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letters are filled with Madame Corneuil, and your “Do not deny, my dear, that this mania made maternal anxiety is aroused. Am I not right? you desperate. Then why do you complain ? For shame! you are ungrateful toward Provi- Your son is nearly saved. Heaven has sent Madence. You have a thousand times reproached dame de Corneuil to him. She will teach him a your son for being too sober, too serious, too great many things of which he is ignorant, and much given to study; scorning society, women, lead him to unlearn a great deal else. In her gayety, and business; cherishing no other dream beautiful eyes he will forget Amenophis III. of but that of some day composing a large book the eighteenth dynasty, Amen-Apt the ever-truthwhich will reveal to the astonished universe the ful, and the man with the great white cone. Do ancient secrets of four thousand years. You flat- not grudge him his tardy enjoyment, to say notered yourself that you might see him either in thing about charity toward a poor nurse of an inthe Chamber of Deputies, the Council of State, valid. Everything is going on well, my dear Maor in diplomacy: his refusal made you wretched. thilde. Write me that, on further reflection, you From his most tender infancy he cried to be tak- agree with me." en to the Egyptian Museum at the Louvre, and could have told with his eyes closed what was in the Cabinet K, and the Case Q, in the room val received the following short reply from his
The next day but one, the Marquis de Miraof sacred antiquities. It is no fault of mine.
niece : I did not make him. This truly extraordinary youth never loved any one but the goddess Isis, wife of Osiris. He was never interested in any formation you have been so kind as to gather for
“MY DEAR UNCLE: Your letter and the inevents but such as took place under Sesostris the Great. The most heated discussions of our
me have only doubled my anxiety. Madame deputies and the most eloquent words they might Corneuil is an intriguer. Why must Horace be
Since I lost my husband, utter always seemed tame to him in comparison caught in her toils ? with the story of the Pharaohs. He liked, better you have been my only counselor and my first than all the amusements you might offer to him, resort. Never did I need your assistance more. a papyrus mounted on linen or pasteboard, a
It is cruel to tear you away from your dear Paris, mummy's mask, a hawk, symbol of the soul, or a
but I know your kind feelings in my behalf, your pretty scarabæus of gold, emblem of immortality.
care for the interests of our family, and your I speak knowingly, for he honored me with his con
almost fatherly love for my poor, silly Horace. fidence. The last time I saw him I shall long re- I implore you to come to Vichy, that we may member: I found him shut up with hieroglyph- consult together. I summon you, and shall exic writing arranged backward in columns, and pect you.” ornamented with drawings of faces. He seemed much annoyed at being interrupted in this en- Madame de Penneville was right in thinking chanting tête-à-tête. At the head of the manu- it would be hard for her uncle to leave Paris ; script was a man with a yellow face, hair painted since he had left diplomacy, he could not endure blue, and his forehead ornamented with a lotus- any other spot. In the hottest months of sumbud and a great white cone. I touched one of mer, when every one goes away, he never dreamed the columns and said to the dear child, 'Great of leaving. He preferred to the most beautiful decipherer, what can all this conundrum be?' pine-trees, the tiny-leaved elms, which he saw He answered, without being offended : “My dear from the terrace of his club, where he spent the uncle, this conundrum, which, by your leave, is greater part of his days and even of his nights. very plain, is of the greatest importance, and sig. Nevertheless, this egotist or philosopher always nifies that the keeper of the focks of Ammon, had at heart the interest of his nephew, whom he Amen-Heb, the ever-truthful, and his wife, who intended to make his heir; and, besides, he was loves him, Amen-Apt, the ever-truthful, render very curious about it all, and did not conceal it. homage to Osiris, dwelling in the land of the With a sigh he ordered his valet to pack his West, ruler of times and seasons, to Ptah-Sokari, trunks, and that very evening left for Vichy. ruler of the tomb, and to the great Tum, who Informed by telegraph, Madame de Pennemade the heavens and created all the essences ville was waiting for him at the station. She coming out of the earth.' I listened to him with rushed to meet him as soon as he came in sight, so much interest that the next day he meant to saying : confer a great favor upon me by sending me the “ Fancy it—that woman is a widow, and he entire history of Amen-Heb, written down. I really means to marry her!" read it once every year, on his birthday. Could “Poor mother!" exclaimed the Marquis. “I any one accuse me of neglecting my duty as a agree with you, that things are getting segreat-uncle?
