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The King of Five Years Old.

41

oh! let me pass-I must save my promised forth with terror, “ Gentlemen, I beg of you do bride, whom they are cruelly carrying off. Oh! me no injury. Here are twenty louis; I am let me pass.”

sorry I have not more to offer your lordships, “You are a madman, Thierry; if anybody is but I shall perhaps be more fortunate at our really carrying off your intended wife, she shall | next encounter." be pursued, and restored to you; but you must “ Alas!" replied Thierry, half raising himself, remain at your post; it is at the sacrifice of your "I am not what you think; I am a poor wounded life if you quit it.

soldier, and implore, for pity's sake, a place in “Oh, leave me, leave me!" replied Thierry. your carriage to return to Paris; my life will be Do you not see how swiftly they go; already | forfeit if I arrive not speedily.” they are out of sight!”

During this speech the coachman and his Thierry," continued the officer, holding master had had time to examine Thierry, and to him still more tightly, “ if you do not return be convinced that no danger was to be appreinstantly to your post, I must arrest you." hended from him. The old man replied to his

The only answer Thierry returned to this supplication with all the anger of a re-assured (despair had redoubled his strength) was to coward, who feels himself to have the advantage. knock the officer down.

“ Are you mad, friend? Do you believe that Some soldiers, who had been attracted by the I, Philippe Courcillon, Marquis de Dangeau, have noise, raised the captain, who pointed out to nothing more to do than take care of all the them the fugitive Thierry

adventurers who lose themselves upon the high “ Poor Thierry !” said one of them, drying a road, when I am engaged on the King's service? tear; “it is a great pity; he was a good Is it not enough, think you, to have exposed me comrade."

to an attack of pleurisy in making me get out of my carriage into the night air?”

** Have pity!" repeated Thierry.

“ Sapierre,” cried Dangeau, “ remount your Chap. V.

box, and proceed to Paris.”

“Oh! if you knew how I suffered !” said Thierry, notwithstanding, continued his chase Thierry. . after the carriage. At length, the noise of the “ Well, but,” replied the Marquis, “it seems wheels was heard anew, and he began to per- to me that you wear the uniform of the soldiers ceive it through the gathering darkness; yet of the guard ! Pardieu, you can tell me, perone more effort and he would reach it, when haps, if I shall find at Paris or at Versailles one his foot came in violent contact with a stone, of your comrades, named Thierry.” and he fell, thrown forward by the violence • What do you want with him?" said Thierry, of the shock. He tried in vain, a few moments starting. after, to move his legs, which were paralyzed “I would, with all my heart, send him to the with the cramp. In terrible agony he seemed infernal regions, so much do I hate him,” reas it were rooted to the ground.

plied Dangeau; “it is impossible for any genHe must then renounce all hope of regaining | tleman to have been more abused than I have Marceline. To this thought of anguish another been, through this fellow. Two days ago I was was united : it was that he would be certainly obliged, notwithstanding the inclemency of the pursued. To escape his pursuers he dragged weather, to set out, in order to obtain his himself with difficulty to a ditch, where the discharge.” darkness of the night would prevent his being “ Is it possible!” exclaimed Thierry. perceived. A few moments after some mounted “At last,” continued Dangeau, “I have it; dragoons passed, casting here and there scru- but in my endeavours I have added the finishing tinizing glances, but without discovering the stroke of a cold to my habitual cough. The object of their search.

King wills that I should remit this act to a cerBut poor Thierry had another enemy to com tain Marceline, who lives at Versailles ; and I bat: it was pain. His torture became intole have just been told that she has gone to Paris, rable, and he regretted that he had not rather where I must follow her at all risks, in obedience accepted captivity or death. The night advanced; to the King's commands. But if I could only the road at this spot was quite deserted; the meet with this soldier, I think now it would come cries and groans of the unhappy man were lost to the same thing." in the gloom. At length he heard the roll of a “ Heaven be praised !” ejaculated Thierry, carriage; he resolved, whatever might happen, whose very life seemed to hang upon the lips of to implore the pity of those to whom it belonged, the Marquis : “it is I who am Thierry; this and approaching the edge of the ditch, in a voice | discharge is my own; the woman of whom you which combined the whole strength of his speak is my betrothed. They have carried her despair, he cried, “ Stop!”

