La Vendée, by Anthony Trollope

Agatha Larochejaquelin.

As Chapeau had said, great preparations were made at Durbellière for the coming campaign. The old Marquis had joined with his son in furnishing everything which their limited means would admit of, for the wants of the royalists. Durbellière had become quite a depôt; the large granaries at the top of the house were no longer empty; they were stored with sacks of meal, with pikes and muskets, and with shoes for the soldiers. Agatha’s own room looked like an apartment in a hospital; it was filled with lint, salves, and ointments, to give ease to those whom the wars should send home wounded; all the contents of the cellars were sacrificed; wine, beer, and brandy, were alike given up to aid the spirits of the combatants; the cattle were drawn in from the farms, and kept round the house in out-houses and barns, ready to be slaughtered, as occasion might require, an abattoir was formed in the stable yard, and a butcher kept in regular employment; a huge oven was built in an outhouse attached to the stables, and here bakers, from neighbouring parishes, were continually kept at work: they neither expected, or received wages; they, and all the others employed got their meals in the large kitchen of the château, and were content to give their work to the cause without fee or reward. Provisions, cattle, and implements, were also sent from M. de Lescure’s house to Durbellière, as it was considered to be more central, and as it was supposed that there were still some republicans in the neighbourhood of Bressuire, whereas, it was well known that there were none in the rural districts; the more respectable of the farmers also, and other country gentlemen sent something; and oxen, sheep, and loads of meal; jars of oil, and casks of wine were coming in during the whole week before the siege of Saumur, and the same horses took them out again in the shape of bread, meat, and rations, to the different points where they would be required.

As soon as M. de Lescure had left home, on his recruiting service in the south of La Vendée, the ladies of his house went over to Durbellière, to remain there till Henri Larochejaquelin should start for Saumur, and give their aid to Agatha in all her work. Adolphe Denot was also there: he, too, had been diligently employed in collecting the different sinews of wars; and as far as his own means went had certainly not begrudged them. There was still an unhappy air of dissatisfaction about him, which was not to be observed with any one else: his position did not content his vanity; the people did not talk of him as they did of Cathelineau, and Henri Larochejaquelin; he heard nothing of La Vendée relying on his efforts; the nanes of various men were mentioned as trustworthy leaders, but his own was never among them. De Lescure, Charette, d’Elbée, Stofflet, were all talked of; and what had they done more than he had; or what, indeed, so much: the two latter were men of low origin, who had merely shown courage in the time of need: indeed, what more had Cathelineau done; whereas, he had never failed in courage, and had given, moreover, his money, and his property; yet he felt that he was looked on as a nobody. Jacques Chapeau was almost of more importance.

And then, again, his love for Agatha tormented him. He had thought to pique her by a show of indifference himself, but he found that this plan did not answer: it was evident, even to him, that Agatha was not vexed by his silence, his altered demeanour, and sudden departure. He had miscalculated her character, and now found that he must use other means to rouse the affection in her heart, without which he felt, at present, that he could not live happily. He thought that she could not have seen with indifference the efforts he was making in the cause which she loved so well; and he determined to throw himself at her feet before he started for Saumur, and implore her to give him a place in her affections, while her heart was softened by the emotions, which the departure of so many of her friends, on the eve of battle, would occasion.

Agatha had had but little conversation with him since his last arrival at Durbellière, but still she felt that he was about to propose to her. She shunned him as much as she could; she scrupulously avoided the opportunity which he anxiously sought; she never allowed herself to be alone with him; but she was nevertheless sure the evil hour would come; she saw it in his eye as they sat together at their meals — she heard it in the tones of his voice every time he spoke. She knew from his manner that he was preparing himself for the interview, and she also knew that he would not submit tamely to the only answer she could bring herself to give him.

“Marie,” said she to her cousin, on the Saturday evening, “I am in the greatest distress, pray help me, dearest. I am sure you know what ails me.”

“In distress, Agatha, and wanting help from me! — you that are wont to help all the world yourself! But I know, from your face, you are only half in earnest.”

“Indeed, and indeed, I never was much more so. I never was more truly in want of council. Can you not guess what my sorrow is?”

“Not unless it is, that you have a lover too much? — or perhaps you find the baker’s yeast runs short?”

“Ah, Marie, will you always joke when I am serious!”

“Well then, Agatha, now I am serious — is it that you have a lover too much?”

