He saw his vantage more clearly and said quiebuy bitcoin cash uktly, "I don't want to compel you if it can be helped. You know how true I was to you--"
"I can't take you to any place now but the station house."cardano binance chain"But can I be alone there? I won't be put with anybody?"
"No, no; of course not! You'll be better off there. Come along. 'Taint far."She walked beside him without a word."You'd better tell me something of your story. Perhaps I can do more for you in the morning.""I can't. I'm a stranger. I haven't any friends in town.""Well, well, the sergeant will see what can be done in the morning. You've been up to some foolishness, I suppose, and you'd better tell the whole story to the sergeant."
She soon entered the station house and was locked up in a narrow cell. She heard the grating of the key in the lock with a sense of relief, feeling that she had at least found a temporary place of refuge and security. A hard board was the only couch it possessed, but the thought of sleep did not enter her mind. Sitting down, she buried her face in her hands and rocked back and forth in agony and distraction until day dawned. At last, someone--she felt she could not raise her eyes to his face--brought her some breakfast and coffee. She drank the latter, but left the food untasted. Finally, she was led to the sergeant's private room and told that she must give an account of herself. "If you can't or won't tell a clear story," the officer threatened, "you'll have to go before the justice in open court, and he may commit you to prison. If you'll tell the truth now, it may be that I can discharge you. You had no business to be wandering about the streets like a vagrant or worse; but if you were a stranger or lost and hadn't sense enough to go where you'd be cared for, I can let you go.""Oh!" said Alida, again wringing her hands and looking at the officer with eyes so full of misery and fear that he began to soften, "I don't know where to go."But this was not all. As I have already hinted, he was under agreat personal obligation to his quondam comrade Raynal. Wheneverthis was vividly present to his mind, a great terror fell on him,and he would cry out in anguish, "Oh! that some angel would come tome and tear me by force from this place!" And the next momentpassion swept over him like a flood, and carried away all hisvirtuous resolves. His soul was in deep waters; great waves droveit to and fro. Perilous condition, which seldom ends well. Camillewas a man of honor. In no other earthly circumstance could he havehesitated an instant between right and wrong. But such natures,proof against all other temptations, have often fallen, and willfall, where sin takes the angel form of her they love. Yet, of allmen, they should pray for help to stand; for when they fall theystill retain one thing that divides them from mean sinners.
Remorse, the giant that rends the great hearts which mock at fear.The day came in which the doctor had promised his patient he shouldcome down-stairs. First his comfortable sofa was taken down intothe saloon for his use: then the patient himself came down leaningon the doctor's arm, and his heart palpitating at the thought of themeeting. He came into the room; the baroness was alone. Shegreeted him kindly, and welcomed him. Rose came in soon after anddid the same. But no Josephine. Camille felt sick at heart. Atlast dinner was announced; "She will surely join us at dinner,"thought he. He cast his eyes anxiously on the table; the napkinswere laid for four only. The baroness carelessly explained this tohim as they sat down. "Madame Raynal dines in her own room. I amsorry to say she is indisposed."Camille muttered polite regrets: the rage of disappointment droveits fangs into him, and then came the heart-sickness of hopedeferred. The next day he saw her, but could not get a word withher alone. The baroness tortured him another way. She was full ofRaynal. She loved him. She called him her son; was never weary ofdescanting on his virtues to Camille. Not a day passed that she didnot pester Camille to make a calculation as to the probable periodof his return, and he was obliged to answer her. She related to himbefore Josephine and Rose, how this honest soldier had come to themlike a guardian angel and saved the whole family. In vain hemuttered that Rose had told him."Let me have the pleasure of telling it you my way," cried she, andtold it diffusely, and kept him writhing.The next thing was, Josephine had received no letter from him thismonth; the first month he had missed. In vain did Rose representthat he was only a few days over his time. The baroness becameanxious, communicated her anxieties to Camille among the rest; and,by a torturing interrogatory, compelled him to explain to her beforeJosephine and them all, that ships do not always sail to a day, andare sometimes delayed. But oh! he winced at the man's name; andRose observed that he never mentioned it, nor acknowledged theexistence of such a person as Josephine's husband, except whenothers compelled him. Yet they were acquainted; and Rose sometimeswondered that he did not detract or sneer.
