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to do me a little favor ;” and with an of- much around him to raise alarm. Already fended air she turned away, and began had the Rhone risen several feet since he taking the things from the table.
had crossed it earlier in the evening, and Victor bit his lip. M. Lubin smiled when he re-entered Lyons the streets were spitefully, and Pierre, who was blind to all unusually thronged with people, some that was going on, bade him good-night, transporting furniture and goods from the after affectionately entreating him to come lower parts of the town, which were flooded, again soon. The young man bowed haugh- others collecting in shivering groups under tily to M. Lubin, then went close to Cath- arches or any projecting eaves which aferine and held out his hand, looking forded some shelter against the pitiless gravely and sadly in her face. Now, if rain, which was again pouring down. In Catherine had given way to the impulse some streets near the Saone, Victor splashof the moment, she would have thrown ed in water up to his knees, but even this her arms round his neck, confessed herself failed to arouse his attention. Ascending a little goose, said that she admired and the steep hill, he reached home drenched loved him, and that never had M. Lubin to the skin, and his mother at once perbeen so hateful to her as this evening, and ceived that he had been wounded instead thus sent him away happy ; but strong as of pleased by his visit. But avoiding any the inclination was, it was combated by a painful questions, she only tried by every spice of coquettish pride ; so she merely loving attention to soothe and comfort shook hands coldly, and said, " I suppose him. She persuaded him to go to bed, you will honor us with your company again and made him some hot coffee, and when soon ?"
he had drank it, she left him to the sleep “ Not unless our meeting is likely to be he so greatly required. He had been so a happier one than this has been," said he anxious to reach home that he had not hastily, and at once left the room. slept for three nights, and was completely
We all know how bitter it is when we exhausted. Even his restless misery could return after a long absence, full of antici- not keep him awake; for, after tossing pation of our first meeting with those we about for a short time, tired nature aslove, to find ourselves awakened from our serted her claim, and sealed his senses in pleasant dreams by some cold and disap- a blessed forgetfulness. pointing reality. Often our hearts are too He was awakened ere it was light the full to utter the many tender speeches we next morning by his mother, who was have, as it were, been conning over; and obliged to shake him by the shoulder to often those we meet, perhaps from the rouse him from his heavy sleep. same cause, do not at first welcome us so “Why, mother,” said he, rubbing his warmly as our yearning love has expected, eyes, “what on earth do you want me to and thus these meetings are generally sad get up for? it is not light yet. I thought ones. So poor Victor felt, as he left I was to sleep till noon." La Petite Californie and struck toward “ My son, the floods are out, the Rhone home.
has risen fearfully, and is still rising ; they If he had not heard the reports about M. say La Petite Californie is under water to Lubin, it is probable he would not have the second story. Pierre Mercier, who heeded Catherine's coldness; but the slight came across last night with M. Lubin, to suspicion which his conversation with his be ready for some orders in the morning, mother aroused had rankled in his mind, was attempting to return home, when a and thus he had been too watchful, too piece of timber fell upon him and broke ripe to take offense, which had rendered his leg. They carried him to his sister's his manner cold and constrained. But he house near here, and he has sent this note was too much hurt to examine how far to you." he was himself to blame ; for, as Coleridge Victor had jumped up, and was putting says,
on his clothes ; he took the crumpled piece To be wroth with one we love,
of paper, and hastily read the following Doth work like madness in the brain ;
“My brave Friend, -La Petite Califorso he dashed on, regardless of everything nie is flooded ; I am disabled. Save my but his own bitter thoughts. Had he been daughter, if it is not even now too late.less engrossed, he would have observed | Pierre MERCIER."
It took but a few minutes to equip the prow, guiding the boat with a pole, and ready soldier ; his mother made him take guarding it from the various obstacles some food to cat as he went along. which were floating about. A turn or two
“ You will need all your strength,” said more would bring him within sight of she," and must eat it for my sake." Catherine's dwelling, but a cross current
He knelt down for an instant as he met him, and he had a serious struggle to used to do when a little boy :
prevent its carrying him away ; but, by a “ Bless me, my mother, ere I go forth.” strong effort, he turned the boat round the
She laid her hand upon his head, and right corner, and then— heavens ! how with a choked voice said :
fearful was the scene that burst upon his “God preserve you, my own beloved sight!
The water, which was bearing him on, He rose, took her in his arms, gave her was up to the third story, and was rapidly one long, long, loving embrace-feeling it rising ; but there was a greater danger might be the last—and then he sped away attending Catherine than the angry flood. upon his perilous enterprise.