“Can any trouble be more grievous?”

“Oh, dear, yes! ten times worse. My case is ten times worse: and alas, alas! there is no cure for that.”

“Your case, Marie?”

“Yes, my case, Agatha — a lover too few!”

“Ah, Marie, do not joke with me tonight. I want your common sense, and not your wit, just now. Be a good, dear girl, and tell me what I shall say to him. I know he will not go to Saumur before — before he has proposed to me.”

“Then, in the name of common sense, dear Agatha, tell him the truth, whatever it may be.”

“You know I do not — cannot love him.”

“Nay, I know nothing. You have not said yet who ‘him’ is — but I own I can give a guess. I suppose poor Adolphe Denot is the man you cannot love? Poor Adolphe! he must be told so, that is all.”

“But how shall I tell him, Marie? He is so unlike other men. Henri is his friend, and yet he has never spoken to him about me, nor to my father. If he would ask my hand from Henri, as another would, Henri would talk to him, and explain to him that it could not be-that my heart is too much occupied with other cares, to care for loving or being loved.”

“That means, Agatha, till the right lover comes.”

“No, Marie; but till these wars are over. Not that I could ever love Adolphe Denot; but now, at present, methinks love should be banished from the country, and not allowed to return till the King is on his throne again.”

“Well, Agatha, I don’t know. That would be somewhat hard upon us poor girls, whose lovers are more to our taste, than M. Denot is to yours. I know not that our knights will fight the worse for a few stray smiles, though the times be so frightful.”

“Do you smile on yours then, Marie; and I will smile to see you happy. But tell me, dearest, what shall I say to Adolphe? You would not have me give him hope, when I feel I can never love him?”

“God forbid! — why should you? But has he never spoken to Henri on the subject, or to the Marquis?”

“Never a word. I’m sure he never spoke of it to my father, and Henri told me that he had never said a word to him.”

“Then you have spoken to your brother on the subject? And what did he say?”

“He said just what a dear, good brother should have said. He said he was sorry for his friend, but that on no account whatever would he sacrifice his sister’s happiness.”

“M. Larochejaquelin always does just what he ought to do. He is as good and kind to you as Charles is to me.”

“Henri and I are so nearly of an age; we were always companions together. I do not think any lover will be agreeable to me as long as he is with me.”

“But if he should take a love of his own, Agatha? It wont do, you know, for sisters to monopolize their brothers; or what shall we spinters do?”

“He shall bring his love here, and she shall be my own sister. If he makes the choice I think he will, I shall not have to open a new place in my heart for her, shall I, Marie?”

“Nay, I know not. Now it is you that wander from the subject.”

“And it is cruel in you to bring me back to it. If he proposes to me tomorrow, Marie, what shall I say to him?”

“Keep out of his way tomorrow. He goes on Monday morning.”

“It is very well to say, ‘Keep out of his way;’ but if he formally demands an interview, I cannot refuse it.”

“If he formally desires an interview, do you give him a formal reception: if he formally offers you his hand, do you formally decline the honour.”

“I would it were you, Marie, that he loved.”

“A thousand thanks to you, Mademoiselle Larochejaquelin. I appreciate your generosity, but really I have no vacancy for M. Denot, just at present.”

“Ah! but you would reject him with so much more ease, than I can do it.”

“Practice, my dear, is everything: this time you may feel a little awkward, but you will find you will dispose of your second lover without much difficulty, and you will give his congé to your third with as much ease, as though you were merely dismissing a disobedient kitchen-maid.”

“I cannot bear to give pain; and Adolphe will be pained; his self-love will be wounded at the idea of being rejected.”

“Then spare his self-love, and accept him.”

“No; that I will not do.”

“Then wound his self-love, and reject him.”

“Would I could do the one without the other; would I could persuade him I was not worthy of him.”

“Nay, do not attempt that; that will be direct encouragement.”

“I will tell him that I am averse to marriage; in truth, that will be no falsehood. I do not think that my heart is capable of more love than it feels at present.”

“That may be true now, Agatha; but suppose your heart should enlarge before the autumn, at the touch of some gallant wizard — take my advice, dear girl, make no rash promises.”

“I will tell him that I cannot think of love till the King is on the throne once more.”

“If you say so, he will promise valiantly to restore His Majesty, and then to return to you to look for his reward. Shall I tell you, Agatha, what I should say?”