off, that she may fall into an infamous snare! The vehicle seemed petrified. A trembling In the name of mercy, Monsieur le Marquis, voice repeated, addressing itself to the coach- / give me a place in your carriage, that we may man, “Stop!” and the coachman descended hasten to Paris, to save and avenge her!” from his box, and threw himself down with his “ Truly," replied Dangeau, “ I am nearer my face to the ground. An old man wrapped in bed in Versailles than I am to my bed in Paris ; furs showed himself at the door, and stammered | so I shall return thither. As to you, my friend,

here is your discharge; you are free to go where with any message from him. At length, more you please.”

dead than alive, she allowed them to convey her “Ah! how would you have me move from to the coach, which was to conduct her to Saint here?" cried Thierry. “I am suffering so dread-Germain-des-Près. fully from cramp that it well nigh maddens Suddenly a carriage stopped before the house; me.

a man in uniform alighted from it, and, supported “ If you think proper to have the cramp," re- by a servant, advanced with difficulty towards plied Dangeau, “I cannot help it; the King did Marceline, who uttered a cry of joy. not understand, among all the tribulations he “Enter the house," said he to Madame Ferhas imposed upon me, that there were cramps rand; “ I must speak with you." to cure. All I can propose to you is to take “Well, my brave soldier!" rejoined Duval you back with me to Versailles.”

ironically, “ But she is not at Versailles ! And if we “I am no longer a soldier," said Thierry; wait she may perhaps be lost; and think you " and woe be to those who shall force me again not that the King will demand from you an to draw a sword.” honourable account of the security of the young “Send this lame fellow to the hospital," cried girl for whom he is so deeply interested ?" Duval. “Come, mother-in-law."

“ It is perhaps true," said Dangeau, sighing “A moment," said Monsieur de Dangeau, in and trembling at the same time with cold and a hoarse voice, as he alighted in his turn from weakness. “I shall be seriously ill, I am sure; the carriage. but I must weigh the future. Come, Sapierre, At the sight of himn Duval gave an involunhelp this man into my carriage! A soldier of tary start, stopped, and at a sign from the Marthe guards in the carriage of the Marquis de quis, everybody re-entered the house. Dangeau, Dangeau !" sighed he, as he saw him mount. who, notwithstanding the increase of his cold, “Ah! if it were not for the future!”

| had resolved to make a last effort in favour of When Thierry was stretched upon the cushions the King's protégée, witnessed to all the great the coachman continued his way.

interest that the young Louis XV. took in the "To-morrow morning we will set off in quest | union of Marceline and Thierry. Madame Ferof la belle," said the Marquis.”

rand, affrighted, consented, unmindful of the “Not until to-morrow!” repeated Thierry, representations of Duval, to wait for the present his heart full of anguish.

without concluding anything.

“At length,” replied Dangeau, wiping the perspiration from his forehead, “you are going

to be happy, and I am going to take some CHAP, VI,

repose. I really believe that if it were to gain

the cordon of an order, I would not step outside Madame Ferrand had been informed by an of my door until I was thoroughly and comofficious neighbour, that her niece had seen pletely restored to health. Thierry at Versailles, and that she had gained. At this moment a domestic entered hastily. in this visit new strength to resist her will. She “Monsieur le Marquis,” said he, “a very felt persuaded there were no other means of pressing letter has arrived for you from Vermaking her obey than by separating her from sailles.' her accomplice in rebellion, and it was she her-' “Allons,” cried the Marquis, “the King is ill; self, in concert with Monsieur Duval, who had | I must return instantly to Versailles. If I were planned this hasty attack. It was in vain that not among the first to make inquiries respecting Marceline, who was continually expecting a him, it would be all over with my future prosmessage from the King, resisted to the best of pects.” And descending as precipitately as the her power. In vain had she spoken of the aid dropsy would allow him, he threw himself into which the young monarch lent her; this revela- the carriage. tion only served to redouble the anger of Ma- “ The King ill!” exclaimed Marceline; "we dame Ferrand, who besides felt herself sure of are deprived of our only protector. Fortunately the protection of the Regent. They had con- you have your discharge, Thierry. veyed the poor girl to the house of Duval's “You are not yet married," rejoined Duval, uncle, where everything was prepared for the jeeringly; "and in the mean time recollect you accomplishment of the marriage on the following are in my house.” morning, without further delay; they feared to “I do not forget it,” replied Marceline. celebrate it at Marly, where the young soldier “Aunt, let us return to our own home, and take had too many friends.