"I should," said she; "I feel I should.""He is too noble," said Josephine, "and too wise. For, if he did, Ishould respect him less, and my husband more than I do--ifpossible."Certainly Camille was not the sort of nature that detracts, but thereason he avoided Raynal's name was simply that his whole internalbattle was to forget such a man existed. From this dream he wasrudely awakened every hour since he joined the family, and the woundhis self-deceiving heart would fain have skinned over, was tornopen. But worse than this was the torture of being tantalized. Hewas in company with Josephine, but never alone. Even if she leftthe room for an instant, Rose accompanied her and returned with her.Camille at last began to comprehend that Josephine had decided thereshould be no private interviews between her and him. Thus, not onlythe shadow of the absent Raynal stood between them, but her motherand sister in person, and worst of all, her own will. He called hera cold-blooded fiend in his rage. Then the thought of all hertenderness and goodness came to rebuke him. But even in rebuking itmaddened him. "Yes, it is her very nature to love; but since shecan make her heart turn whichever way her honor bids, she will loveher husband; she does not now; but sooner or later she will. Thenshe will have children--(he writhed with anguish and fury at thisthought)--loving ties between him and her. He has everything on hisside. I, nothing but memories she will efface from her heart. Willefface? She must have effaced them, or she could not have marriedhim." I know no more pitiable state of mind than to love and hatethe same creature. But when the two feelings are both intense, andmeet in an ardent bosom, such a man would do well to spend a day ortwo upon his knees, praying for grace divine. For he who with allhis soul loves and hates one woman is next door to a maniac, and isscarcely safe an hour together from suicide or even from homicide;this truth the newspapers tell us, by examples, every month; but arewonderfully little heeded, because newspapers do not, nor is ittheir business to, analyze and dwell upon the internal feelings ofthe despairing lover, whose mad and bloody act they record. Withsuch a tempest in his heart did Camille one day wander into thepark. And soon an irresistible attraction drew him to the side ofthe stream that flowed along one side of it. He eyed it gloomily,and wherever the stagnant water indicated a deeper pool than usualhe stopped, and looked, and thought, "How calm and peaceful youare!"He sat down at last by the water-side, his eyes bent on a calm,green pool.
It looked very peaceful; and it could give peace. He thought, oh!what a blessing; to be quit of rage, jealousy, despair, and life,all in a minute!Yet that was a sordid death for a soldier to die, who had seen greatbattles. Could he not die more nobly than that? With this hesuddenly felt in his pocket; and there sure enough fate had placedhis pistols. He had put them into this coat; and he had not wornthis coat until to-day. He had armed himself unconsciously. "Ah!"said he; "it is to be; all these things are preordained." (Thisnotion of fate has strengthened many a fatal resolution.) Then hehad a cruel regret. To die without a word; a parting word. Then hethought to himself, it was best so; for perhaps he should have takenher with him."Sir! colonel!" uttered a solemn voice behind him.
Absorbed and strung up to desperation as he was, this voice seemedunnaturally loud, and discordant with Camille's mood; a suddentrumpet from the world of small things.It was Picard, the notary."Can you tell me where Madame Raynal is?""No. At the chateau, I suppose.""She is not there; I inquired of the servant. She was out. Youhave not seen her, colonel?""Not I; I never see her.""Then perhaps I had better go back to the chateau and wait for her:stay, are you a friend of the family? Colonel, suppose I were totell you, and ask you to break it to Madame Raynal, or, betterstill, to the baroness, or Mademoiselle Rose.""Monsieur," said Camille coldly, "charge me with no messages, for Icannot deliver them. I AM GOING ANOTHER WAY.""In that case, I will go to the chateau once more; for what I haveto say must be heard."Picard returned to the chateau wondering at the colonel's strangemanner.
Camille, for his part, wondered that any one could be so mad as totalk to him about trifles; to him, a man standing on the brink ofeternity. Poor soul, it was he who was mad and unlucky. He shouldhave heard what Picard had to say. The very gentleness andsolemnity of manner ought to have excited his curiosity.He watched Picard's retiring form. When he was out of sight, thenhe turned round and resumed his thoughts as if Picard had been nomore than a fly that had buzzed and then gone.