“Do, dearest Marie: tell me in sober earnest; and if there be ought of sobriety mixed with your wit, I will take your advice.”

“I would say to him thus: ‘M. Denot,’ or ‘Adolphe,’ just as your custom is to address him — but mind, mark you, make him speak out firmly and formally first, that your answer may be equally firm and formal. ‘M. Denot, you have paid me the greatest honour which a gentleman can pay a lady, and I am most grateful for the good opinion which you have expressed. I should be ungrateful were I to leave you for one moment in doubt as to my real sentiments: I cannot love you as I ought to love my husband. I hope you will never doubt my true friendship for you; but more than sincere friendship I cannot give you.’ There, Agatha, not a word more, nor a word less than that; sit quite straight on your chair, as though you were nailed to it; do not look to the right or to the left; do not frown or smile.”

“There will not be the least danger of my smiling, Marie.”

“But do not frown neither; fancy that you are the district judge, giving sentence on a knotty piece of law; show neither sentiment, pride, nor anger. Be quite cold, inflexible and determined; and, above all things, do not move from your seat; and I think you will find your lover will take his answer: but if he do not — repeat it all over again, with a little more emphasis, and rather slower than before. If it be necessary, you may repeat it a third time, or indeed till he goes away, but never vary the words. He must be a most determined man if he requires the third dose. I never heard of but one who wasn’t satisfied with the second, and he was an Irishman.”

“If I could only insist on his sitting still and silent to hear me make my formidable speech, your advice might be very good.”

“That, my dear, is your own strong point: if he attempts to interrupt you, hear what he says, and then begin again. By the time you have got to your ‘real sentiments,’ I doubt not he will be in his tantrums: but do you not get into tantrums too, or else you are as good as lost; let nothing tempt you to put in an unpremeditated word; one word might be fatal; but, above all, do not move; nothing but an awful degree of calm on your part will frighten him into quiescence: if you once but move, you will find M. Denot at your feet, and your hand pressed to his lips. You might as well have surrendered at once, if anything like that occur.”

“Well, Marie, let what will happen, at any rate I will not surrender, as you call it. As to sitting like the district judge, and pronouncing sentence on my lover as you advise — I fear I lack the nerve for it.”

Agatha was quite right in her forebodings. Adolphe Denot had firmly made up his mind to learn his fate before he started for Saumur, and immediately on rising from breakfast, he whispered to Agatha that he wished to speak to her alone for a moment. In her despair she proposed that he should wait till after mass, and Adolphe consented; but during the whole morning she felt how weak she had been in postponing the evil hour; she had a thousand last things to do for her brother, a thousand last words to say to him; but she was fit neither to do nor to say anything; even her prayers were disturbed; in spite of herself her thoughts clung to the interview which she had to go through.

Since the constitutional priests had been sent into the country, and the old Curés silenced, a little temporary chapel had been fitted up in the château at Durbellière, and here the former parish priest officiated every Sunday; the peasants of the parish of St. Aubin were allowed to come to this little chapel; at first a few only had attended, but the number had increased by degrees, and at the time when the revolt commenced, the greater portion of the pastor’s old flock crowded into or round the château every Sunday; so that the Sabbath morning at Durbellière was rather a noisy time. This was especially the case on the 6th of June, as the people had so much to talk about, and most of the men wished to see either the old or the young master, and most of the women wanted to speak to one of the ladies; by degrees, however, the château was cleared, and Agatha with a trembling heart retreated to her own little sitting-room upstairs to keep her appointment with Adolphe Denot.

She had not been long there, when Adolphe knocked at the door: he had been there scores of times before, and had never knocked; but, although he was going to propose to make Agatha his wife, he felt that he could no longer treat her, with his accustomed familiarity.

He entered the room and found Agatha seated; so far she had taken her friend’s advice; she was very pale, but still she looked calm and dignified, and was certainly much less confused than her lover.

“Agatha,” said he, having walked up to the fire-place, and leaning with his arm upon the mantle-piece, “Agatha, tomorrow I start for Saumur.”

He was dressed very point-de-vice; the frills of his shirt were most accurately starched; his long black hair was most scrupulously brushed; his hands were most delicately white; his boots most brilliantly polished; he appeared more fit to adorn the salon of an ambassador, than to take a place as a warrior beneath the walls of a besieged town. Adolphe was always particular in his dress, but he now exceeded himself; and he appeared to be the more singular in this respect at Durbellière just at present, as the whole of the party except himself women included, had forgotten or laid aside, as unimportant, the usual cares of the toilet.