The first two houses on the left-hand side Descending the hill of Fourviers, Victor of the street, sapped from their foundasaw in the faint morning light a terrible tions, had fallen in one great crash, while panorama of destruction before him. Both the next, being the one in which the Merrivers were rushing madly along, studded ciers dwelt, was swaying to and fro with with the spoils of their expanded and re- every impulse of the fierce tide, and seemsistless waters. The Rhone, especially, ed as if, in one instant, it would follow its he observed, was dotted over with the ob- companions. Victor saw all this, though jects which were being carried away ; still at a considerable distance, and also and fearing lest indeed he was too late, observed that Catherine was at the winhe dashed recklessly on. In his passage dow just above the water, alone, and claspthrough the city, he had nearer and stronger ing her hands as if for aid. evidence of the extent of the inundation. With desperate strokes he sent his boat Though he chose the higher parts, as less forward, reckless of the broken boards, likely to impede his headlong career, he pieces of furniture, and animals which had ever and anon glimpses of streets in were thronging in his course. As he which the water was rushing like a river, neared the place of danger he came upon where whole houses were crumbling down; a side street, which rose above the water, where the roofs were crowded with refu- and on which were assembled a considergees from the rising floods ; where boats able number of people watching the falling were passing to and fro, and hastily con- house. There were boats moored near, structed rafts, laden with women and in which they had brought off the rest of children just rescued, somo even in their the inhabitants ; but Catherine had been night clothes, were slowly moving to some aroused too late, and did not come to the place of shelter. In his path were groups window till they had steered off. Just who had been landed; children wailing and afterward the other houses fell, and now calling in heart-rending accents for their no one would go to rescue the helpless parents ; mothers rushing wildly about girl. Amid the group was M. Lubin, on seeking for their lost children, and re- horseback, vainly urging the boatmen to fusing to be comforted. Others were sit- make the attempt. ting down in hopeless despair, having seen “ Ten thousand francs to any one who those they loved best crushed in some will save Catherine Mercier," cried he. quick ruin, or carried away by the raging There was not a movement, and the waters.
sad looks of the boatmen betokened how Victor sickened at the sight of so much desperate the case was. misery, and dashed across the nearest “Twenty thousand, forty thousand shall bridge. On the other side he seized a it be,” cried he. small boat, and getting a soldier to help Still no one stirred ; life was dearer to him, they transported it through some them than money. streets which were protected by an em- “ Young man,” roared the frantic merbankment, and then launched it on the chant, as Victor's boat shot past ; "half flood. Victor found that the rapid cur- of my fortune shall you have if you will rent was in his favor ; he stood in the I save that girl."
“ Beware," cried an old sailor, “it will “ Thank God, we are safe !" be certain death."
They were drawn to the bank, and Victor turned his pale face for one in- landed amid the cheers of the spectators. stant, and shouted proudly,
When M. Lubin saw that Catherine was “ Money cannot save her, M. Lubin ; out of danger, saved by his hated rival, perhaps true love may.”
he pulled his hat over his brows, and A murmur of applause burst from the spurred his horse away from the spot. crowd.
Victor having thanked the boatmen warmly “Here, my brave fellow,” cried the old for their sympathy and help, took the sailor, throwing a rope into the boat, " tie poor girl upon his arm, and winding his that fast; we shall pull you back more way by the more protected streets of Les quickly than you can row, and there is no Brotteaux, got safe across one of the time to be lost ; may God speed you." bridges which yet remained unflooded.
Victor seized the rope, and knotted it But danger still held her naked sword to a seat; gave one desperate stroke, and above their heads. Now they were obhis boat, released from some stones which liged to fly from falling houses, as they had stopped it, shot under the yawning passed in a boat through some of the floodshadow of the trembling house.
ed streets. Then, as they pursued their Catherine had given up all hope_life way on foot, they met a fierce current is very sweet to the young; and it was forcing its way in a new channel. Now with an agonized heart that she had they had to thread a terror-stricken crowd, watched the boatman, had seen M. Lubin's so dense and reckless that it required all fruitless gesticulations, and felt that no Victor's strength to guard his companion human aid was to be procured. All the from being crushed. Misery and confuevents of her past life flashed across her sion were on every side ; mutilated sufmind, and bitter was her penitence for ferers were being carried on stretchers to every folly which had looked so little till the hospitals, and sounds of grief and wild seen under the shadow of death. She felt despair rang in their ears. At last, weathat she could meet her fate more calmly ry, faint, and drenched, Victor led the if she could have said one word to Victor poor girl to her aunt's house, and without --but where was he? A sudden and more waiting to allow her to speak one word of violent movement of the house convinced the love and gratitude which her full heart her that the time was short, and shutting was struggling to express, he left her. her eyes, she kneeled down and commend And so the cloud still rested between ed herself to God.
