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chose to stay at home and attend a sick parent, than to join in your amusements on the day of holy rest.”
“You are offended, my gentle Rosalie," said Florimond.
“No, not offended,” replied the young woman; “but grieved, distressed, -grieved especially for my Annette. However, I thank you, Florimond,” she added, lowering her tone, not to be heard by Victor, who was deep in discourse with Annette on the other side the railing. “And now, add to the favour you have already done me, by making the best of your way home. Your shortest road is round the house, and through the higher part of the garden."
“And why so, fair Rosalie?” said Florimond, not taking her meaning. “It is incomparably the longest way.'
Sometimes,” replied Rosalie, “ the longest ways may prove the shortest. But, be that as it may, near the gate, which is at that end of the garden, you will see a small rose bush. This morning I saw upon it a beautiful bud. Take the trouble of gathering that bud for my sake. Its fragrance is an emblem of my gratitude to you for
your kindness this afternoon, and the dews of night which are scattered over it will give you some idea of the tears I have shed on account of what has passed this evening."
As Rosalie expected, Florimond flew to the spot she had marked; and, in the mean time, Victor brought Annette to the cottage-door, which he opened quietly, and departed.
Rosalie watched him till he had gained a considerable distance in a contrary direction to that which Florimond was likely to take; and then, turning to her sister, who had entered the room a moment before, she, in a manner the most serious, yet with every token of sisterly love, expostulated with her on her late imprudence.
I shall not enter into a full detail of all that this lovely young woman said to the companion of her youth. Suffice it to say, that she enumerated many of her father's arguments respecting the duty of keeping the Sunday holy, and pointed out the dangers, both spiritual and temporal, which would assuredly ensue to those
who, knowing the will of God, yet obstinately refuse all submission to it. “We have reason, my beloved Annette,” she said, “ to believe that those who, from ignorance, act amiss, are often preserved by their Almighty Father from the ruinous consequences of their follies. Thus he leadeth the blind by ways they know not of, and his arms are round about them, though they are not aware of it. But we, who know the divine will, cannot expect that he will thus preserve us from the consequences of our folly. If we wander from the ways of righteousness, we shall assuredly be made to suffer, my beloved sister; and all we then shall have to hope is, that our sufferings may be only in the flesh.”
Here the affectionate sister, bursting into tears, sunk upon the bosom of the companion of her childhood; neither could Annette, hardened as she was at that period with the selfish desire of pleasure, l'estrain herself from mingling her tears with those of her lovely monitress.
But to proceed with our narrative. — The two sisters had little rest during the remainder of the night. It was morning-dawn before Rosalie fell asleep; and, on awaking an hour afterwards, she saw her sister sitting in the window, leaning her head against its frame, and weeping excessively. Rosalie hoped that these were the tears of contrition, and she saw them with pleasure.
As the village féte continued two days, the amusements of the preceding evening were to be repeated the next evening. Annette appeared to be full of distress during the whole morning of the next day, and Rosalie once saw her take the hand of her sick parent, and kiss it with an expression of tenderness and sorrow. What, then, was her surprise, when she saw her sister preparing, in the afternoon, for the Guinguette!
On this occasion, a strong argument ensued between the sisters. Rosalie wept and expostulated; Annette grew angry; and the sisters parted; Rosalie returning to her mother's bedside, while Annette, having finished her preparations, left the cottage.
Madame de Foix was not in a state to observe either the absence of one daughter, or the agony of the other: her disease pressing heavily upon her, she lay all day in a state of almost entire stupor, while Rosalie sat weeping by her bed.
Rosalie now felt the want of a friend to whom she might express her feelings; for a trifling circumstance the night before had made her sensible of the danger of engaging Florimond in this affair. Thus she sat till the close of evening, when her mother fell asleep, and she had established the little maid in close attendance by her side: after which she repaired to her window in the roof, and stood watching for the return of her sister from the village.
The moon had just appeared above the grove, and the nightingale had commenced her evening song, when she first heard voices at a distance. Presently, she saw two figures approaching. She hoped that one of these might prove to be Annette, but, as the persons advanced, she found her mistake. It was an old cottager, with her daughter, who were returning home from the village. They stopped, nearly opposite the cottage, to ask Rosalie after her mother.
Rosalie, in return, enquired after her sister-“Where did you leave Annette, Neighbour Babette ?” said she: "why does not she come home?”