“You, at any rate, go in good company, Adolphe,” said Agatha, attempting to smile. “May you all be successful, and return as heroes — heroes, indeed, you are already; but may you gather fresh laurels at Saumur. I am sure you will. I, for one, am not in the least despondent.”

“Yes, Agatha, I shall go to Saumur, determined at any rate not to lose there any little honour I may yet have won. If I cannot place the white flag of La Vendée on the citadel of Saumur, I will at any rate fall in attempting it.”

“I am very sure, that if you fail, it will not be for lack of courage, or of resolution. You and Henri, and M. de Lescure and our good friend Cathelineau, have taught us to expect victory as the sure result of your attempts.”

“Ah! Agatha, one word from your lips, such as I long to hear, would make me feel that I could chain victory to my sword, and rush into the midst of battle panoplied against every harm.”

“Your duty to your King should be your best assurance of victory; your trust in your Saviour, your panoply against harm; if these did not avail you, as I know they do, the vain word of a woman would be of little service.”

“You speak coldly, Agatha, and you look coldly on me. I trust your feelings are not cold also.”

“I should have hoped that many years of very intimate acquaintance between us, of friendship commenced in childhood, and now cemented by common sympathies and common dangers, would have made you aware that my feelings are not cold towards you.”

“Oh no! not cold in the ordinary sense. You wish me well, I doubt not, and your kind heart would grieve, if you heard that I had fallen beneath the swords of the republicans; but you would do the same for Cathelineau or M. de Bonchamps. If I cannot wake a warmer interest in your heart than that, I should prefer that you should forget me altogether.”

Agatha began to fear that at this rate the interview would have no end. If Adolphe remained with his arm on the marble slab, and his head on one side, making sentimental speeches, till she should give him encouragement to fall at her feet, it certainly would not be ended by bed-time. She, therefore, summoned all her courage, and said,

“When you asked me to meet you here, your purpose was not to reproach me with coldness — was it Adolphe? Perhaps it will be better for both of us that this interview should terminate now. We shall part friends, dear friends; and I will rejoice at your triumphs, when you are victorious; and will lament at your reverses, should you be unlucky. I shall do the same for my own dear Henri, and I know that you two will not be separated. There is my hand,” she added, thinking that he appeared to hesitate; “and now let us go down to our friends, who are expecting us.”

“Are you so soon weary of hearing the few words I wish to say to you?” said Adolphe, who had taken her hand, and who seemed inclined to keep it.

“No, I am not weary. I will hear anything you wish to say.” And Agatha having withdrawn her hand, sat down, and again found herself in a position to take advantage of Marie’s good advice.

Adolphe remained silent for a minute or two, with his head supported on his hand, and gazing on the lady of his love with a look that was intended to fascinate her. Agatha sat perfectly still; she was evidently mindful of the lesson she had received: at last, Adolphe started up from his position, walked a step or two into the middle of the room, thrust his right hand into his bosom; and said abruptly, “Agatha, this is child’s play; we are deceiving each other; we are deceiving ourselves; we would appear to be calm when there is no calm within us.”

“Do not say we. I am not deceiving myself; I trust I am not deceiving you.”

“And is your heart really so tranquil?” said he. “Does that fair bosom control no emotion? Is that lovely face, so exquisitely pale, a true index of the spirit within? Oh! Agatha! it cannot be; while my own heart is so torn with love; while I feel my own pulses beat so strongly; while my own brain burns so fiercely, I cannot believe that your bosom is a stranger to all emotion! Some passion akin to humanity must make you feel that you are not all divine! Speak, Agatha; if that lovely form has within it ought that partakes of the weakness of a woman, tell me, that at some future time you will accept the love I offer you; tell me, that I may live in hope. Oh, Agatha! bid me not despair,” and M. Denot in bodily reality fell prostrate at her feet.

When Agatha had gone up to her room, she had prepared herself for a most disagreeable interview, but she had not expected anything so really dreadful as this. Adolphe had not contented himself with kneeling at her feet on one knee, and keeping his head erect in the method usual in such cases; but he had gone down upon both knees, had thrown his head upon her feet, and was now embracing her shoes and stockings in a very vehement manner; her legs were literally caught in a trap; she couldn’t move them; and Adolphe was sobbing so loudly that it was difficult to make him hear anything.

