"You have said, sir, that your business and means would not allow you to keep two in help, and as you have been speaking I have tried to think of some way. The fact that your house is so lonely is just the reason why I should liketh usdt futuree to work in it. As you can understand, I have no wish to meet strangers. Now, sir, I am willing to work for very little; I should be glad to find such a quiet refuge for simply my board and clothes, and I would do my very best and try to learn what I did not know. It seems to me that if I worked for so little you might think you could afford to hire some elderly woman also?" and she looked at him in the eager hope that he would accept her proposition.
Put down the book a moment: shut your eyes: and imagine this strangeand complicated form of human suffering.bitcoin koers juni 2021Her mental sufferings were terrible; and for some time Rose fearedfor her reason. At last her agonies subsided into a listlessnessand apathy little less alarming. She seemed a creature descendinginch by inch into the tomb. Indeed, I fully believe she would havedied of despair: but one of nature's greatest forces stepped intothe arena and fought on the side of life. She was affected withcertain bilious symptoms that added to Rose's uneasiness, butJacintha assured her it was nothing, and would retire and leave thesufferer better. Jacintha, indeed, seemed now to take a particularinterest in Josephine, and was always about her with looks of pityand interest.
"Good creature!" thought Rose, "she sees my sister is unhappy: andthat makes her more attentive and devoted to her than ever."One day these three were together in Josephine's room. Josephinewas mechanically combing her long hair, when all of a sudden shestretched out her hand and cried, "Rose!"Rose ran to her, and coming behind her saw in the glass that herlips were colorless. She screamed to Jacintha, and between themthey supported Josephine to the bed. She had hardly touched it whenshe fainted dead away. "Mamma! mamma!" cried Rose in her terror."Hush!" cried Jacintha roughly, "hold your tongue: it is only afaint. Help me loosen her: don't make any noise, whatever." Theyloosened her stays, and applied the usual remedies, but it was sometime before she came-to. At last the color came back to her lips,then to her cheek, and the light to her eye. She smiled feebly onJacintha and Rose, and asked if she had not been insensible."Yes, love, and frightened us--a little--not much--oh, dear! oh,dear!""Don't be alarmed, sweet one, I am better. And I will never do itagain, since it frightens you." Then Josephine said to her sisterin a low voice, and in the Italian language, "I hoped it was death,my sister; but he comes not to the wretched.""If you hoped that," replied Rose in the same language, "you do notlove your poor sister who so loves you."While the Italian was going on, Jacintha's dark eyes glancedsuspiciously on each speaker in turn. But her suspicions were allwide of the mark."Now may I go and tell mamma?" asked Rose."No, mademoiselle, you shall not," said Jacintha. "Madame Raynal,do take my side, and forbid her.""Why, what is it to you?" said Rose, haughtily.
"If it was not something to me, should I thwart my dear young lady?""No. And you shall have your own way, if you will but condescend togive me a reason."This to some of us might appear reasonable, but not to Jacintha: iteven hurt her feelings."Mademoiselle Rose," she said, "when you were little and used to askme for anything, did I ever say to you, 'Give me a REASON first'?""There! she is right," said Josephine. "We should not make termswith tried friends. Come, we will pay her devotion this compliment.but I am the girl's brother; guardian of her honor and my own. Hislife is precious as gold. I shall make him marry her.""What! reward him for his villany?" cried Edouard, frantically.
