if with one breath, the marchio- Malpre saw it. When going down stairs ness and De Malpre.

he was, for the first time, conscious of the “Not a single word,” roared the king. magnitude of this afflicting rencontre with “Go, Monsieur de Malpre."

the poor wife of a crippled author and The nobleman obeyed, submitting to the Mistress of France. his fate; he was already on the point of leaving the cabinet, when the marchio

III. THE SCHOOL OF ST. CYR. ness, with a firm and commanding voice, addressing Monsieur de Malpre, said,

, At the close of a chilly Autumn day, “Remain, Monsieur de Malpre! you are in the year 1719, one of those cumbrous in my room, and I alone can order you to yellow-bodied carriages, used by the arisleave it."

tocracy at the commencement of the last The king bit his lips, and with flashing century, was seen rolling heavily on the eyes, cried, “By heaven, marchioness, you road from Versailles to St. Cyr. On aruse a bold speech.”

riving at the school, which was establish“A speech,” she interrupted, fearlessly, ed by Madame de Maintenon for the

which, certainly, is never used by venal education of poor girls of noble birth, courtiers and flatterers, and only resorted the carriage stopped, and an old greyto by those who desire that King Louis headed servitor descended from the seat XIV. may be called the Just, as well as he had occupied by the side of the coachthe Great ; therefore, Sire, will Monsieur man, and proceeded to lower the steps

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and assist down a much more aged and tenance of the dying lady, by whose very decrepit man, whose tottering feet couch stood neither children, relations, had scarcely power remaining to bear the nor friends, her only comforter being a burden of his body. A large flowing wig single priest, who now rose, and turning shrouded a shriveled face, furrowed by towards the aged mourner, said gently : many a scar, and the trembling hands, “It was the last wish of the dying, enclosed in ample lace cuffs, had hardly Monsieur de Malpre, to behold you once strength to hold the gold-headed cane more; and, therefore, did I write and with which, and the assistance of the old entreat you to come.” servant, he endeavored to help himself He only nodded with his head, and forward; the dark eyes, which shone murmured “heartfelt thanks.” from beneath a pair of bushy eyebrows, The priest then bowed and left the alone betrayed the fact that this withered apartment. frame was still occupied by a not entirely De Malpre bent down upon the bed, broken spirit.

and touched the pale, emaciated hand “Pull the bell, Etienne,” he said, impa- with his lips. One tear fell from his eyes, tiently, but with tremulous accents, when which most likely had not shed another he saw that the door of the asylum was for more than half a century. This warm not yet opened.

tear falling on her hand, awoke the aged The old servant obeyed, and the bell sufferer; she opened her half closed eyes, resounded through the building. The and when she perceived who it was, a gate was soon opened by the portress

, faint smile of pleasure, transient as the who, on perceiving the visitor, displayed forked lightning illumining the dark clouds, the most pleased surprise. She said passed across her features; motioning gently to him:

ħim to draw nearer, with painful effort, “At last ! she has expected you ever and almost dying breath, she whispered : since morning.”

“I ald not die in peace, Frederick, The aged man made no reply, but, without seeing you once more. Pray for leaning on his servant, followed the por- me.” tress, who, ascending one flight of stairs, The aged De Malpre complied, and in opened carefully the door of a cell, in the midst of the holy stillness which prewhich he distinguished a bed on either vailed, the spirit of Madame de Mainside; torches were burning, and at the tenon passed away. head the priest was kneeling, engaged in Monsieur de Malpre called for help; prayer. He entered sorrowfully this little, the priest and servant entered, and with bare cell, where, excepting a bed, there gentle force raised the poor old man and was only a chair, a praying-desk, and a led him away, when he had taken a last crucifix, and sitting down beside the bed look at the face of dead, and murmured a he folded his hands and uttered a silent last farewell. prayer; then he looked upward and con- A few weeks after this event, Monsieur templated with painful emotion the coun- de Malpre was carried to his last home,

