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“The only persons ?”

deservedly, has been as dear to me as-as "In our unhappy family.” She touched you are toher breast with a sudden tragic gesture. Durham pushed his chair back with a "I, for instance, whose help you ask-if sharp exclamation. you could guess how I need help myself!” “Ah, even that does not move you!" she

She had dropped her light manner as she said. might have tossed aside her fan, and he was The cry restored him to his senses by the startled at the intimacy of misery to which long shaft of light it sent down the dark her look and movement abruptly admitted windings of the situation. He seemed sudhim. Perhaps no Anglo-Saxon fully under. denly to know Madame de Treymes as if stands the fluency in self-revelation which he had been brought up with her in the incenturies of the confessional have given to scrutable shades of the Hôtel de Malrive. the Latin races, and to Durham, at any rate, She, on her side, appeared to have a Madame de Treymes' sudden avowal gave startled but uncomprehending sense of the the shock of a physical abandonment. fact that his silence was no longer completely

“I am so sorry," he stammered—“'is there sympathetic, that her touch called forth any way in which I can be of use to you?” no answering vibration; and she made a

She sat before him with her hands clasped, desperate clutch at the one chord she could her eyes fixed on his in a terrible intensity of be certain of sounding. appeal. "If you would-if you would! Oh, “You have asked a great deal of methere is nothing I would not do for you. I much more than you can guess. have still a great deal of influence with my mean to give me nothing-not even your mother, and what my mother commands we sympathy-in return? Is it because you all do. I could help you-I am sure I could have heard horrors of me? When are they help you; but not if my own situation were not said of a woman who is married unhapknown. And if nothing can be done it must pily? Perhaps not in your fortunate counbe known in a few days."

try, where she may seek liberation without Durham had reseated himself at her side. dishonour. But here--! You who have seen "Tell me what I can do,” he said in a low the consequences of our disastrous marriages tone, forgetting his own preoccupations in you who may yet be the victim of our cruel his genuine concern for her distress. and abominable system; have you no pity

She looked up at him through tears. for one who has suffered in the same way, “How dare I? Your race is so cautious, and without the possibility of release ?” She so self-controlled-you have so little in- paused, laying her hand on his arm with a dulgence for the extravagances of the heart. smile of deprecating irony. “It is not beAnd my folly has been incredible—and un- cause you are not rich. At such times the rewarded.” She paused, and as Durham crudest way is the shortest, and I don't prewaited in a silence which she guessed to be tend to deny that I know I am asking you a compassionate, she brought out below her trifle. You Americans, when you want a breath: “I have lent money—my hus- thing, always pay ten times what it is worth, band's, my brother's—money that was not and I am giving you the wonderful chance to mine, and now I have nothing to repay it get what you most want at a bargain.” with.”

Durham sat silent, her little gloved hand Durham gazed at her in genuine aston- burning his coat-sleeve as if it had been a ishment. The turn the conversation had hot iron. His brain was tingling with the taken led quite beyond his uncomplicated shock of her confession. She wanted money, experiences with the other sex.

She saw

a great deal of money: that was clear, but his surprise, and extended her hands in it was not the point. She was ready to sell deprecation and er treaty. “Alas, what her influence, and he fancied she could be must you think of me? How can I explain counted on to fulfil her side of the bargain. my humiliating myself before a stranger? The fact that he could so trust her seemed Only by telling you the whole truth—the only to make her more terrible to himfact that I am not alone in this disaster, more supernaturally dauntless and baleful. that I could not confess my situation to my For what was it that she exacted of him? family without ruining myself, and involv- She had said she must have money to pay ing in my ruin some one who, however un- her debts; but he knew that was only a pre

text which she scarcely expected him to be fastened themselves eagerly on the words. lieve. She wanted the money for some one Had she not always warned him that there else; that was what her allusion to a fel. was nothing so misleading as their plain. low-victim meant. She wanted it to pay ness? And might it not be that, in spite of the Prince's gambling debts—it was at that his advisedness, he had suffered too easy a price that Durham was to buy the right to rebuff? But second thoughts reminded him marry Fanny de Malrive.

that the refusal had not been as uncondiOnce the situation had worked itself out tional as his necessary reservations made it in his mind, he found himself unexpectedly seem in the repetition; and that, furtherrelieved of the necessity of weighing the ar- more, it was his own act, and not that of guments for and against it. All the tradi- his opponents, which had determined it. tional forces of his blood were in revolt, and The impossibility of revealing this to Mahe could only surrender himself to their dame de Malrive only made the difficulty pressure, without thought of compromise shut in more darkly around him, and in the or parley.

completeness of his discouragement he He stood up in silence, and the abrupt- scarcely needed her reminder of his promise ness of his movement caused Madame de to regard the subject as closed when once Treymes' hand to slip from his arm. the other side had defined its position.