embarkation with a leaden coffin for Périgueux, Horace begged the favor of a moment's inter
view at night under the starry skies of Egypt, in MONSIEUR DE MIRAVALwas not mistaken in
a delicious atmosphere, wherein flitted the great his surmises; things had gone on just about as he vague ghosts of the Pharaohs: he then confessed had imagined. The Count Horace de Penneville to her his passion, and strove to make her engage had made the acquaintance of a beautiful blonde at herself to him before the year was over. Then Cairo, and, for the first time, his heart was touched. did he learn still further all the delicacy of her They met at the “new hotel "; from the very refined soul. She reproached him with downcast first Madame Corneuil took pains to attract the eyes for the eagerness of his love, and that she attention and the thought of the young man. could not think of so mingling the rose and cyMonsieur Corneuil seemed to rally somewhat, and press and thoughts of love with long crape veils. they profited by his improvement to visit together But she would permit him to write to her, and the museum at Boulak, the subterranean ruins of promised to reply in six months. At parting she Serapeum, the pyramids of Gizeh and of Sak- smiled upon him demurely but encouragingly. karah. Horace took upon himself the office of He then ascended the Nile again, reaching Upper cicerone in good earnest, and made it both his Egypt, glad to pass his months of waiting in the business and pleasure to explain Egypt to Ma- solitude of Thebais, where the days are more dame Corneuil, and Madame Corneuil listened than twenty-four hours in length; they could not to all his explanations with great seriousness and be too long for him to decipher hieroglyphics interested attention, occasionally mingled with a while thinking of Madame Corneuil. Crocodiles mild ecstasy. She seemed rapt and intent, a dull will play a conspicuous part in this story: Horflame glowed in the depths of her eyes; she ace was at Keri, or Crocodilopolis, when he repossessed in perfection the art of listening with ceived an exquisitely written and perfumed note, her eyes. She found no difficulty in admitting telling him that the adored being was passing that Moses lived in the reign of Rameses II.; the summer with her mother on the borders of she seemed delighted to learn that the second Lake Leman, at an apartment-house a short disdynasty lasted three hundred years; that Menes tance from Lausanne, and that if the Count de was a native of Thinis; and that the great pyra- Penneville should present himself, he need not mid was built gradually by Ka-kau, the Kaiechós knock twice for the door to open. He left like an of Manetho, by whom was founded the worship arrow, and ran with one stretch of the bow to of the ox Apis, the living manifestation of the Lausanne. He had written a letter of twelve god Ptah. She felt all the enthusiasm of a nov- pages to Madame de Penneville, in which he told ice, initiated in the sacred mysteries of Egyptian to her his good fortune with such effusion of chronology, declared that it was the most de- tenderness and of joy as might well have made lightful of all sciences and the most charming her despair. of pastimes, and vowed that she would learn to Both uncle and niece spent all their evening read hieroglyphics.
in talking, deliberating, and discussing, as generThe dénoúment took place during a visit to ally happens in like cases. The same things the tomb of Ti, by the reddish glare of torches. were repeated twenty times; it helps nothing, They were examining in a sort of ecstasy the but is a great comfort. Monsieur de Miraval, pictures graven on the walls of each of the fu- who seldom took things tragically, set himself to nereal chambers. One of them represented a console the Countess; but she was inconsolable. hunter seated in a bark in the midst of a marsh, How, in good faith,” said she, “could you in which hippopotami and crocodiles were swim- expect me to coolly contemplate the prospect of ming. As they were bending over the crocodiles, having for a daughter-in-law a girl sprung from Madame Corneuil, absorbed in her reverie, grew no one knows where; the daughter of a man of more than usually expansive. The young man ruined reputation, who married an insignificant was touched with a totally new sensation. She man, and separated from him that she might left the tomb first. On joining her without, he have her own way in Paris; a woman whose became dazzled, and suddenly discovered that name has been dragged through the 'Gazette des she had the bearing of a queen, brown eyes shot Tribunaux'; a woman who writes descriptions of with faun, the most wonderful hair in the world, mists, who composes sonnets, and who, I know, that she was beautiful as a dream, and that he is none too scrupulous ? ” was wildly in love with her.
