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the Guinguette, and his devotion of those hours which its vain pleasures had once employed to the observance of religious duties and the study of the Scriptures. He had made it his first object, from the time of his first seriously thinking of Rosalie for a wife, to procure a copy of the Holy Scriptures. And although at that period, which was about the middle of the last century, copies of the Holy Bible were not easily procured; yet, as the bread of life is seldom long withheld from those to whom the Holy Spirit has given a desire to seek it, the young man was so much favoured in his enquiry, that the desired treasure was obtained by him more easily than he had at first expected.
When Madame de Foix was so far recovered as to leave her bed, and listen to the word of God, Florimond obtained permission to spend his Sabbath evenings in reading to her; and as it pleased the Almighty to restore to her the comfortable use of her mental faculties, he was not a little profited by her pious and enlightened comments on the sacred volume. It was after a few hours spent in this manner on a certain Sabbath evening, that this young man first opened to the mother the state of his feelings towards her daughter, assuring her that his regards had been fixed by Rosalie's pious care of an afflicted mother, and her holy resolution to abstain from the vain pleasures of the Guinguette. This communication was received with undisguised satisfaction both by the mother and the daughter.
From this time a familiar intercourse was maintained between the young people, till Madame de Foix was sufficiently recovered to be present at the marriage-ceremony, when Rosalie became the happy wife of Florimond: the venerable mother was then removed from the cottage to the farm of her son-in-law, where the young people continued to pay her every respect and every sweet attention calculated to console her under the afAliction which she could not but feel on account of her misguided Annette.
Having thus happily established the elder daughter of Madame de Foix, pointing out at the same time how true piety ennobles the female character, and renders it estimable in the eyes of the other sex,-adding charms to beauty, and permanence to love, we return to the unhappy Annette, who, in seeking what is improperly called pleasure, lost that which alone deserves the name.
Monique, who had persuaded Annette to go off with her son, did not leave the young people till she had seen them united in marriage. She then returned to her own , village, and Victor went to join his regiment, accompa-. nied by his bride.
The regiment to which Victor was attached, lay, as I before remarked, in the little frontier town of Hesdin, in Artois. Hesdin is a fortified town, and stands in a swampy country, where the air all around it is stagnant and offensive; and, in addition to this, the extremely dirty customs of its inhabitants, most of whom are manufacturers of cloth, render the place still more disagreeable than it would otherwise be.
It was to a large brick barrack, lying under the high embankments of the fortifications of this town, that Vic.tor brought his wife; and it was in a corner of a large barrack-room, filled with persons of coarse and profligate habits, where he first established the woman whom he had brought from one of the most beautiful and fertile parts of Normandy.
Annette shrunk with horror from the scene which first presented itself in this barrack, neither did she l'efrain from uttering her dissatisfaction in the hearing of her husband. He was, in consequence, offended, and let her know as much; and thus added to her distress by giving her a new view of the character of the man to whom she had indissolubly joined herself. For although Victor could make himself very agreeable at the Guinguette, and in scenes of festivity, like too many of his countrymen, he possessed very few qualities capable of rendering him a pleasing companion in domestic life.
From that period, disputes between Victor and his wife became frequent; and although some months elapsed before he seemed to lose all regard for her, yet their married life was constantly chequered by scenes of discord, which ended with oaths on his part, and tears and reproaches on hers.
In the mean time, the manner in which Annette spent her days cannot easily be understood by persons who have never seen any thing of this kind. Annette lived, as I have before said, in a corner of an immense room,
where there were a few women, some children, and a number of men. These last were occupied, during their leisure hours, in smoking, singing, and scrawling upon the walls, or entertaining each other with vain discourse. The women, in fine weather, lived much out of doors, sitting in groups upon the sides of the
embankments of the fort; and, being thus continually exposed to the sun and air, acquired an extreme coarseness of appearance. On Sundays, many of these persons flocked out of the city-gates to places of public resort, where they spent the evenings in dancing and regaling themselves with beer and cakes, or with the ordinary wine of the country. Many among this company were open infidels, and others grossly superstitious, very few of them shewing any regard to morality. It is not therefore much to be wondered at, if the duties of marriage were wantonly and grossly neglected among them; insomuch as to expose the man to open ridicule who was observed to manifest any attachment to his wife.