"You refuse?” she exclaimed; and He was secretly confirmed in this acceptanswered with a bow: “Only because of the ance of his fate by the knowledge that it return you propose to make me.”

was really he who had defined the position. She stood staring at him, in a perplexity Even now that he was alone with Madame so genuine and profound that he could al- de Malrive, and subtly aware of the strugmost have smiled at it through his disgust. gle under her composure, he felt no tempta

“Ah, you are all incredible,” she mur- tion to abate his stand by a jot. He had mured at last, stooping to repossess herself not yet formulated a reason for his resistof her fan; and as she moved past him to ance: he simply went on feeling, more and rejoin the group in the farther room, she more strongly with every precious sign of added in an incisive undertone: "You are her participation in his unhappiness, that quite at liberty to repeat our conversation he could neither owe his escape from it to to your friend!”

such a transaction, nor suffer her, innoVII

cently, to owe hers.

The only mitigating effect of his deterDURHAM did not take advantage of the mination was in an increase of helpless permission thus strangely flung at him: of tenderness toward her; so that, when she his talk with her sister-in-law he gave to exclaimed, in answer to his announcement Madame de Malrive only that part which that he meant to leave Paris the next night: concerned her.

“Oh, give me a day or two longer!” he at Presenting himself for this purpose, the once resigned himself to saying: “If I can day after Mrs. Boykin's dinner, he found be of the least use, I'll give you a hundred." his friend alone with her son; and the sight She answered sadly that all he could do of the child had the effect of dispelling what would be to let her feel that he was thereever illusive hopes had attended him to the just for a day or two, till she had readthreshold. Even after the governess's de: justed herself to the idea of going on in the scent upon the scene had left Madame de old way; and on this note of renunciation Malrive and her visitor alone, the little boy's they parted. presence seemed to hover admonishingly But Durham, however pledged to the between them, reducing to a bare statement passive part, could not long sustain it withof fact Durham's confession of the total out rebellion. To “hang round” the shut failure of his errand.

door of his hopes seemed, after two long Madame de Malrive heard the confession days, more than even his passion required calmly; she had been too prepared for it of him; and on the third he despatched a not to have prepared a countenance to re- note of goodbye to his friend. He was goceive it. Her first comment was: “I have ing off for a few weeks, he explained-his never known them to declare themselves so mother and sisters wished to be taken to plainly” and Durham's baffled hopes the Italian lakes: but he would return to Paris, and say his real farewell to her, be- Durham, at this statement, had to refore sailing for America in July.

press a fresh sound of amazement; but He had not intended his note to act as an with her hands in his, and, a moment after, ultimatum: he had no wish to surprise her whole self drawn to him in the first Madame de Malrive into unconsidered sur- yielding of her lips, doubt perforce gave render. When, almost immediately, his way to the lover's happy conviction that own messenger returned with a reply from such love was after all too strong for the her, he even felt a pang of disappointment, powers of darkness. a momentary fear lest she should have It was only when they sat again in the stooped a little from the high place where blissful after-calm of their understanding, his passion had preferred to leave her; but that he felt the pricking of an unappeased her first words turned his fear into re- distrust. joicing.

“Did Madame de Treymes give you any “Let me see you before you go: something reason for this change of front?” he risked extraordinary has happened," she wrote. asking, when he found the distrust was not

What had happened, as he heard from otherwise to be quelled. her a few hours later-finding her in a “Oh, yes: just what I've said. It was tremor of frightened gladness, with her really her admiration of youof your attidoor boldly closed to all the world but him- tude-your delicacy. She said that at self-was nothing less extraordinary than a first she hadn't believed in it: they're alvisit from Madame de Treymes, who had ways looking for a hidden motive. And come, officially delegated by the family, to when she found that yours was staring at announce that Monsieur de Malrive had her in the actual words you said: that you decided not to oppose his wife's suit for di- really respected my scruples, and would vorce. Durham, at the news, was almost never, never try to coerce or entrap meafraid to show himself too amazed; but his something in her-poor Christiane!-ansmall signs of alarm and wonder were swal. swered to it, she told me, and she wanted to lowed up in the flush of Madame de Mal- prove to us that she was capable of, underrive's incredulous joy.