“Adolphe, Adolphe, get up!” she almost screamed, “this is ridiculous in the extreme; if you will not get up, I must really call for some one. I cannot allow you to remain there!”

“Oh, Agatha, Agatha!” sobbed Adolphe.

“Nonsense, Adolphe,” said Agatha. “Are you a man, to lie grovelling on the floor like that? Rise up, or you will lose my esteem for ever, if that be of any value to you.”

“Give me one gleam of hope, and I will rise,” said he, still remaining on his knees, but now looking up into her face; “tell me not to despair, and I will then accomplish any feat of manhood. Give me one look of comfort, and I will again be the warrior ready for the battle; it is you only who can give me back my courage; it is you only who can restore to me the privilege of standing erect before all mankind.”

“I can tell you nothing, Adolphe, but this — that, if you continue on your knees, I shall despise you; if you will rise, I will give you at any rate a reasonable answer.”

“Despise me, Agatha! no, you cannot despise me; the unutterable burning love of a true heart is not despicable; the character which I bear before mankind is not despicable. Man is not despicable when he kneels before the object which he worships; and, Agatha, with all my heart, I worship you!”

“Now you are profane as well as contemptible, and I shall leave you,” and she walked towards the door.

“Stay then,” said he, “stay, and I will rise,” and, suiting the action to the. word, he got up. “Now speak to me in earnest, Agatha; and, since you will have it so, I also, if possible, will be calm. Speak to me; but, unless you would have the misery of a disturbed spirit on your conscience, bid me not despair!”

“Is that your calmness, Adolphe?”

“Can a man, rushing towards the brink of a precipice, be calm? Can a man be calm on the verge of the grave? I love you, Agatha, with a true and holy love; but still with a love fierce and untameable. You reviled me when I said I worshipped you, but I adore the ground you tread on, and the air you breathe. I would shed my last drop of blood to bring you ease; but I could not live and see you give that fair hand to another. My joy would be to remain ever as your slave; but then the heart that beats beneath your bosom must be my own. Agatha, I await your answer; one word from your lips can transport me to paradise!”

“If I am to understand that you are asking me for love — for a warmer love than that which always accompanies true friendship — I am obliged to say that I cannot give it you.” Adolphe remained standing in the middle of the room, with his hand still fixed in his bosom, and with a look intended to represent both thunder and lightning. He had really thought that the little scene which he had gone through, very much to his own satisfaction, would have a strong effect on Agatha, and he was somewhat staggered by the cool and positive tone of her reply. “It grieves me that I should give you pain,” she continued, “if my answer does pain you; but I should never forgive myself, were I not to speak the truth to you plainly, and at once.”

“And do you mean that for your final, and only answer to me?”

“Certainly, my only answer; for I can give you no other. I know you will be too kind, too sensible, to make it necessary that I should repeat it.”

“This is dreadful,” said Denot, putting his hand to his brow, “this is very dreadful!” and he commenced pacing up and down the room.

“Come,” said she, good naturedly, “let us go down — let us forget this little episode — you have so much of happiness, and of glory before you, that I should grieve to see you mar your career by a hopeless passion. Take the true advice of a devoted friend,” and she put her hand kindly on his arm, “let us both forget this morning’s scene — let us only remember our childhood’s friendship; think, Adolphe, how much you have to do for your King and your country, and do hot damp your glorious exertion by fostering a silly passion. Am not I the same to you as a sister? Wait till these wars are over, and then I will gather flowers for you to present to some mistress who shall truly love you.”

“No, Agatha, the flowers you gather for me shall never leave my own bosom. If it be the myrtle, I will wear it with joy to my dying day, next my heart: if it is to be a cyprus branch, it shall soon be laid with me in the tomb.”

“You will think less sadly in a short time,” said Agatha; “your spirits will recover their proper tone amid the excitement of battle. We had better part now, Adolphe;” and she essayed to leave the room, but he was now leaning against the door, and did not seem inclined to let her depart so easily.

“You will not, I hope, begrudge me a few moments,” said he, speaking between his teeth.

“You may reject me with scorn, but you can hardly refuse me the courtesy which any gentleman would have a right to expect from your hands.”

“You know that I will refuse you nothing which, either in courtesy or kindness, I can do for you,” said she, again sitting down. He, however, seeing her once more seated, did not appear much inclined to conclude what he had to say to her, for he continued walking up and down the room, in a rather disturbed manner; “but you should remember,” she added, “how soon Henri is going to leave me, and how much we have all to think and to talk of.”