"Yes, I should have taken her with me," he said. He sat gloomy anddogged like a dangerous maniac in his cell; never moved, scarcethought for more than half an hour; but his deadly purpose grew inhim. Suddenly he started. A lady was at the style, about a hundredyards distant. He trembled. It was Josephine.She came towards him slowly, her eyes bent on the ground in a deepreverie. She stopped about a stone's throw from him, and looked atthe river long and thoughtfully; then casting her eye around, shecaught sight of Camille. He watched her grimly. He saw her give alittle start, and half turn round; but if this was an impulse toretreat, it was instantly suppressed; for the next moment shepursued her way.
Camille stood gloomy and bitter, awaiting her in silence. Heplanted himself in the middle of the path, and said not a word.She looked him all over, and her color came and went."Out so far as this," she said kindly; "and without your cap."He put his hand to his head, and discovered that he was bareheaded."You will catch your death of cold. Come, let us go in and get yourcap."She made as if she would pass him. He planted himself right beforeher."No.""Camille!""Why do you shun me as if I was a viper?""I do not shun you. I but avoid conferences that can lead to nogood; it is my duty.""You are very wise; cold-hearted people can be wise.""Am I cold-hearted, Camille?""As marble."She looked him in the face; the water came into her eyes; afterawhile she whispered, sorrowfully, "Well, Camille, I am.""But with all your wisdom and all your coldness," he went on to say,"you have made a mistake; you have driven me to madness anddespair.""Heaven forbid!" said she."Your prayer comes too late; you have done it.""Camille, let me go to the oratory, and pray for you. You terrifyme.""It is no use. Heaven has no mercy for me. Take my advice; staywhere you are; don't hurry; for what remains of your life you gaveto pass with me, do you understand that?""Ah!" And she turned pale.
"Can you read my riddle?"She looked him in the face. "I can read your eyes, and I know youlove me. I think you mean to kill me. I have heard men kill thething they love.""Of course they do; sooner than another should have it, they killit--they kill it.""God has not made them patient like us women. Poor Camille!""Patience dies when hope dies. Come, Madame Raynal, say a prayer,for you are going to die.""God bless you, Camille!" said the poor girl, putting her handstogether in her last prayer. At this sweet touch of affection,Camille hung his head, and sobbed. Then suddenly lashing himselfinto fury, he cried,--"You are my betrothed! you talk of duty; but you forget your duty tome. Are you not my betrothed this four years? Answer me that.""Yes, Camille, I was.""Did I not suffer death a hundred times for you, to keep faith withyou, you cold-blooded traitress with an angel's face?""Ah, Camille! can you speak so bitterly to me? Have I denied yourright to kill me? You shall never dishonor me, but you shall killme, if it is your pleasure. I do not resist. Why, then, speak tome like that; must the last words I hear from your mouth be words ofanger, cruel Camille?""I was wrong. But it is so hard to kill her I love in cold blood.I want anger as well as despair to keep me to it. Come, turn yourhead away from me, and all our troubles shall end.""No, Camille, let me look at you. Then you will be the last thing Ishall see on earth."At this he hesitated a moment; then, with a fierce stamp at what hethought was weakness, he levelled a pistol at her.
She put up her hands with a piteous cry, "Oh! not my face, Camille!pray do not disfigure my face. Here--kill me here--in my bosom--myheart that loved you well, when it was no sin to love you.""I can't shoot you. I can't spill your blood. The river will endall, and not disfigure your beauty, that has driven me mad, and costyou, poor wretch, your life.""Thank you, dear Camille. The water does not frighten me as apistol does; it will not hurt me; it will only kill me.""No, it is but a plunge, and you will be at peace forever; and soshall I. Come, take my hand, Madame Raynal, Madame Raynal."She gave him her hand with a look of infinite love. She only said,"My poor mother!" That word did not fall to the ground. It flashedlike lightning at night across the demented lover, and lighted uphis egotism (suicide, like homicide, is generally a fit of maniacalegotism), even to his eyes blinded by fury.
"Wretch that I am," he shrieked. "Fly, Josephine, fly! escape thismoment, that my better angel whispers to me. Do you hear? begone,while it is time.""I will not leave you, Camille.""I say you shall. Go to your mother and Rose; go to those you love,and I can pity; go to the chapel and thank Heaven for your escape.""Yes, but not without you, Camille. I am afraid to leave you.""You have more to fear if you stay. Well, I can't wait any longer.Stay, then, and live; and learn from me how to love Jean Raynal."He levelled the pistol at himself.