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CHAPTER I.

of the sunset, burning itself upon the No one would have believed them to golden limes and copper-colored beeches be sisters-yet sisters they were ; loving on the other side of the road, and strugeach other with more passion than calm gling through the blackness of a great yew affection; for they had passed no great overshadowing one half their garden. part of their lives together. They were Hildred, the elder, stood erect; the at their window, watching the fiery glow I rich light falling full upon her broad brow and dark eyes. Those eyes did not flinch kind of you to judge me so. You ought or seek to veil themselves from the radi- not to be proud to me, Hildred, although I ance; rather they seemed to dilate, as if am rich !" endeavoring to receive all the glory. “Bravely said, Millie mine; but listen. Against Hildred, a slighter figure leant; a You think this pretty place yours-left fair head lay upɔn her shoulder, somewhat you by your uncle—" hidden by the black tresses that, though “Our uncle. You are my sister, and looped up behind, fell loosely and low must share his gift. If—if—Í should ever down upon each side of a stately throat. go to live anywhere else, it might be all It was some time since either had spoken, yours, if you wont come with me.” when Hildred said :

"I say your uncle, Millie. He did not “So you think he loves

you,

Millie ?" hold me as his niece; he had heard how A smile that had a dash of disdain in it, like I am to my father !" grew wholly tender as she glanced down “If he had only known you, sister, he upon the delicate face, and saw how the would have loved you in spite_" drooping eyelids drooped yet more, and “Would I be loved in spite of what I the faint color flushed rosier as she spoke. glory in ?” Hildred said, vehemently. She threw herself into a great chair that "No, child. We must not stop to quarstood near.

Millie slipped down on to a rel, for I have something to tell you: cushion at her feet, having given no Millie, you are not rich. You know uncle answer. Hildred repeated her question, died suddenly; he was always irresolute, passing her hand caressingly over the procrastinating, weak - a good man, beautifully-shaped oval head resting though, for loving you so well as he did.

, against her, as she did so. No word yet ; He had made no will when he died, and but bending forward, she caught the last an heir-at-law has turned up." flicker of a smile dying from off the rosy “Millie raised her head, and looked up mouth, and took that for a sufficient at Hildred inquiringly. Hildred went on: reply.

“I should have enjoyed the excitement of "Ah! child !” she said, “no need for disputing his claim; but it would be no further answer. God bless you !” Then use. I should not like to be beaten; so she added, “I am very glad!” Millie's you must give up to him quietly." soft little hand stole up into Hildred's. “Then the dear old place is not mine? She did not cry out, though her sister's I can not give it to you ?” Millie said, in fervent clasp pained her.

pained surprise. “I should not have liked to speak of “I should not, could not have taken it, this yet,” the elder went on, glancing at dear one. I must and will be independent. the mourning they both wore; “but it is No, child, nothing--at least, almost needful I should know. I have to plan nothing-is yours. You are mine, and I for the future. We stand alone now- am glad" you have only me to take care of you at “Of what, Hildred ?" present."

“That we are free of all obligations. It “But Hildred,” Millie said, “we need is glorious to be free-free!” not do any thing different, need we? We Hildred repeated the word, glancing out may live together now? You will stay with a fierce look in her eyes that told of with me always, wont you ?”

her having known some kind of slavery. “That is impossible, Millie,” was said “I was getting sick of life,” she went very decidedly.

on; "it was not life, it was only a living "Why impossible ?" Millie asked, ear-death I had with my aunt-great-aunt as nestly. Indeed, I can not do without she was, but would not be called greatyou."

aunt. Every day I grew more wicked, “You shall soon learn to do without me, Millie. I liked better to be feared-hated child. Never fear! I shall not leave you —than loved by them. “Now I am free, till there is a dearer some one else to care I will live a glorious, battling life! Much for you. You are one of those who ought as I love you, I should have been miserable always to have strong arms round you, again, if, to take care of you, I had had to Millie.”