“I see my presence is unwelcome, and it shall not trouble you long. I would soon rid your eyes of my hated form, but I must first say a few words, though my throat be choked with speaking them. My passion for you is no idle boyish love; it has grown with my growth, and matured itself with my manhood. I cannot now say to myself that it shall cease to be. I cannot restore calmness to my heart or rest to my bosom. My love is a fire which cannot now be quenched; it must be nourished, or it will destroy the heart which is unable to restrain it. Think, Agatha, of all the misery you are inflicting; think also of the celestial joy one word of yours is capable of giving.”

“I have said before that I grieve to pain you; but I cannot speak a falsehood. Were it to save us both from instant death, I could not say that I love you in the sense you mean.”

“Oh, Agatha! I do not ask you to love me — that is not to love me now; if you will only say that your heart is not for ever closed against my prayers, I will leave you contented.”

“I can say nothing which would give you any hope of that which can never happen.”

“And that is all I am to expect from you in return for as true a love as man ever bore to woman?”

“I cannot make you the return you wish. I can give you no other answer.”

“Well, Agatha, so be it. You shall find now that I can be calm, when my unalterable resolve requires it. You shall find that I am a man; at any rate, you shall not again have to tell me that I am despicable,” and he curled his upper lip, and showed his teeth in a very ferocious manner. “You shall never repeat that word in regard to Adolphe Denot. Should kind fortune favour my now dearest wish, you will soon hear that my bones are whitening under the walls of Saumur. You will hear that your des-pi-ca-ble lover,” and he hissed out the offending word, syllable by syllable, between his closed teeth, “has perished in his attempt to be the first to place the white flag of La Vendée above the tri-colour. If some friendly bullet will send me to my quiet home, Adolphe Denot shall trouble you no longer,” and as he spoke the last few words, he softened his voice, and re-assumed his sentimental look; but he did not remain long in his quiet mood, for he again became furious, as he added: “But if fortune should deny me this boon, if I cannot find the death I go to seek, I swear by your own surpassing beauty, by your glorious unequalled form, that I will not live without you. Death shall be welcome to me,” and he raised his hands to heaven, and then dashed them against his breast. “Oh! how dearly welcome! Yes, heroic death upon the battlefield shall calm this beating heart — shall quell these agonized pangs. Yes, Agatha, if fortune be but kind, death, cold death, shall soon relieve us both; shall leave you free to bestow upon a colder suitor the prize you have refused to my hot, impatient love; but if,” (and here he glanced very wildly round him), “my prayers are not heard, if after Saumur’s field, life be still left within my body’s sanctuary, I will return to seize you as my own, though hosts in armour try to stop my way. I will not live without you. I will not endure to see another man aspire to the hand which has been refused to me. Adieu, Agatha, adieu! I trust we shall meet no more; in thinking of me, at any rate, your memory shall not call me despicable,” and he rushed out of the door and down stairs, without waiting to hear whether Agatha intended making any answer to this poetical expression of his fixed resolution.

In the commencement of his final harangue, Agatha had determined to hear him quietly to the end; but she had not expected anything so very mad as the exhibition he made. However, she sat quietly through the whole of it, and was glad that she was spared the necessity of a reply.

Nothing more was seen of Adolphe Denot that night. Henri asked his sister whether she had seen him, and she told him that he had made a declaration of love to her, and had expressed himself ill-satisfied with the only answer she had been able to give him. She did not tell her brother how like a demoniac his friend had behaved. To Marie she was more explicit; to her she repeated as nearly as possible the whole scene as it had occurred; and although Agatha was almost weeping with sorrow, there was so much that was ludicrous in the affair, that Marie could not keep herself from laughing.

“He will trouble you no more,” said she. “You will find that he will not return to Durbellière to carry you off through the armed hosts. He will go to England or emigrate; and in a few years’ time, when you meet him again, you will find him settled down, and as quiet as his neighbours. He is like new-made wine, my dear — he only wants age.”

On the following morning, by break of day, the party left Durbellière, and Adolphe Denot joined his friend on the gravelled ring before the house; and Agatha, who had been with her brother in his room, looking from the widow saw her unmanageable lover mount his horse in a quiet, decent way, like the rest of the party.

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 18:43