them. A strong hand laid upon her shoulder Pierre welcomed his daughter with called her back to life, and starting up, deep emotion; he had scarcely hoped to she saw her lover standing in the boat, see her again, and received her alınost as keeping it close to the window by leaning one given him back from the dead. His his whole weight upon the sill.
leg had been set, and Catherine found “Quick, quick," cried he, "jump into him as comfortable as, under the circumthe boat. God grant that it may not be stances, could be expected. Again and too late."
again he made her relate the tale of her She sprang lightly down; Victor pushed | danger and her rescue, and the warm away from the house; the boatmen, who praises he uttered of Victor's bravery were watching the scene with breathless were as music to her ears. attention, tightened the rope, and drew The young soldier had gone at once to them rapidly back. Scarcely were they his mother's home, to relieve her fears, at a safe distance, when the whole building and get some necessary food, but he would fell with a terrible crash, and confused not stay to rest. heaps of timbers and bricks, round which “No, mother," said he, “I have saved the water hissed and foamed, were all the Catherine, and her life has been granted remains of what had so lately been her to our prayers; there are thousands of home. Catherine shuddered and hid her helpless women and children in danger face. Victor, who till this instant had and distress, and in very gratitude I must been silent, his compressed lips and frown- go and do my best to succor them." ing brow alone testifying his deep anxiety, Three days and nights did he labor exclaimed,
among the suffering population of his na
tive city. Where danger was the great- She put her hand upon his head ; it was est, and misery the deepest, there was burning hot; she felt his pulse; it was Victor, battling with the floods, helping beating wildly. She saw at once what those who seemed to have none to help was the matter: over fatigue, sorrow of them, cheering the fearful, repressing the mind, the dreadful scenes he had passed selfish. And awful were the scenes through, and the constant exposure to wet through which he passed; streets in the and cold, had been too much for him to most densely populated parts of Lyons bear; and her gallant son—her only child were flooded, and in many instances the —was stricken with a deadly fever. houses washed down, oftentimes carrying
When Catherine called an hour afterin their ruins their wretched inhabitants. ward she found the anxious mother lisBoats containing the rescued were dashed tening to the minute directions of a physito pieces by the debris which were being cian, who said that it was a very serious carried about by the raging waters; and Though Jeannie was rather disthose who had just begun to taste the posed to be angry with her, the sight of sweetness of hope were, with heart-rend- Catherine's misery, when she heard of ing shrieks, hurled to their death. Cem- Victor's illness, and found that he was eteries were flooded, and the graves torn already unconscious, touched her heart; up gave forth their dead, whose bodies, in and of her own accord she asked the poor every stage of decay, floated in ghastly girl to come and help her nurse him, knowguise upon the face of the waters. Even ing that it was what she was longing to with the blessed consciousness of doing do. Catherine thankfully agreed to do so, his best to lesson the suffering, Victor's and went home to tell her father of this heart sickened within him.
new call upon her time. He was proHe had not slept the whole time; he gressing favorably, was in no danger, and only occasionally ran home to assure his having his sister to wait upon him, he anxious mother of his safety, and take warmly approved of his daughter's going some necessary food. But the fourth to nurse her brave preserver. evening he walked wearily in.
It is very sad to watch by the sick-bed “Mother, dear, I ought to be proud and of a man in the prime of youth and happy, but somehow," said he, putting his strength; to see the body helpless as a hand to his head, “I do not seem to care little child ; the hands vainly endeavoring for anything. The emperor has been to grasp anything; the restless head that down to Lyons; I had just been getting tosses from side to side; the parched some poor woman out of a tottering house, lips. But it is sadder far when the pawhen I was called by a gentleman, and tient is one whom we love best upon obeying the summons, I found myself in earth; when on the issue depends our the presence of his majesty, who was happiness or our bitterest sorrow. Very standing in the midst of the floods, half silent was that sick-room, few were their way up to his waist in water, and by his words, but constant were their prayers. side was my commanding officer, and he By turns Jeannie and Catherine sat úp at spoke a few words to the emperor ; and night; and it was a slight consolation to then his majesty called me to him, and the latter to try by every loving care to decorated me with the Cross of the Le- deaden the bitter thoughts which were gion of Honor, for what he called my gals thronging in her mind, and which, when lantry in saving the 'inondis.'* And he she feared he might die without hearing further said, that hearing of my conduct her confession of folly, and speaking one at the Malakoff, he would give me a com- word of forgiveness, were well-nigh inmission ; and so your son, dearest mother, supportable. Day succeeded day, and will be Lieutenant Champereau,” said he, still the unconscious invalid tossed to and smiling; “but somehow I do not seem to fro, every hour becoming weaker; yet the care for it as much as I ought to do. My fever did not abate. head is so bad," added he, throwing him- At last the night of the crisis came; self on the ground, and laying his head in Victor had fallen into a heavy sleep, that his mother's lap, "I feel as if I had no sleep which, when ended, might reveal the strength left."