"A mighty reward," replied Raynal, with a sneer."You leave one thing out of the calculation, monsieur," saidEdouard, trembling with anger, "that I will kill your brother-in-lawat the altar, before her eyes.""YOU leave one thing out of the calculation: that you will firsthave to cross swords, at the altar, with me.""So be it. I will not draw on my old commandant. I could not; butbe sure I will catch him and her alone some day, and the bride shallbe a widow in her honeymoon.""As you please," said Raynal, coolly. "That is all fair, as youhave been wronged. I shall make her an honest wife, and then youmay make her an honest widow. (This is what they call LOVE, andsneer at me for keeping clear of it.) But neither he nor you shallkeep MY SISTER what she is now, a ----," and he used a word out ofcamp.Edouard winced and groaned. "Oh! don't call her by such a name.There is some mystery. She loved me once. There must have beensome strange seduction.""Now you deceive yourself," said Raynal. "I never saw a girl thatcould take her own part better than she can; she is not like hersister at all in character. Not that I excuse him; it was adishonorable act, an ungrateful act to my wife and my mother.""And to you.""Now listen to me: in four days I shall stand before him. I shallnot go into a pet like you; I am in earnest. I shall just say tohim, 'Dujardin, I know all!' Then if he is guilty his face willshow it directly. Then I shall say, 'Comrade, you must marry herwhom you have dishonored.'""He will not. He is a libertine, a rascal.""You are speaking of a man you don't know. He WILL marry her andrepair the wrong he has done.""Suppose he refuses?""Why should he refuse? The girl is not ugly nor old, and if she hasdone a folly, he was her partner in it.""But SUPPOSE he refuses?"Raynal ground his teeth. "Refuse? If he does, I'll run my swordthrough his carcass then and there, and the hussy shall go into aconvent."
Chapter 21The French army lay before a fortified place near the Rhine, whichwe will call Philipsburg.
This army knew Bonaparte by report only; it was commanded bygenerals of the old school.Philipsburg was defended on three sides by the nature of the ground;but on the side that faced the French line of march there was only azigzag wall, pierced, and a low tower or two at each of the salientangles.There were evidences of a tardy attempt to improve the defences. Inparticular there was a large round bastion, about three times theheight of the wall; but the masonry was new, and the very embrasureswere not yet cut.Young blood was for assaulting these equivocal fortifications at theend of the day's march that brought the French advanced guard insight of the place; but the old generals would not hear of it; thesoldiers' lives must not be flung away assaulting a place that couldbe reduced in twenty-one days with mathematical certainty. For atthis epoch a siege was looked on as a process with a certain result,the only problem was in how many days would the place be taken; andeven this they used to settle to a day or two on paper byarithmetic; so many feet of wall, and so many guns on the one side;so many guns, so many men, and such and such a soil to cut thetrenches in on the other: result, two figures varying from fourteento forty. These two figures represented the duration of the siege.
For all that, siege arithmetic, right in general, has often beenterribly disturbed by one little incident, that occurs from time totime; viz., Genius INside. And, indeed, this is one of the sins ofgenius; it goes and puts out calculations that have stood the bruntof years. Archimedes and Todleben were, no doubt, clever men intheir way and good citizens, yet one characteristic of delicatemen's minds they lacked--veneration; they showed a sad disrespectfor the wisdom of the ancients, deranged the calculations which somuch learning and patient thought had hallowed, disturbed the mindsof white-haired veterans, took sieges out of the grasp of science,and plunged them back into the field of wild conjecture.Our generals then sat down at fourteen hundred yards' distance, andplanned the trenches artistically, and directed them to be cut atartful angles, and so creep nearer and nearer the devoted town.Then the Prussians, whose hearts had been in their shoes at firstsight of the French shakos, plucked up, and turned not the garrisononly but the population of the town into engineers and masons.Their fortifications grew almost as fast as the French trenches.
The first day of the siege, a young but distinguished brigadier inthe French army rode to the quarters of General Raimbaut, whocommanded his division, and was his personal friend, andrespectfully but firmly entreated the general to represent to thecommander-in-chief the propriety of assaulting that new bastionbefore it should become dangerous. "My brigade shall carry it infifteen minutes, general," said he."What! cross all that open under fire? One-half your brigade wouldnever reach the bastion.""But the other half would take it.""That is not so certain."General Raimbaut refused to forward the young colonel's proposal toheadquarters. "I will not subject you to TWO refusals in onematter," said he, kindly.
The young colonel lingered. He said, respectfully, "One question,general, when that bastion cuts its teeth will it be any easier totake than now?""Certainly; it will always be easier to take it from the sap than tocross the open under fire to it, and take it. Come, colonel, toyour trenches; and if your friend should cut its teeth, you shallhave a battery in your attack that will set its teeth on edge. Ha!ha!"The young colonel did not echo his chief's humor; he salutedgravely, and returned to the trenches.
