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would have been this. The old beau's gallantries were insufferable after the splendid homage of Kophetua; and the abasement under which she groaned at having to endure them with a smile was proportional to the self-respect which the king's chivalrous adiniration had revived. She hated and despised herself more than ever.
The memory of Penelophon's betrayal pricked and scourged her into a deep melancholy. By it she had lost not only the new-born faith in herself, but her earthly paradise as well. For as such she knew it now--the life that might have been hers. She knew that at last she loved the man whom at first she only desired. She felt she could give the whole world to have his love in return. Throneless and penniless she would take him now, and give more to win him than an empire. And this was the man she had driven to suicide or madness—she knew not what. By her crime she had poisoned herself in his eyes and her handmaid too; and he she loved so well had fled the world in despair. She knew him well, and understood it all. It was a torment almost past endurance, and yet day by day she must smile beneath it, and push her father's scheme to try and drive the memory from her head.
So she lay one afternoon upon her divan, little more than a week before the king's reign would come to an end, feeling, as the catastrophe drew near, there was nothing she would not do to repair the wrong of which she was guilty. She was awaiting the general's now daily visit, dressed voluptuously in one of those wonderful demi-toilettes, which drove the foolish old officer to the verge of distraction, and made him feel that one hour of her society even at the tantalising distance she preserved was compensation enough for all the little ease at home with which Madame Dolabella's jealousy made itself evident.
In due course he made his appearance; but it was not with the gallant air that usually distinguished him. He was evidently excited.
“Mademoiselle !” he cried, seating himself beside her without ceremony or greeting, and spreading out a paper. “See here. What shall I do? I must do something, and there is no one I may safely consult but yourself.”
“ My dear general,” said Malle. de Tricotrin,“ calm yourself, and tell me all about it.”
Calm myself !” said the general, sinking his voice to an agitated whisper. “How can I ? The king is alive, and I know where he is !”
Malle. de Tricotrin started up, and, seizing the paper from the general's hand, began to read it eagerly. Her beautiful lips parted, and her breath came quick and fast, as her eye ran down the lines. It was a report addressed to the Minister of Public Worship by the Abbot of the Cañon Hermits, giving him official intimation of the arrival of two novices, and furnishing him with particulars of their personal appearance for purposes of preliminary registration.
“There is no doubt who the novices are,” she said.
“Not the slightest," answered the general; and then stopped, as he saw the eyes he adored dim with tears. In a moment she understood it all, and knew that another had won the love for which she could never cease to hunger. It was a bitter morsel between her lips; yet the desire to repair the injury she had done, and regain a little of the good opinion she had forfeited, prevailed over all. She had lost him, she knew, and her only consolation was to make him regret her. Could she but find some means to release him from his enchantment it would be done. His eyes would be open, and he would see what a mistake he had made.
“What do you propose to do?" she asked abruptly, as she rose from her couch to hide her tears.
" To get the Committee of Safety summoned without delay," he said, “and inform them of what I have discovered, that they may immediately dissolve themselves and send a deputation to the king, imploring his return."
“And you will explain to my father and the chancellor," said Héloise, “ that the revolution must go no further.”
Precisely." “And find yourself in the Tower before the day is over.”
“My dear mademoiselle !" cried the general in alarm, what do you mean?”
“Why, my poor friend,” she answered, “ do you think they will go back now, with their hands on the prize ? No! so far ; you must go to the end. You are committed to a republic and the king's deposition."
“But this is terrible. I never intended
have gone Don't you
“I daresay not, general; but they intended all this for you, and it is I that have been told off to make a fool of
you. see that?”
“It is a little difficult at first,” said the unhappy warrior, lugubriously.
“So much the better," said Malle. de Tricotrin. "Pretend it is impossible. They must not think you see through them. Let no one get a sight of this report. Go on just as before; keep their eyes shut a few days longer, and leave the rest to me.”
“But, my dear mademoiselle," objected Dolabella, “you cannot appreciate what it is you ask. You, no doubt, being a Frenchwoman, are used to revolutions. But to me they are unusual occurrences, and I cannot help them making me a little anxious and nervous. How can you ask me to further this desperate plot now I am aware of its enormity, on the mere chance that you, a woman
“Hush, my general,” she said, putting her little soft hand over his mouth, with the prettiest gesture in the world, and looking with all her art into his dazzled eyes. “Is it possible you distrust
your déesse ? "
“If I distrust, mademoiselle," said the soft-hearted soldier, utterly overcome, “at least it is impossible to resist. I will act implicitly by your directions. Deign to tell me what they are at this moment."