Josephine threw herself on him with a cry, and seized his arm. Withthe strength excitement lent her she got the better, and all butoverpowered him. But, as usual, the man's strength lasted longer,and with a sustained effort he threw her off; then, pale andpanting, raised the pistol to take his life. This time she movedneither hand nor foot; but she palsied his rash hand with a word."No; I LOVE YOU."Chapter 13There lie the dead corpses of those words on paper; but my art ispowerless to tell you how they were uttered, those words, potent asa king's, for they saved a life.
They were a cry of terror and a cry of reproach and a cry of loveunfathomable.The weapon shook in his hand. He looked at her with growingastonishment and joy; she at him fixedly and anxiously, her handsclasped in supplication.
"As you used to love me?""More, far more. Give me the pistol. I love you, dearest. I loveyou."At these delicious words he lost all power of resistance, she saw;and her soft and supple hand stole in and closed upon his, andgently withdrew the weapon, and threw it into the water. "GoodCamille! now give me the other.""How do you know there is another?""I know you are not the man to kill a woman and spare yourself.Come.""Josephine, have pity on me, do not deceive me; pray do not takethis, my only friend, from me, unless you really love me.""I love you; I adore you," was her reply.
She leaned her head on his shoulder, but with her hand she soughthis, and even as she uttered those loving words she coaxed theweapon from his now unresisting grasp."There, it is gone; you are saved from death--saved from crime."And with that, the danger was over, she trembled for the first time,and fell to sobbing hysterically.
He threw himself at her knees, and embraced them again and again,and begged her forgiveness in a transport of remorse and self-reproach.She looked down with tender pity on him, and heard his cries ofpenitence and shame."Rise, Camille, and go home with me," said she faintly."Yes, Josephine."They went slowly and in silence. Camille was too ashamed andpenitent to speak; too full of terror too at the abyss of crime fromwhich he had been saved. The ancients feigned that a virgin couldsubdue a lion; perhaps they meant that a pure gentle nature cansubdue a nature fierce but generous. Lion-like Camille walked byJosephine's side with his eyes bent on the ground, the picture ofhumility and penitence.
"This is the last walk you and I shall take together," saidJosephine solemnly."I know it," said he humbly. "I have forfeited all right to be byyour side.""My poor, lost love," sighed Josephine, "will you never understandme? You never stood higher in my esteem than at this moment. It isthe avowal you have forced from ME that parts us. The man to whom Ihave said 'I'--must not remain beneath my husband's roof. Does notyour sense of honor agree with mine?""It does," faltered he.
"To-morrow you must leave the chateau.""I will obey you.""What, you do not resist, you do not break my heart by complaints,by reproaches?""No, Josephine, all is changed. I thought you unfeeling: I thoughtyou were going to be HAPPY with him; that was what maddened me.""I pray daily YOU may be happy, no matter how. But you and I arenot alike, dear as we are to one another. Well, do not fear: Ishall never be happy--will that soothe you, Camille?""Yes, Josephine, all is changed; the words you have spoken havedriven the fiends out of my heart. I have nothing to do now but toobey, you to command: it is your right. Since you love me a littlestill, dispose of me. Bid me live: bid me die: bid me stay: bid mego. I shall never disobey the angel who loves me, my only friendupon the earth."A single deep sob from Josephine was all the answer.Then he could not help asking her why she had not trusted him?
"Why did you not say to me long ago, 'I love you, but I am a wife;my husband is an honest soldier, absent, and fighting for France: Iam the guardian of his honor and my own; be just, be generous, beself-denying; depart and love me only as angels love'? Perhaps thismight have helped me to show you that I too am a man of honor.""Perhaps I was wrong," sighed Josephine. "I think I should havetrusted more to you. But then, who would have thought you couldreally doubt my love? You were ill; I could not bear you to go tillyou were well, quite well. I saw no other way to keep you but this,to treat you with feigned coldness. You saw the coldness, but notwhat it cost me to maintain it. Yes, I was unjust; and inconsiderate,for I had many furtive joys to sustain me: I had you in my houseunder my care--that thought was always sweet--I had a hand ineverything that was for your good, for your comfort. I helpedJacintha make your soup and your chocolate every day. I had thedelight of lining the dressing-gown you were to wear. I had alwayssome little thing or other to do for you. These kept me up: I forgotin my selfishness that you had none of these supports, and that Iwas driving you to despair. I am a foolish, disingenuous woman:I have been very culpable. Forgive me!""Forgive you, angel of purity and goodness? I alone am to blame.