“ I saw her but now," replied the old woman; “she was with Monique Andelly and her son Victor.”
• Yes,” added the daughter of Babette, “and she has been talking with Victor Andelly all the evening.” Rosalie sighed, and the women proceeded.
In the mean time, minutes and hours passed on, the lapse of time being marked by the progress of the moon in the heavens. It was midnight when the last party returned from the village. It consisted entirely of young men, who laughed and talked gaily. Rosalie hesitated whether she should address them to enquire after her sister, anxiety for her sister at one moment prevailing, and modesty the next. But while she hesitated, they were gone beyond the sound of her voice, and the deep silence which their presence had interrupted again took possession of the solitary scene.
Rosalie remained another hour at the window; when, retiring into the interior of the apartment, she sat down at the foot of the bed, and, weeping bitterly, called upon the name of her sister, as if this ungrateful one were in a situation to hear her.-"Oh! my Annette! my An
nette!” she cried, “and is this the end of all our parents' care?”
Rosalie then endeavoured to console herself by prayer ; and the thought arising that Annette was perhaps sleeping with Monique, she felt thankful for this poor comfort: so being exhausted by fatigue, she fell asleep, and remained sleeping until the little servant came to tell her that her mother asked for her.
It was later than usual when Rosalie went to her mother. She had offices to perform for her which could not be omitted, and these engaged her till it was high day.
As soon as it was possible to leave her mother with the little servant, she ran over to the cottage of Monique. It was a lone building, and was encompassed by a small coppice. Rosalie traversed the wood-way path with precipitate steps and a beating heart; but on reaching the cottage, she found the lower doors and windows shut and fastened. The upper window, which was in the thatch, was open, and this induced her to think that some of the family might be at home. She therefore called aloud, and knocked at the door: but her voice was returned from the woods, and a hollow sound from within was the only answer made to her knocking.
The terror of Rosalie became more excessive during the lapse of every moment; and she was just turning round, to consider whither next she should seek her sister, when her attention was excited by the sound of hasty steps, and Florimond approached. Rosalie advanced to meet him, saying, “You bring me news of my sister: I know that your friendly eye has watched her. Where is she? is she safe? 0, tell me she is safe, and willing to return to her mother, and
you will engage my gratitude for ever.”
“Ah, lovely Rosalie," said Florimond, “ would that I could so engage your gratitude!”
Rosalie changed colour.
eye of Florimond was fixed on her varying countenance: nevertheless, he was surprised at the extreme grief which she exhibited, when he told her that her sister had left the village early in the morning with Monique and Victor.
“Oh! my father! Oh! my mother!” exclaimed Rosalie, lifting up her beautiful eyes and clasped hands; “and thou, my sister! my Annette!”–Here a flood of tears came to her relief, and she sunk upon a bench on the outside of the cottage-door, while she took up her lawn apron to wipe the tears which poured from her eyes.
In the mean time, Florimond endeavoured to comfort her, assuring her that Monique would not leave her sister, he was well convinced, till she saw her marriageceremony properly performed.
“I believe your assertion," replied the weeping Rosalie. “Nevertheless, I am miserable: for what is the man whom she has chosen for her husband ? --one whose first lesson was to teach her to abandon her mother, and contemn the precepts of her God! Oh! my sister! my friend! my companion!”
Here the lovely Rosalie began to weep again, and that with so much bitterness, that Florimond, no longer able to command those feelings which had long occupied his mind, earnestly besought her to give him a legal right henceforward to become her friend, her protector, and her comforter.
Rosalie, startled at this unexpected avowal of affection, unconsciously looked up to him, as if it were to discover, by his countenance, the sincerity of his profession; when, observing in his bosom the fading rosebud which he had gathered from her tree and worn from that time, the colour returned to her pale cheek, and, looking on the ground, she permitted him to interpret her silence as the most favourable evidence of her regard. Neither did he press the matter further at that time; but, accompanying her back to her mother's house, he left her, with renewed expressions of esteem and respectful love.
From that period till the partial restoration of the health of Madame de Foix, which was much retarded by the melancholy news she was obliged to hear of the misconduct of Annette, Florimond refrained from pressing his suit with Rosalie, although he evidenced his regard by every terder and amiable attention paid both to the parent and the daughter; not one of which was so acceptable to Rosalie as his entire abandonment of