“I do not know about that," answered the A few weeks later, Monsieur Corneuil gave Marquis, “but it has been said for a long time up his soul to God, leaving his entire fortune to that the most dangerous creatures in the world his wife, who, to speak the truth, had nursed him are the women • à sonnets,' and the serpents à with heroic patience. The evening before her sonnettes.' I will wager, however, that this wo
man is a maneuvrer, and that it is a very disa- from Egypt, and you may be sure he will not greeable business.
come until you give your consent. A man loves “ Horace, wretched Horace !” exclaimed the and respects his mother in vain when he is really Countess, “what grief you cause me !—The dear on fire, and Horace is that surely. Heavens! his fellow has a most noble and generous heart; un- letter proves it. So feverish is the prose that it fortunately, he never had a bit of common sense; almost burns the paper.” but how could I expect this ? ”
Madame de Penneville drew near the Mar“Alas! you had every reason to expect just quis, tenderly stroking his white hair, and putting this,” interrupted the Marquis. “One can not her arms about his neck: mistrust too much such precocious wisdom; it You are so shrewd: you have so much tact. always ends in some calamity. I have told you I have been told that very difficult missions were a hundred times, my dear Mathilde, that your son intrusted to you in the past, and that you acgave me considerable uneasiness, and that some quitted yourself gloriously.” unfortunate surprise was preparing for us. We "O thou cunning one, it is far easier to negoare all born with a certain amount of nonsense tiate with a government than to treat with a in us, which we must get rid of; happy are those lover in the toils of a manoeuvrer.” who exhaust it in youth! Horace kept it all till “ You can never make me believe that anyhe was twenty-eight years old, capital and inter- thing is impossible to you." est, and this is the result of all his economy. “ You have resolved to bring me into the Many little follies save from greater ones; when game,” said he to her. “Well, so be it; the ena man only commits one, it is almost always enor- terprise deserves to be attempted. But, à propos, mous, and generally irreparable.”
have you replied yet to the formidable letter Madame de Penneville passed to the Marquis which you have just read to me?" a cup of tea, sweetened by her white hand, and “ I would do nothing without consulting you." said to him in most caressing tones :
"So much the better; nothing is compromised; “My dear uncle, you alone can save us.” the affair is as yet unmeddled with. I will let “In what way?" asked he.
you know to-morrow if I decide to go to Lau“Horace has so much regard, so much re- sanne." spect for you. You have always had so much The Countess thanked Monsieur de Miraval authority with him."
warmly. She thanked him still more warmly the “Bah! we no longer live under the régime of next day when he announced to her that he would authority.”
do as she wished, and asked her to take him to “But, then, you have always allowed him to the station. She accompanied him, for fear he look upon himself as your heir; that gives you a might repent, and on the way said to him : certain right, it seems to me.”
“ This is a journey for all mothers to glory “Come! Young men who live in space, like over; but, would you be kind enough to write your son, can easily give up an inheritance. What me often from there ?” is an income of a hundred thousand francs com- "Oh, certainly," answered he, " but only upon pared with a pretty scarabaus, emblem of im- one condition.” mortality ?"
that be?” “My dear, dear uncle, I am persuaded that, “ That you do not believe one single word if you would consent to go to Lausanne" that I write to you." The Marquis jumped from his seat.
“ Good " What do you mean?” Heavens!” said he, “ Lausanne is very far.” “I also request of you,” continued he, “ that
And he heaved a sigh, as his thoughts turned you answer me as if you really did believe me, to the terrace at his club.
letters to Horace, begging “Only accept this task, and I will be eternally him to keep them to himself.” grateful. You can make the boy listen to rea- “I understand you less and less." son."
“What can that be which is beyond the com" My dear Mathilde, once in a while I read prehension of a woman? Open letters are the over my Latin poets. I know one of them says depths of diplomacy. After all, it is not necesthat madness is allied to love, and that to talk sary that you should understand ; the essential reason to a lover is as absurd as to ask him to thing is that you obey my instructions scrupurave with moderation, 'ut cum ratione insaniat.'” lously. Good-by, my dear; I am going to where
“ Horace has a heart. You must represent Heaven and your purrings have sent me. If I to him that this marriage will drive me to de- do not succeed, it will prove that our friends the spair."
