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grated, bearing with them arts and sciences, which they almost exclusively practised.
But to return to Pauline; the very violence of the storm, it might be supposed, would be sufficient excuse for her nonappearance, and at length, yielding to these arguments, she consented to remain till day.
The next morning rose gay and beautiful; the air had been purified by the heavy rains, and had that bracing, exhilarating freshness almost peculiar to France. Even the trembling Calvinists, as they hurried on, felt its influence, and were insensibly beguiled into something like hope. How can we despair of kindness from our fellow-beings when our Creator's manifold blessings are spread around us, when all nature, animate and inanimate, seems to join in glad hymns of praise ? At such moments our hearts are elevated beyond our worldly cares, and life, mere life, becomes a luxury !
The gloomy, indignant Pierre, was betrayed into a less desponding tone, and Pauline dried her tears as she hastily gathered a few autumn flowers, in memory of their rough bivouac and their early walk.
Alas ! for hopes too early crushed. They no sooner gained their village when they were summoned before M. de Monrevel, who, they were informed, was highly incensed at their pro
Old Cambron vainly entreated that his lady might at least be allowed time for some slight refreshment; travel-stained and fatigued as she was, she was dragged before the governor with far less courtesy than was due even to the lowest of her sex.
The Marquis de Monrevel had, according to the custom of his time, been indulging the previous evening in a debauch, and his blood was still fevered by the effects of his intemperance. He turned his bloodshot eye on Pauline, and brutally
asked her name and religion. She answered him with calm dignity.
“Calvinist dogs ! I thought so,” he replied; “let them hang; it will teach the others to howl their hymns within due bounds, and the maidens, if there be such, the dangers of night rambles."
Pauline's blood rushed to her cheeks at this last taunt; she felt its bitterness even more than her impending doom, and remained speechless in disdainful anger, while Pierre also preserved an indignant silence. Not so Cambron, he poured forth an explanation ; he spoke of Mademoiselle de Meyrarques' delicate nature and health, of the terrible storm, of her father's services; but the arguments he had considered so cogent were wasted on the obdurate judge.
“Oh, where, where is M. le Baron ?” cried the old man, as he wrung his hands in agony.
“ Can it be ? — can they indeed mean to hang a daughter of the Meyrarques, and Argaliers' bride ? Oh, Mademoiselle Pauline! my dear, dear lady, rouse youself ! ---speak to them !”
A sharp struggle seemed to writhe her gentle frame at this appeal.
“You are right, dear Cambron," she said; and, slowly advancing, she sank at the Marquis's feet. Pierre would have prevented her, — “Nay, stay me not, my kind friend,” she continued, “it is my duty. Yes, M. de Monrevel, here kneeling before you, my father's once frequent guest, I implore your justice, not your mercy; I ask not for my own life, though I am young, very young; but spare these good men, these faithful servants -I alone am guilty! Must they die because they would not leave their mistress to perish? Oh, sir ! you have a mother and sisters, for their sakes be merciful, be just - do not make fidelity a crime !”
“Not for us - not for us shall you so degrade yourself, dear lady!” cried Cambron ; "we are honoured in dying for and with you !” “We are honoured in dying for the good cause
- for manhood— for the Lord !” interrupted Pierre. “Let us die, our murder will not remain unavenged."
“ Ha, canaille ! do you threaten us?” exclaimed Monrevel, almost trampling on Pauline, as he started forward and violently struck Pierre on the mouth. “To the gallows with them !- Down with the Huguenot crew ! - Death to the heretics !”
His watchword cry was repeated by all in the room save one, his valet, who had already distinguished himself by his successful interposition in similar cases, and only preserved his post by his singular skill as a coiffeur.
“They die at noon,” pursued Monrevel. “ Remember the Lavèges' fate — Death to the heretics !”
The sad system of retaliation had been entered on by the Calvinists, and the Lavège family, inoffensive Catholics, had been ruthlessly murdered by them a short time previously. Accordingly the unhappy prisoners were removed from the room, and their judges sat down unconcernedly to breakfast, while three gibbets were in course of erection on the village green, opposite their windows. Jourdain, however, the compassionate valet, could not resist making an attempt in their favour, and, despairing of his own powers of persuasion, engaged a more powerful auxiliary in Mère St. Anne, abbess of the neighbouring Benedictine convent, who was well known for her truly Christian charity. He had obliged the holy mother by assisting in decorating her chapel on the last St. Michael with true Parisian taste; she had then promised him a boon, and he now claimed it.
The good nun was inexpressively grieved at his tale : a
woman, and of noble birth. The horror of Pauline's fate was doubled by its degradation.
“Hang a woman !-a demoiselle ! —a Meyrarques! Holy Virgin! blessed St. Anne! — it is impossible! Poor child, we must save her ! — Good Jourdain, she must not die!”
“And the men, holy mother ?”
“I fear their doom is irrevocable, unless man is young and strong, you say?"
“As Hercules, madame."
“Do not name those vain heathen deities here, my son; they are unfitting words for this sacred place. Thy confessor must reason with thee on this. But if this clown, this Pierre, be young and strong, 'tis sad that he should die. I may save him yet ; but the poor weak girl — the noble lady— think you, , Jourdain, we might yet bring her into the fold ?”
“No, reverend dame, the pride of birth and religion sparkles in her eye; all these Calvinists are stiff-necked. She bowed herself to sue for her retainers, but she will not deny her errors from the fear of death."
“ She is right, heretic though she be. Still something may be done. I, too, have jurisdiction here ; I claim my rightsthose of the Church - they shall not be infringed by any layman. Go, my son ; trust in me."
The marquis and his officers were still at table, when the door was opened to adinit a long procession of the Benedictines, headed by their abbess.
“ Armand de Saint-Ange, Marquis de Monrevel, lieutenant du roi, and deputy governor of this province,” she firmly said, “I, Isabeau de Blancfort, dame supérieure of the Convent des Benedictines à Mas le Garifas, and lady of this parish, demand by what authority you execute justice within my jurisdiction ?”
“By that of his gracious majesty the king; which should be all powerful, methinks, reverend mother, with all good Catholics and loyal subjects,” answered Monrevel.
“ But not in injury to the Church's claims."
“Pardon me again, venerable lady; by an edict published by our martyred bishop, the sainted François de Duchayla,a relative of your own, noble lady,- a short time before these accursed heretics massacred him, my powers are rendered paramount to all in the case of Calvinists. A lady holding your high station in the Church can scarce be ignorant of this."
“ Nor am I, my son ; but I claim the demoiselle Pauline de Meyrarques as a Catholic—a concealed but worthy member of the true Church."
“A Catholic! impossible, holy mother! You are deceived; I have known her from childhood.” “ Yet
you could condemn her to a dog's death! But I have known her from her new birth, and I claim her as one of my community — as one of those subject to my authority alone.”
This sudden announcement astonished all the hearers; but as Monrevel had no means of proving it to be untrue, he was obliged to yield to the abbess's demands and give up Pauline to her. The bewildered girl was, therefore, led from her confinement and placed in the kind woman's hands.
In the meantime Jourdain had found means, by the abbess's directions, to convey a file, and some clothes as a disguise, to the two men ; but there was no possibility of saving both, and Pierre was with great difficulty compelled by his father to profit by this unexpected assistance.
“For your mother's sake,--for mademoiselle's, you must go, boy. I am old and useless. What matters it whether I live or die ? but you, Pierre, you can yet serve the cause. Your mother-- poor old woman !—will need nothing while you live ; but if we lose you we must starve together. Go, my son, seek