standing us too. If you knew her history "It's the long habit, you know, of not be- you'd find it wonderful and pathetic that lieving them-of looking for the truth al- she can!” ways in what they don't say. It took me Durham thought he knew enough of it to hours and hours to convince myself that infer that Madame de Treymes had not been there's no trick under it, that there can't be the object of many conscientious scruples on any,” she explained.

the part of the opposite sex; but this in“Then you are convinced now?” es- creased rather his sense of the strangeness caped from Durham; ,but the shadow of than of the pathos of her action. Yet his question lingered no more than the flit Madame de Malrive, whom he had once of a wing across her face.

inwardly taxed with the morbid raising of “I am convinced because the facts are obstacles, seemed to see none now, and he there to reassure me. Christiane tells me could only infer that her sister-in-law's acthat Monsieur de Malrive has consulted his tual words had carried more conviction lawyers, and that they have advised him to than reached him in the repetition of them. free me. Maître Enguerrand has been in- The mere fact that he had so much to gain structed to see my lawyer whenever I wish by leaving his friend's faith undisturbed it. They quite understand that I never was no doubt stirring his own suspicions to should have taken the step in face of any unnatural activity; and this sense gradually opposition on their part-I am so thankful reasoned him back into acceptance of her to you for making that perfectly clear to view, as the most normal as well as the them!—and I suppose this is the return pleasantest he could take. their pride makes to mine. For they can be proud collectively-" She broke off,

VIII and added, with happy hands outstretched: “And I owe it all to you-Christiane said The uneasiness thus temporarily reit was your talk with her that had con- pressed slipped into the final disguise of vinced them.”

hoping he should not again meet Madame

de Treymes; and in this wish he was sec It was so unlike his conception of the way onded by the decision, in which Madame in which, under the most adverse circumde Malrive concurred, that it would be well stances, Madame de Treymes would be for him to leave Paris while the preliminary likely to occupy her time, that Durham was negotiations were going on. He committed conscious of a note of scepticism in his query. her interests to the best professional care, “Poor thing—if you saw her you would and his mother, resigning her dream of the feel nothing but pity. She is suffering so lakes, remained to fortify Madame de Mal- horribly that I reproach myself for being rive by her mild unimaginative view of the happy under the same roof.” transaction, as an uncomfortable but com Durham met this with a tender pressure monplace necessity, like house-cleaning or of her hand; then he said, after a pause of dentistry. Mrs. Durham would doubtless reflection: “I should like to see her.” have preferred that her onlyson, even with his He hardly knew what prompted him to hair turning gray, should have chosen a Fan- utter the wish, unless it were a sudden stir ny Frisbee rather than a Fanny de Malrive; of compunction at the memory of his own but it was a part of her acceptance of life on dealings with Madame de Treymes. Had a general basis of innocence and kindliness, he not sacrificed the poor creature to a purely that she entered generously into his dream fantastic conception of conduct? She had of rescue and renewal, and devoted herself said that she knew she was asking a trifle of without after-thought to keeping up Fanny's him; and the fact that, materially, it would courage with so little to spare for herself. have been a trifle, had seemed at the moment

The process, the lawyers declared, would only an added reason for steeling himself in not be a long one, since Monsieur de Mal- his moral resistance to it. But now that he rive's acquiescence reduced it to a formality; had gained his point-and through her own and when, at the end of June, Durham re- generosity, as it still appeared-the largeness turned from Italy with Katy and Nannie, of her attitude made his own seem cramped there seemed no reason why he should not and petty. Since conduct, in the last resort, stop in Paris long enough to learn what must be judged by its enlarging or diminishprogress had been made.

ing effect on character, might it not be that But before he could learn this he was to the zealous weighing of the moral anise and hear, on entering Madame de Malrive's cummin was less important than the unconpresence, news more immediate if less per- sidered lavishing of the precious ointment? sonal. He found her, in spite of her glad- At any rate, he could enjoy no peace of mind ness in his return, so evidently preoccupied under the burden of Madame de Treymes? and distressed that his first thought wasone magnanimity, and when he had assured of fear for their own future. But she read himself that his own affairs were progressand dispelled this by saying, before he could ing favourably, he once more, at the risk of put his question: "Poor Christiane is here. surprising his betrothed, brought up the She is very unhappy. You have seen in the possibility of seeing her relative. papers—?