this poor Thierry with us into the country, as he Marceline at first defended herself courage- is now free.” ously against the persecutions by which she was Madame Ferrand mechanically followed Marsurrounded. During the night Madame Ferrand celine, who supported Thierry. Arrived at the uselessly employed all her arts of persuasion; door, they found posted there a detachment of but, towards the middle of the following morn- dragoons. ing, partly through lassitude, partly through “Thierry,” said the commander, “we arrest terror, the poor girl offered only a weak resist-you, for deserting your post and striking an ance. A peasant, whom she secretly despatched officer. You will appear to-morrow before a to Versailles to inform Thierry, had not returned | court-martial,”

The King of Five Years Old.

“But he is no longer a soldier,” cried Mar-1 “ But, oh! reflect,” implored Marceline, “a celine. “He has his discharge.”

man's life is at stake. In a few hours he must “Yes, now," replied the dragoon; “ but he perish! The King himself will thank you for had it not when the offence was committed, having saved Thierry; he will never pardon you, and nothing can prevent justice from taking if you neglect to warn him of his danger.” its course. Mademoiselle," added he, turning The Marquis de Dangeau appeared shaken towards Marceline, “it is doubtlessly to you we for a moment; he even made a few steps towards should return this billet, brought this morning the royal apartment; but all at once he drew by a peasant to Thierry's barrack, and which back, as if the spectre of etiquette had risen behas enabled us to track our prisoner.”

fore him. “Ah! it is I who have been the cause of

“No,” said he; “ enter the King's presence this," murmured the wretched girl.

without permission? I can never do it!" "I told you,"exclaimed Duval, triumphantly, “Oh, Heavens!” murmured the miserable “that you were not yet married.”

Marceline, “must he then be left to die?"

At this moment one of the King's valets approached the Marquis.

“ The King has seen you from the window, CHAP. VII.

Monsieur le Marquis," said he; “and has or

dered me to conduct you to him, as well as this Two days after the events recorded in the last young girl, by the secret staircase. chapter, the Marquis de Dangeau, still suffering | “Ah! we are saved! My God, thou hast severely from cold, had risen early in the morn-heard me," said Marceline, fervently, ing to inquire after the health of the young King, She swiftly followed the steps of the valet, who, although convalescent, was not permitted | leaving very far behind her the Marquis de Danto see any one. He was returning to his apart-geau, to whom there belonged no youthful attri. ments in Versailles, when, as he was traversing bute, excepting always his courtier-like zeal, the court-yard, he felt his arm gently touched, “What," exclaimed the young monarch, when and turning, beheld Marceline pale, full of the weeping Marceline had recounted all; “they anguish, and scarcely able to support herself. know that I regard this soldier, and yet they are

“Monsieur le Marquis,” cried she, “ you going to put him to death; but it shall not be. who have been so good to us, save us yet again. I will write and send my letter to the place of Oh! save Thierry, who is condemned to death.” | execution.