For a little while she paced up and down the room, not regarding her foolish adorer. Her face was flushed and agitated, as thoughts, good and evil, battled once more for supremacy. Love whispered revenge, and love whispered devotion. To which voice would she give ear at last? She felt it in her power to lift up the man who had discarded her to his throne again, or to condemn him for ever to the life which she knew would soon become intolerable to his refinement. Suddenly she paused before the general.
“ Place Captain Pertinax under my orders, and send him to me at once.”
Like a queen she gave him her command, held her hand for him to kiss, and waved his dismissal without another word.
(To be continued.)
AN EVENING AT THE IDLERS' CLUB.
The Idlers' Club, although a large and important building in the centre of Clubland, is not an institution with which many are acquainted, a few details therefore may be interesting. To become a member of the Club, it is necessary to be proposed and seconded in the usual manner; in addition to which, it is also necessary that each candidate shall have been principal or active agent in some peculiar incident, the history of which he is required to read or explain to a committee of thirteen members of the Club, who decide whether there is sufficient novelty in it to entitle the applicant to membership. An evening is usually devoted to each individual. Every member has the right of entry to the room to listen. But the committee for the evening alone judge upon the story. The President or his deputy are the only two who can always attend the committee. One or the other must always be present to preside. The rest of the members each take an evening in turn to make up the number. By the foregoing means there is always something which might be interesting on at the Club, and each intending member trie: to outdo the last in raking up his life for its most remarkable evint, and much pains are devoted to the telling of these anecdotes order to impress the committee.
The candidate on the present evening was Mr. Horace Gordon. Those who do not know him may be informed—for he makes no secret of what he is—that, although he has not gained world-wide fame, he is certainly a genius in his way—a sort of Admirable Crichton. He is an artist, a musician, and scholar; a good shot and billiard-player; young and very good-looking, and an accomplished flirt. All these things, and a great many more, he does remarkably well. He lives partly by art and partly by literature; but music is perhaps his real strong point-especially
with the fair sex, with whom he is a great favourite. I have heard them go into raptures about him. “He can sing like an angel," says one. “So awfully good-looking,” says another. “He plays divinely,” says a third. It makes the ordinary male human feel quite out of it to hear them. He does not belong in a professional way to any profession, but mixes in the best society. When, however, he is invited to a great house, and is to sing or to make himself useful as well as ornamental, it is customary for the host to hand him a cheque on some thinly veiled pretence or other. He is, however, a good fellow all round, and has been put up for the “ Idlers,” and has now to tell his story. His popularity has attracted an unusual number of members, who are anxious to hear what he has to say; and after being duly introduced, he began his story as follows :
Mr. President and Gentlemen,-In accordance with the rules of your Club, I beg to submit the following incident, which occurred to me as being sufficient to entitle me to membership, and as being by far the most remarkable event in the course of my
life. A few years ago I accepted an invitation to visit Sir Edward Tollmarsh, of Darnley Hall, Cheshire. I had only met Sir Edward once or twice before, and I have no hesitation in acknowledging that my visit was a business one. The Tollmarshes are a great family in Cheshire, and a very old one. They are supposed to have held their property before the Conquest. However, to proceed, their home is always full after the London season, and it was at this time of the year that I went there. I arrived late in the evening—just before dinner, and after that was over enjoyed a pleasant hour in the drawing-room, where there was some excellent music. I afterwards played a game at billiards, smoked a cigar, and went to bed. My room was in a somewhat remote wing of the house ; but the house being so full, and the room looking very comfortable, I did not feel the smallest cause for complaint. I felt, too, that I was treated entirely as one of the party, and not at all as a professional. As I was rather tired, I hurried into bed and was very quickly asleep. I do not know how long I had been asleep, but I was suddenly awoke by a violent shove against the bed, and rising up to see what this was, I distinctly saw two men standing at the foot of the bed. One a tall, dark, bearded man of about forty, and