Madame de Malrive evinced no surprise. "I have seen no papers since we left Tu- “It is natural, knowing what she has done rin. What has happened?"

for us, that you should want to show her “The Prince d'Armillac has come to your sympathy. The difficulty is that it is grief. There has been some terrible scandal just the one thing you can't show her. You about money and he has been obliged to can thank her, of course, for ourselves, but leave France to escape arrest."

even that at the moment“And Madame de Treymes has left her "Would seem brutal? Yes, I recognize husband?"

that I should have to choose my words,” he “Ah, no, poor creature: they don't leave admitted, guiltily conscious that his capabiltheir husbands—they can't. But de Treymes ity of dealing with Madame de Treymes has gone down to their place in Brittany, extended far beyond her sister-in-law's conand as my mother-in-law is with another jecture. daughter in Auvergne, Christiane came here Madame de Malrive still hesitated. “I for a few days. With me, you see, she need can tell her; and when you come back tonot pretend-she can cry her eyes out.” “And that is what she is doing?”

It had been decided that, in the interests


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of discretion-the interests, in other words, Dear Christiane, may I leave Mr. Durof the poor little future Marquis de Mal- ham in your charge for two minutes? I rive-Durham was to remain but two days have promised Nannie that she shall see in Paris, withdrawing then with his family the boy put to bed.” till the conclusion of the divorce proceed Madame de Treymes made no audible reings permitted him to return in the ac- sponse to this request, but when the door knowledged character of Madame de Mal- had closed on the other ladies she said, lookrive's future husband. Even on this occa- ing quietly at Durham: “I don't think that, sion, he had not come to her alone; Nan- in this house, your time will hang so heavy nie Durham, in the adjoining room, was that you need my help in supporting it.” chatting conspicuously with the little Mar Durham met her glance frankly. "It quis, whom she could with difficulty be re was not for that reason that Madame de strained from teaching to call her “Aunt Malrive asked you to remain with me." Nannie.” Durham thought her voice had “Why, then? Surely not in the interest risen unduly once or twice during his visit, of preserving appearances, since she is and when, on taking leave, he went to sum- safely upstairs with your sister?” mon her from the inner room, he found the “No; but simply because I asked her to. higher note of ecstasy had been evoked by I told her I wanted to speak to you." the appearance of Madame de Treymes, "How you arrange things! And what and that the little boy, himself absorbed in reason can you have for wanting to speak a new toy of Durham's bringing, was being to me?" bent over by an actual as well as a potential He paused a moment. “Can't you imaunt.

agine? The desire to thank you for what Madame de Treymes raised herself with you have done." a slight start at Durham's approach: she She stirred restlessly, turning to adjust had her hat on, and had evidently paused her hat before the glass above the mantela moment on her way out to speak with piece. Nannie, without expecting to be surprised “Oh, as for what I have done!" by her sister-in-law's other visitor. But

“Don't speak as

you regretted it,” he her surprises never wore the awkward form interposed. of embarrassment, and she smiled beautiful She turned back to him with a flash of lyon Durham as he took her extended hand. laughter lighting up the haggardness of her

The smile was made the more appealing face. “Regret working for the happiness of by the way in which it lit up the ruin of her two such excellent persons? Can't you fancy small dark face, which looked seared and what a charming change it is for me to do hollowed as by a flame that might have something so innocent and beneficent?” spread over it from her fevered eyes. Dur He moved across the room and went up ham, accustomed to the pale inward grief of to her, drawing down the hand which still the inexpressive races, was positively startled flitted experimentally about her hat. by the way in which she seemed to have been “Don't talk in that way, however much openly stretched on the pyre; he almost felt one of the persons of whom you speak may an indelicacy in the ravages so tragically have deserved it.” confessed.

“One of the persons? Do you mean me?” The sight caused an involuntary read He released her hand, but continued to justment of his whole view of the situation, face her resolutely. “I mean myself, as and made him, as far as his own share in it you know. You have been generous-exwent, more than ever inclined to extremi- traordinarily generous.” ties of self-disgust. With him such sensa “Ah, but I was doing good in a good tions required, for his own relief, some im- cause. You have made me see that there mediate penitential escape, and as Madame is a distinction.” de Treymes turned toward the door he ad He flushed to the forehead. “I am here dressed a glance of entreaty to his betrothed. to let you say whatever you choose to me."

Madame de Malrive, whose intelligence “Whatever I choose?” She made a slight could be counted on at such moments, re- gesture of deprecation. “Has it never ocsponded by laying a detaining hand on her curred to you that I may conceivably choose sister-in-law's arm.

to say nothing?" VOL. XL.-20

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