The next morning three fresh tiers of embrasures grinned one aboveanother at the besiegers. The besieged had been up all night, andnot idle. In half these apertures black muzzles showed themselves.The bastion had cut its front teeth.Thirteenth day of the siege.The trenches were within four hundred yards of the enemy's guns, andit was hot work in them. The enemy had three tiers of guns in theround bastion, and on the top they had got a long 48-pounder, whichthey worked with a swivel joint, or the like, and threw a greatroaring shot into any part of the French lines.As to the commander-in-chief and his generals, they were dottedabout a long way in the rear, and no shot came as far as them; butin the trenches the men began now to fall fast, especially on theleft attack, which faced the round bastion. Our young colonel hadgot his heavy battery, and every now and then he would divert thegeneral efforts of the bastion, and compel it to concentrate itsattention on him, by pounding away at it till it was all in soreplaces. But he meant it worse mischief than that. Still, asheretofore, regarding it as the key to Philipsburg, he had got alarge force of engineers at work driving a mine towards it, and tothis he trusted more than to breaching it; for the bigger holes hemade in it by day were all stopped at night by the townspeople.This colonel was not a favorite in the division to which his brigadebelonged. He was a good soldier, but a dull companion. He was alsoaccused of hauteur and of an unsoldierly reserve with his brotherofficers.
Some loose-tongued ones even called him a milk-sop, because he wasconstantly seen conversing with the priest--he who had nothing tosay to an honest soldier.Others said, "No, hang it, he is not a milk-sop: he is a triedsoldier: he is a sulky beggar all the same." Those under hisimmediate command were divided in opinion about him. There wassomething about him they could not understand. Why was his sallowface so stern, so sad? and why with all that was his voice sogentle? somehow the few words that did fall from his mouth wereprized. One old soldier used to say, "I would rather have a wordfrom our brigadier than from the commander-in-chief." Othersthought he must at some part of his career have pillaged a church,taken the altar-piece, and sold it to a picture-dealer in Paris, orwhipped the earrings out of the Madonna's ears, or admitted thefemale enemy to quarter upon ungenerous conditions: this, or somesuch crime to which we poor soldiers are liable: and now wascommitting the mistake of remording himself about it. "Alwaysalongside the chaplain, you see!"This cold and silent man had won the heart of the most talkativesergeant in the French army. Sergeant La Croix protested with manyoaths that all the best generals of the day had commanded him inturn, and that his present colonel was the first that had succeededin inspiring him with unlimited confidence. "He knows every pointof war--this one," said La Croix, "I heard him beg and pray forleave to storm this thundering bastion before it was armed: but no,the old muffs would be wiser than our colonel. So now here we arekept at bay by a place that Julius Caesar and Cannibal wouldn't havemade two bites at apiece; no more would I if I was the old boy outthere behind the hill." In such terms do sergeants denotecommanders-in-chief--at a distance. A voluble sergeant has moreinfluence with the men than the minister of war is perhaps aware: onthe whole, the 24th brigade would have followed its gloomy colonelto grim death and a foot farther. One thing gave these men a touchof superstitious reverence for their commander. He seemed to themfree from physical weakness. He never SAT DOWN to dinner, andseemed never to sleep. At no hour of the day or night were thesentries safe from his visits.
Very annoying. But, after awhile, it led to keen watchfulness: themore so that the sad and gloomy colonel showed by his manner heappreciated it. Indeed, one night he even opened his marble jaws,and told Sergeant La Croix that a watchful sentry was an importantsoldier, not to his brigade only, but to the whole army. Judgewhether the maxim and the implied encomium did not circulate nextmorning, with additions.Sixteenth day of the siege. The round bastion opened fire at eighto'clock, not on the opposing battery, but on the right of the Frenchattack. Its advanced position enabled a portion of its guns to rakethese trenches slant-wise: and depressing its guns it made the roundshot strike the ground first and ricochet over.
On this our colonel opened on them with all his guns: one of thesehe served himself. Among his other warlike accomplishments, he wasa wonderful shot with a cannon. He showed them capital practicethis morning: drove two embrasures into one, and knocked about a tonof masonry off the parapet. Then taking advantage of this, heserved two of his guns with grape, and swept the enemy off the topof the bastion, and kept it clear. He made it so hot they could notwork the upper guns. Then they turned the other two tiers all uponhim, and at it both sides went ding, dong, till the guns were toohot to be worked. So then Sergeant La Croix popped his head up fromthe battery, and showed the enemy a great white plate. This wasmeant to convey to them an invitation to dine with the French army:the other side of the table of course.