In this wretched scene, Annette lingered out a year, her situation with her husband becoming every day more uncomfortable. The regiment about that time changed its quarters, and was removed to another town on the frontier, where Annette found her situation much as before.
In the mean time, this miserable young woman had the prospect of becoming a mother; on which occasion she wrote to her own mother, imploring her pardon as well as that of her sister, and confessing that she was now made sensible of the extent of her sin against God and man.
My first grand offence,” she said, despising and hating the rest of the Lord's-day, and now I am deprived of all rest.”
This pathetic letter obtained the pardon of her mother and her sister ; nevertheless, they could not restore the unhappy sufferer to the state of happiness from which she had fallen. However, they wrote to her, endeavoured to comfort her, and pressed upon her the duty of endeavouring to conciliate the respect and affection of her husband.
In process of time, poor Annette became the mother of a son: and now new anxieties were awakened in her breast for the fate of a child dependent upon such a father; so
that, during her confinement after the birth of her child, she was extremely low. Notwithstanding which, with a levity of which there are innumerable examples in that nation, as soon as her health was restored, she repaired, with her infant, to the Guinguette, and, to all appearance, in as high spirits as any one present.
In this manner Annette spent some months after the birth of her son; sometimes very much oppressed with sorrow; and, at other times, carried away by that extravagant love of amusement which forms one striking characteristic of the French nation, and which is the constant attendant of a disordered mind;--- when suddenly her affairs took a turn which she had not foreseen, and which filled her with shame and horror.
While the regiment lay in the frontier town before mentioned, a woman arrived in the barracks who claimed Victor Andelly for her husband, and proved her marriage in a manner which could not be disputed. It seems, that Victor had married her in some remote place in which he had sojourned, either before he had entered the army, or while he served in another regiment. This former marriage was unknown to his mother; and, as he had been parted some years from his wife, he flattered himself that he should never hear more of her. It seems, however, that he had lately become so weary of Annette, who had on many occasions displayed an excessive irritability of temper, that he was not sorry for this occasion of shaking her off.
The unfeeling conduct of Andelly on this trying occasion, as well as the view which it had given Annette of his extreme want of principle, so thoroughly shocked and disgusted her, that, collecting what little money she could, and taking her infant in her arms, she quitted the man she had once called her husband, and endeavoured to make her way towards her once-loved home. Her money, however, failed while she was still at a considerable distance from her mother's habitation, so that she was obliged to sell all the clothes she possibly could spare. This resource would probably have proved sufficient, had she not fallen ill in a little village at which she arrived in a cart. Before however she was able to leave that village, she had exhausted almost her last sous; insomuch, that she was compelled to part with some of her infant's clothes which she had hitherto spared, and to make her few last stages on foot, almost without nourishment; while her infant, who now began to suffer severely from want and fatigue, lay almost expiring in her arms.
It was Sunday, a fine evening in July, when Annette arrived within a few miles of Tostes; and now she remembered, with a degree of agony which can scarcely be conceived, that it was the day of the village féte, two years precisely from the period of her first heavy transgression. Almost fainting, she stopped at a small inn by the road, and asked for some slight nourishment for herself and her child, in the name of that God whose ordinances she had once so wilfully transgressed. Her extreme pallid and melancholy appearance excited pity, and the good woman of the house gave her some milk. She was about to drink it; but her infant, lifting up its languid head and parched lips, she held it to its mouth, when, with the eagerness of exhaustion, it swallowed all. “ You are welcome, my baby,” said the poor mother, “though it be my last drop." She then went forward, while the infant sunk into a feverish sleep on the arms of his parent, who was scarcely able longer to support him.
She now pursued her journey, engaged in making reflections of the most painful nature.
She reached at length the entrance of the village. Every object now reminded her of happier days. She passed several persons whom she knew, but no one recognized her. She sat down again to rest; and again went forward. She then came to the opening which leads to the marketplace; on one side of which is the church, and, on the other, the inn. At the sight of these well-known objects, she was ready to faint: but, fearing observation, she walked round the church, and, sitting down on a grave, laid her infant from her arms upon her knees. He was asleep. She gazed a while on his sweet pale face. He started several times in his sleep, and his features were drawn with slight convulsions, every one of which shot like an arrow to the parent's heart. The idea that he was going to die inexpressibly terrified her. He began to struggle. She lifted up his head. He opened his eyes, and, with a violent effort, cast the milk from his stomach; after which, a cold sweat covering