worst. Catherine had retired from the
bed lest, on first waking, the sight of her Inondis-sufferers from an inundation. might startle him ; Jeannie knelt by her
son. As the morning dawned he opened
THE GIPSIES OF SWITZERLAND. his eyes,
and said, “ Mother, where am I ?"
MHERE is in Switzerland a class of in0! the joy of that voice; it was his dividuals who may be called the gipsies own accent, though weak and trembling. of that country: they are not, however, a She gave him some nourishment, and with separate nor a foreign race, and they are a few loving words he fell asleep again. not numerous. They lead a nomadic lise, The danger was passed — her son was wandering upon the frontiers of the differspared.
ent cantons or of the states bordering upCatherine continued in her office of on the Helvetic Confederation. Their nurse, for he was very much reduced, and most ordinary visible occupations are those required constant care, and though all ex- of basket-making and fowling ; they also citement was strictly forbidden, and he deal in coarse pottery-ware; but they live was scarcely allowed to speak, it seemed principally by marauding and upon public to do him good to watch her as she moved charity, frequently having nothing more lightly about the room.
for a roof than a cloth-covered cart, a One afternoon, when he had recovered miserable house, or rather rolling cabin, a little strength, he was sitting propped which witnessed their birth, and perhaps up by pillows. The window was open, will witness their death. and the fresh spring air was blowing in, They appear thus here and there, now while the warm sunshine illumined the in one place, then in another; passing
Catherine was arranging a bou- through villages, stopping, if they are perquet of flowers which she had just mitted, in the fairs and inarkets, and in the brought in, when Victor called her to evening retiring into the woods and desert him, and said,
places. As formerly the poor boys of “Catherine, I fear this sick-room is Paris found a retreat under the arches of but a dull place for you. I shall tell my the Pont Neuf, which remained a long time mother to invite M. Lubin to spend the unfinished, so one of the bands of these evening here to cheer you."
poor people had but recently selected a “Do not be cruel, Victor; M. Lubin is domicile in one of the old covered wooden nothing to me. Did he save my life?" bridges formerly so common in Switzer
“ And the fact of my having had that land, thrown over a torrent at the foot of great happiness is to weigh down the scale a ravine not far from Vevay, at the frontier even against M. Lubin and all his ad- of the cantons of Vaud and Fribourg ; this vantages.”
bridge was no longer used, and they were “Certainly, if the scale had not been thus able to appropriate it as an asylum. weighed down long before by something Composed of one or two families, in all else."
cases of a sufficiently limited number of “ And what was that something else ?" | individuals, their little bands had no other cried he, drawing her toward him," what tie beyond themselves except that of a wonderful thing could out - balance M. similar mode of life, the privilege of living Lubin, his fashion, his fortune, his jewelry, somewhere and that of belonging to Switzthe carriage he would provide you, the erland, German Switzerland, where they rich dresses you would be enabled to buy ; are more frequently met than in French what was it?"
Switzerland, and to which they belong by She looked into his eager face, her eyes language at least. were filled with tears, and with a trem- They believe, and indeed assert, that bling voice, as she laid her head upon his they are of Swiss origin, but they have no shoulder, she said,
other proof of it than their assertion, their " Forgive all my folly, Victor, for it family reminiscences, their traditional genwas—Love."
ealogy, which is far from offering the conMy own Catherine,” whispered he, tinuation and moral certainty afforded by "we have been in great danger, and yet the genealogy of an Arab tribe. Proofs we have been spared to each other. The and legal documents they cannot furnish in rain has ceased from the carth, and the the slightest degree. Therefore the Swiss clouds have passed away. O, let no reject them, each canton seeking to throw shadows ever come again between thee them off upon another, and the confedera. and me.”
tion upon the neighboring states. Hence