To the credit of Prussian intelligence be it recorded, that thispantomimic hint was at once taken and both sides went to dinner.The fighting colonel, however, remained in the battery, and kept adetachment of his gunners employed cooling the guns and repairingthe touch-holes. He ordered his two cutlets and his glass of waterinto the battery.Meantime, the enemy fired a single gun at long intervals, as much asto say, "We had the last word."Let trenches be cut ever so artfully, there will be a little spaceexposed here and there at the angles. These spaces the men areordered to avoid, or whip quickly across them into cover.Now the enemy had just got the range of one of these places withtheir solitary gun, and had already dropped a couple of shot righton to it. A camp follower with a tray, two cutlets, and a glass ofwater, came to this open space just as a puff of white smoke burstfrom the bastion. Instead of instantly seeking shelter till theshot had struck, he, in his inexperience, thought the shot must havestruck, and all danger be over. He stayed there mooning instead ofpelting under cover: the shot (eighteen-pound) struck him right onthe breast, knocked him into spilikins, and sent the mutton cutletsflying.
The human fragments lay quiet, ten yards off. But a soldier thatwas eating his dinner kicked it over, and jumped up at the side of"Death's Alley" (as it was christened next minute), and danced andyelled with pain."Haw! haw! haw!" roared a soldier from the other side of the alley.
"What is that?" cried Sergeant La Croix. "What do you laugh at,Private Cadel?" said he sternly, for, though he was too far in thetrench to see, he had heard that horrible sound a soldier knows fromevery other, the "thud" of a round shot striking man or horse."Sergeant," said Cadel, respectfully, "I laugh to see Private Dard,that got the wind of the shot, dance and sing, when the man that gotthe shot itself does not say a word.""The wind of the shot, you rascal!" roared Private Dard: "lookhere!" and he showed the blood running down his face.
The shot had actually driven a splinter of bone out of the sutlerinto Dard's temple."I am the unluckiest fellow in the army," remonstrated Dard: and hestamped in a circle.
"Seems to me you are only the second unluckiest this time," said ayoung soldier with his mouth full; and, with a certain dry humor, hepointed vaguely over his shoulder with the fork towards the corpse.The trenches laughed and assented.This want of sympathy and justice irritated Dard. "You cursedfools!" cried he. "He is gone where we must all go--without anytrouble. But look at me. I am always getting barked. Dogs ofPrussians! they pick me out among a thousand. I shall have aheadache all the afternoon, you see else."Some of our heads would never have ached again: but Dard had a goodthick skull.Dard pulled out his spilikin savagely.
"I'll wrap it up in paper for Jacintha," said he. "Then that willlearn her what a poor soldier has to go through."Even this consolation was denied Private Dard.Corporal Coriolanus Gand, a bit of an infidel from Lyons, whosometimes amused himself with the Breton's superstition, told himwith a grave face, that the splinter belonged not to him, but to thesutler, and, though so small, was doubtless a necessary part of hisframe.
"If you keep that, it will be a bone of contention between you two,"said he; "especially at midnight. HE WILL BE ALWAYS COMING BACK TOYOU FOR IT.""There, take it away!" said the Breton hastily, "and bury it withthe poor fellow."Sergeant La Croix presented himself before the colonel with a ruefulface and saluted him and said, "Colonel, I beg a thousand pardons;your dinner has been spilt--a shot from the bastion.""No matter," said the colonel. "Give me a piece of bread instead."La Croix went for it himself, and on his return found Cadel sittingon one side of Death's Alley, and Dard with his head bound up on theother. They had got a bottle which each put up in turn wherever hefancied the next round shot would strike, and they were bettingtheir afternoon rations which would get the Prussians to hit thebottle first.La Croix pulled both their ears playfully.
"Time is up for playing marbles," said he. "Be off, and play atduty," and he bundled them into the battery.It was an hour past midnight: a cloudy night. The moon was up, butseen only by fitful gleams. A calm, peaceful silence reigned.