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owners had consigned to the mimic perils of the Pond. The vessels lay becalmed in the middle of the ocean, displaying a tantalizing lack of sympathy with the frantic helplessness of the owners on shore. As the gentleman observed their dilemma, a light came into his faded eyes, then died out, leaving them drearier than before. I wondered if he, too, in his time, had sent out ships that drifted and drifted and never came to port; and if these poor toys were to him types of his own losses.
“I would like to know that man's story,” I said, half aloud, halting in one of those winding paths which branch off from the quietness of the Pond, and end in the rush and tumult of Tremont Street.
“Would you?” replied a voice at my side. I turned and faced Mr. H a neighbor of mine, who laughed heartily at finding me talking to myself. “Well,” he added reflectingly, “I can tell you this man's story; and if you will match the narrative with anything as curious, I shall be glad to hear it.”
“You know him, then?”
“Yes, and no. I happened to be in Paris when he was buried.”
“Well, strictly speaking, not buried; but something quite like it. If you've a spare half-hour,” continued my interlocutor, “we'll sit on this bench, and I will tell you all I know of an affair that made some noise in Paris a couple of years ago. The gentleman himself, standing yonder, will serve as a sort of frontispiece to the romance - a full-page illustration, as it were."
The following pages contain the story that Mr. Hrelated to me. While he was telling it, a gentle wind
arose; the miniature sloops drifted feebly about the ocean; the wretched owners flew from point to point, as the deceptive breeze promised to waft the barks to either shore; the early robins trilled now and then from the newly fringed elms; and the old young man leaned on the rail in the sunshine, wearily, little dreaming that two gossips were discussing his affairs within twenty yards of him.
Three people were sitting in a chamber whose one large window overlooked the Place Vendôme. M. Dorine, with back half turned on the other two occupants of the apartment, was reading the “Moniteur,” pausing from time to time to wipe his glasses, and taking scrupulous pains not to glance towards the lounge at his right, on which were seated Mademoiselle Dorine and a young American gentleman, whose handsome face rather frankly told his position in the family. There was not a happier man in Paris that afternoon than Philip Wentworth. Life had become so delicious to him that he shrunk from looking beyond to-day. What could the future add to his full heart? what might it not take away? In certain natures the deepest joy has always something of melancholy in it, a presentiment, a fleeting sadness, a feeling without a name. Wentworth was conscious of this subtile shadow, that night, when he rose from the lounge, and thoughtfully held Julie's hand to his lip for a moment before parting. A careless observer would not have thought him, as he was, the happiest man in Paris.
M. Dorine laid down his paper and came forward. “If the house," he said, "is such as M. Martin describes
it, I advise you to close with him at once. I would accompany you, Philip, but the truth is, I am too sad at losing this little bird to assist you in selecting a cage for her. Remember, the last train for town leaves at five. Be sure not to miss it; for we have seats for M. Sardou's new comedy to-morrow night. By to-morrow night,” he added laughingly, “little Julie here will be an old lady — 't is such an age from now until then."
The next morning the train bore Philip to one of the loveliest spots within thirty miles of Paris. An hour's walk through green lanes brought him to M. Martin's estate. In a kind of dream the young man wandered from room to room, inspected the conservatory, the stables, the lawns, the strip of woodland through which a merry brook sang to itself continually; and, after dining with M. Martin, completed the purchase, and turned his steps toward the station, just in time to catch the
As Paris stretched out before him, with its million lights twinkling in the early dusk, and its sharp spires here and there pricking the sky, it seemed to Philip as if years had elapsed since he left the city. On reaching Paris he drove to his hotel, where he found several letters lying on the table. He did not trouble himself even to glance at their superscriptions, as he threw aside his traveling surtout for a more appropriate dress.
If, in his impatience to see Mademoiselle Dorine, the cars had appeared to walk, the fiacre which he had secured at the station appeared to creep. At last it turned into the Place Vendôme, and drew up before M. Dorine's residence. The door opened as Philip's foot touched the first step. The servant silently took his
cloak and hat, with a special deference, Philip thought; but was he not now one of the family?
“M. Dorine,” said the servant slowly, “is unable to see monsieur at present. He wishes monsieur to be shown up to the salon."
“Is mademoiselle “Yes, monsieur." “Alone?”
“Alone, monsieur,” repeated the man, looking curiously at Philip, who could scarcely repress an exclamation of pleasure.
It was the first time that such a privilege had been accorded him. His interviews with Julie had always taken place in the presence of M. Dorine, or of some member of the household. A well-bred Parisian girl has but a formal acquaintance with her lover.
Philip did not linger on the staircase; his heart sang in his bosom as he flew up the steps, two at a time. Ah! this wine of air which one drinks at twenty, and seldom after! He hastened through the softly lighted hall, in which he detected the faint scent of her favorite flowers, and stealthily opened the door of the salon.
The room was darkened. Underneath the chandelier stood a slim black casket on trestles. A lighted candle, a crucifix, and some white flowers were on a table near by. Julie Dorine was dead.
When M. Dorine heard the indescribable cry that rang through the silent house, he hurried from the library, and found Philip standing like a ghost in the middle of the chamber.
It was not until long afterwards that Wentworth learned the details of the calamity that had befallen
him. On the previous night Mademoiselle Dorine had retired to her room in seemingly perfect health. She dismissed her maid, with a request to be awakened early the next morning. At the appointed hour the girl entered the chamber. Mademoiselle Dorine was sitting in an arm-chair, apparently asleep. The candle had · burned down to the socket; a book lay half open on the carpet at her feet. The girl started when she saw that the bed had not been occupied, and that her mistress still wore an evening dress. She rushed to Mademoiselle Dorine's side. It was not slumber. It was death.
Two messages were at once despatched to Philip, one to the station at G-, the other to his hotel. The first missed him on the road, the second he had neglected to open. On his arrival at M. Dorine's house, the servant, under the supposition that Wentworth had been advised of Mademoiselle Dorine's death, broke the intelligence with awkward cruelty, by showing him directly to the salon.
Mademoiselle Dorine's wealth, her beauty, the suddenness of her death, and the romance that had in some way attached itself to her love for the young American, drew crowds to witness the funeral ceremonies, which took place in the church in rue d'Aguesseau. The body was to be laid in M. Dorine's tomb, in the cemetery of Montmartre.
This tomb requires a few words of description. First, there was a grating of filigraned iron; through this you looked into a small vestibule or hall, at the end of which was a massive door of oak opening upon a short flight of stone steps descending into the tomb. The vault was fifteen or twenty feet square, ingeniously ventilated