“ Still this unhappy Thierry !" repeated Dan “They would not recognize your signature, geau; “ he has then sworn never to leave me a sire; that of the Regent alone is affixed to all moment's repose! It is true that the King is government acts, and he is at Paris. A letter deeply interested for him. Well, at some fu- would not save Thierry." ture time I will again speak to his Majesty in “Oh! what shall I do?” cried Louis; “let his behalf.”

me see! let me see! Take courage, Marceline," “But at some future time it will be useless; said he to the unhappy girl; “ perhaps we shall it is this very day, within three hours, that they yet find some means." will shoot him. He has been condemned | “But you forget, sire, that at this moment by a court-martial: I have not been able they are loading the guns which are to kill to reach the King, and the infamous Duval him!” has gone back to the Regent, expressly to render “ Can it be?” said the King; “what shall I vain all the supplications I intended to have do? Ah! I have just thought. Monsieur de made to his master. Monsieur le Marquis, in Fleury, my preceptor, told me that the presence the name of Heaven, save him-0 save him!” of a King on the place of execution-yes, that is

“And how would you that I should save him, lit. Oh! if I do but arrive in time, they shall if the Regent will not do it, and the King is in- kill me sooner than he shall die! My furred visible? Besides, his Majesty could do nothing pelisse, and my carriage !” added he, addressing more for him.”

| himself to the valet who stood near him. “Oh, yes! the King can do anything. He “ It is very cold, and the physician does not loves me, and he well knows that I shall die if think that your Majesty can yet leave your apartThierry does; he would not let them kill his ment without danger.” little Marceline. Oh! you are a marquis, you “ We will go down the secret staircase," reare also the friend of the King; you are known plied the King; “no one will see us, and it can at court; you have the right of forcing your be said that I am in bed, and that I will receive way to the King's presence, and, if need be, of no one.” violating etiquette.

“ But, sire," said the valet, “ should any mis“ Violate etiquette !" cried Monsieur de Dan- fortune happen to you, I am lost.” geau, with an accent in which horror was min- “Then,” said the King, “I will have you gled with indignation—"violate etiquette! force hanged, to a certainty, if you do not obey me. my way into the King's presence! It would be And if you obey, see, here are fifty louis, which a crime, it would be high treason! Even if my I have had given me for my own pleasures; future fortune depended upon it, there should take them, and I promise you as many more." never be the example of such audacity in the The valet departed, and a moment afterhistory of the Dangeaus !"

“ Sire,” said he, re-entering, “a carriage awaits your Majesty, at the bottom of the stair- l A handkerchief was placed over his eyes, and case; but I risk my head in accompanying you.” | the officer gave the word of command.

“You will accompany me also, Monsieur de « Captain," said a drummer, “I see a Dangeau," said the King. “You will attest who young woman running towards us ; she waves I am, should there be a necessity for it.”

her hand. Do you not hear ? she cries, ParMonsieur de Dangeau, placed thus between don !" the King and the laws of the court, felt a mortal A shudder passed through the ranks, and all paleness spread itself over his wrinkles.

the soldiers seemed silently to demand some “ Sire," stammered he, “if you must ex- delay. pose your royal health to save an obscure “This man is condemned,” replied the officer, soldier "

“the Regent has refused to pardon him; this But the young monarch interrupted him, and, young girl can do nothing—so be prompt, bewrapping himself closely in his pelisse, dragged fore the condemned has seen her-fire !" him onward with a strength not to have been The guns were instantly discharged; but expected from a sick child.

Thierry fell not; he remained standing, still ** To the plain de Grenelle, near Paris,” said

leaning on his cane: it was Marceline. The the valet to the coachman.

poor girl, as they approached, found that the carriage went too slowly; she threw herself

from it, and although much hurt by the fall, CHAP. VIII.

she had flown towards Thierry. At the firing To the south-west of Paris extends a naked

of the guns she fell, trembling and fainting, a and lonely tract of land, which still preserves

few paces from the fatal spot. the name of plain, although covered with guin

“I am not wounded,” said Thierry, wbo, guettes and houses. This desolate spot has been fortunately for his courage, had neither seen nor consecrated for more than a century to military

heard Marceline, concealed by the soldiers. executions. The unhappy beings who perish