share your fortune and life in respectable “ But why leave me ? You say you love idleness.” me very much. If you think I could be “ But, Hildred, if we are poor, what happy knowing you left alone, it is not shall we do? You will have to go back

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again, and hadn't I better go out as a gov- six months—well! thank you, aunt, that erness ?»

you sent it at all, though it wasn't out of “I

go back again ? Never! I should be kindness you did so. I shall see now an idiot to do so. And you! You do not what truth there is in some of these fine think your being poor will make any dif- words. If they are true, why then, ference to that lover of yours, do you? If the world is not so bitter but a smile you do, you-we-will starve, before you may make it sweet for somebody. But shall marry him. But there will be no tell me, Millie, child, is it true that men need to starve, or even to want: I shall are deceivers ever ? Do you expect to work, as I have always longed to do.” find any man constant, loving one for one

Millie lifted up her eyes, and said quietly: self alone po

“( Hildred! I did not mean that. “I would I were dead if not,” Millie But I should not like-he's not rich — answered faintly. and"

“ Is it so, Millie ?" Hildred said, half"I see. But you are not penniless even startled at the fervency of that low reply. now; you shall still be a bit of an heiress.” Stooping down, she pressed a kiss on the And Hildred then first conceived a resolu- girl's forehead, saying: “That is right; be tion she afterwards acted out.

thorough in all your life.” “But, Hildred, was not your aunt kind ? “Dear Hildred, some of us have to sufOh! if I had but known you were not fer; no one suffers thoroughly who does happy!” Millie spoke so earnestly that not suffer patiently.” tears came into her eyes. “ Why didn't “ Suffer! You shall not know much you write ?»

about suffering if I can help it. Now “ you think I was going to tell you tell me,” she went on, " when does this all my wild troubles, child ? I bore them, mysterious friend of yours, whose name I and they did not break my spirit. Indeed, have not heard you name yet—when does if I had been a meek, mean, hypocritical he return ?” creature, I might have been very comfort- “Very soon—any day. O Hildred ! able."

when you see him, you will think it With what scorn she said the last word! strange that he cares for such a girl as I

“If I wanted to go back ever so much,” | am. I never could fancy it true that he she added, “ I could not. I lost all chance liked me much, till—till I was in great of reïnstatement by coming to you. Mine trouble, and then he was so tender. But was too good a place to be empty long. I I don't like talking about this, even to had a spiteful letter from the old lady this you, for he has never said to me plainly morning, bidding me an affecting farewell, that" and telling me of an amiable and accom- “ That he loves you: wishes to marry plished cousin of mine who is filling my you ?” place to the old lady's entire satisfaction, “So I don't feel as if it were right to reminding me, too, that I could not live talk about it." on the miserable pittance left me by my

" Ah! when he comes back you will father!"

not care much about poor Hildred any “ You had other letters, hadn't you, Hil. more.” dred ?»

“I shall, Hildred, you know I shall—I “One from this same heir, in answer to am not fickle, I never forget. But isn't it an epistle of mine. He is so polite that I odd? He did not even know I had a sisfeel mine was unnecessarily bitter. He ter until a few days before he left. You talks about duty to those nearest him see, I did not know you well, did'nt love compelling him to do what is painful, and you, or I should have spoken about you. such stuff as that. Perhaps he satisfies When I thought of you, Hildred, it used his own conscience, however.”

always to be with fear.” " Your other letter ?"

“Why, silly one?" Hildred looked fearlessly into Millie's “I don't know; I had heard you were inquiring eyes; but a richer color came very proud-and so you are. I thought into her cheeks as she answered : you would despise poor me, but you don't.

“An inclosure in my aunt's. A cruel (I was right in picturing you in other letter,” she went on dreamily; "yet it things though. When I crept into the pleases me well enough. Truly it has room, the day you came, and, before you been somewhat long in reaching me-five, I knew I was come, saw you standing erect,

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