“ What does this mean?" said the captain, there can see “ les Invalides” from the place of turning towards the men. All remained silent : punishment, and contemplate, on the brink of to give time for the realization of their hopes, the tomb, the asylum which seemed to have they had fired above the condemned. They had been promised to them in their old age.

all said mentally, without premeditation, that There, on a cold winter's morning, stopped at the minute employed in reloading their guns the same time a file of Fusiliers and a carriage. might perhaps render them useless altogether. The file range themselves in order of battle, and “A carriage! a carriage !" they cried from all Thierry, leaning on a stick, alighted from the parts. carriage. He was calm ; all his mental agony The King approached; and a valet, who had had been exhausted during the two preceding | alighted, raised Marceline. days. He went forward, unassisted, to place The carriage stopped at the place of execuhimself in front of the file.

tion, and a sweet child descended quickly. “ If I walk unsteadily,” said he to his com | “Stop!” cried he; “I forbid any one to rades, as he passed before them, “ it is that my touch that man!” leg fails me, and not my heart."

“ Who are you, then?" demanded the officer, They were all more mournful and sorrowful who could hardly believe it to be the King, even than Thierry, for their severe discipline required after he had recognized him. of them that day a cruel task. They only re- “ I am Louis XV., King of France and Nacognized in it the right of making themselves its | varre!” martyrs, and now it bade them become execu- “ Who will prove it to us?" tioners.

“I accord pardon!” The morning was cold and dull; the ground | “But the Lord Regent has rejected all supwas hard and dry; the sky charged with thick plications in favour of this man." and heavy clouds. Thierry calmly received the “ The Regent is Regent only, I am the King," priest's last exhortations. He solicited the ho- rejoined the child, with an expressive air of sub

· of being allowed himself to give the sig- limity; “ I command that this poor Thierry be nal for firing, and he refused to have a bandage instantly liberated.” placed over his eyes. Suddenly a ray of sun- Monsieur Dangeau alighted from the carlight pierced through the clouds, and played riage, and trembling with cold, attested the round the form of Thierry; sunlight--that | identity of the monarch; but the officer still heliving emblem of hope and life, that eternal sitated to deliver his prisoner, when another youth of nature.' As he felt its gentle warmth, coach drove rapidly up. In this were the Abbé Thierry's courage for a moment melted away ; de Fleury, and some gentlemen attached to the all the love of life, with its hopes and joys, King's suite. They had ascertained the deparawoke with thrilling power. Some tears fell : | ture of Louis, and, in great anxiety, had quickly then casting his eyes upon his uniform, he followed him. blushed for his weakness.

“Ah, Sire! what imprudence !” cried Fleury, “ Oh! it will be better to have the bandage !” embracing his pupil with emotion—" you who cried he; “ cover my eyes, that I may not be- were still suffering so severely!”. hold the brilliant sun."

"I am not suffering now," said the King; I

no

Slander.

Buds and garlands I can give thee,

Fragrant herbs and posies fine ; But for verses-no, believe me,

Love be witness, love be witnessThese to give thee are not mine.

arrived in time. But where is my poor Mar- | celine ?”

Marceline, whom they had conveyed to the King's carriage, regained her senses. She was brought near Louis, who, beckoning to Thierry, confounded with so much happiness, placed her hand in his, with comic gravity.

“My children,” said he, “ I unite you. And now," added he, placing his hand on his stomach, “ I feel that the air has made me very hungry: Monsieur de Dangeau, go and fetch me a cake.”

He re-entered the carriage amid the benedictions of Thierry and Marceline, and cries of “ Vive le Roi !" which resounded on all sides, both from soldiers and people.

“ Sire,” said the Abbé, “ to-day you have shown that, notwithstanding your tender age, you are really King of France. An act of clemency is a first anointing.”

'Neath my touch, the constant lute

To all other fair but one Grows upon the instant mute,

Songless, silent, mute and silent, And denies its gentle tone.

Only for Irene's sake

Prompt and ready pours the strainEcho with her name to wake,

Fair Irene, sweet Irene,
O'er and o'er and o'er again !

SL A N D E R.

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