Republicans were quite right in shelving me." “He suspects as much, my dear, since he did Having thus spoken, he kissed his niece, and not dare to come and greet you on his arrival stepped into the railway-carriage. He reached
Lausanne twenty-four hours later. The first turning his eye toward the large open window, thing which he did after engaging a room at the he saw that the moon, at its fullness, trailed along Hôtel Gibbon was to supply himself with a com- the shimmering waters of the lake a long row of plete fishing-outfit. After that, tired with his silver spangles. But, by a fortunate condition of journey, he slept six hours. After waking, he things, he was also wholly absorbed in his work ; dined; after dining, he took a carriage for the he was not in the least distracted from it; he apartment-house Vallaud, situated at twenty min- belonged to the Hyksos. The moon, the rose, utes' distance from Lausanne, upon the brow of Madame Corneuil, the cat-headed divinity, the one of the most beautiful hills in the world. This sphinx on the escritoire, the Unclean, and the charming villa, since changed into an hotel, con- King Apepi-were all blended together and besisted of a country-house in which the Count de come one to his inmost thoughts. The blessed Penneville had an apartment, and a lovely de- in paradise see all in God, and can thus think of tached chalet which was occupied by Madame all things without losing for one moment their Corneuil and her mother. The chalet and the great idea, which is infinite. The Count Horace house were separated, or, if it sounds better, was at the same moment at Lausanne in the united by a large park well shaded, which Hor- neighborhood of the woman whose image was ace crossed many times a day, saying to him- never out of his mind, and in Egypt two thouself, “When shall we live under the same roof?" sand years before Christ, and his happiness was But one must learn how to wait for happiness. as complete as his application to his studies.
At that very moment Horace was working, He had just finished this phrase : “Consider pen in hand, at his great “ History of the Hyk- the sculptures of the period of the Shepherd sos, or the Shepherd Kings, or of the Unclean” kings; examine carefully and impartially their —that is to say, of those terrible Canaanitish angular faces, with their prominent cheek-bones; hordes who, two thousand years before the Chris- and, if you are fair, you will agree that the race tian era, disturbed in their camps by the Elamite to which the Hyksos belong could not have been invasions of the Kings Chodornakhounta and purely Semitic, but must have been strongly Chodormabog, swept in their turn over the valley mixed with the Turanian element.” of the Nile, set it on fire, and drenched it in Satisfied with this ending, he stopped his blood, and for more than five centuries occupied work for a second, laid down his pen, and, drawboth the center and the north of Egypt. Full of ing the purple rose nearer to him, pressed it to learning, and rich in fresh documents collected his lips. Hearing a knock at the door, he quickby him with very great pains, he undertook to ly returned the rose to its vase, and in a tone show on unquestionable testimony that the Pha- of vexation exclaimed, “Come in!” The door raoh under whom Joseph became minister was opened. Monsieur de Miraval entered. Horace's indeed Apophis or Apepi, King of the Hyksos, face grew dark; the unexpected apparition disand he flattered himself that he could prove it so mayed him; he felt as if he had been suddenly strongly that henceforth it would be impossible shut out of his paradise. Alas! the happiest life for the most critical minds to contradict it. A of all is nothing but an intermittent paradise ! few months previously he had sent from Cairo to The Marquis, immovable on the threshold, Paris the first chapters of his history, which were bowed soberly to his nephew, saying to him : read at the Institute. His thesis shocked one “Ah! indeed, do I disturb you? You never or two Egyptologists, others thought there was knew how to conceal your feelings." some good in it, while one of them wrote him “My dear uncle," answered he, “how can thus : “Your début is promising. Macte amino, you think such a thing? I was not expecting generose puer.”
you, that I must confess. But pray, how did you Wrapped in a sort of burnous of white wool- happen here?” en stuff, his neck bare, and his hair disordered, “I am traveling in Switzerland. Could I he was leaning over a round table, before a writ- pass through Lausanne without coming to see ing-desk surmounted by a sphinx. His face wore you ?” the expression of contented heart and a per- “ Own up, uncle, that you were not passing fectly serene conscience. On the table a beautiful through," answered Horace ; own that you are purple rose, almost black, opened its petals; he more than a passer-by--that you came here on had put it into a glass, into which a statuette of purpose." blue faïence, representing an Egyptian goddess " You are right, I did come on purpose, my with a cat's face, plunged her imp nent nose boy,” answered Monsieur de Miraval. without bending into the water. Horace seemed “Then I have the honor of having an amby turns contemplating this very nose and also bassador to deal with ?” the flower which Madame Corneuil had gathered Yes, an ambassador, most strict in etiquette, for him less than an hour before; at times also, who insists upon being received with all the re
spect due to him, and according to the rules con- are less apt to be dreaded, for one knows beforecerning the rights of men in his position.” hand how they may all be answered. So he
Horace had recovered from his trouble ; he awaited the advance of the enemy with firm step, had recourse to philosophy, and put a good face and, as the enemy was drinking champagne and on a bad business. Offering a chair to the Mar- evidently in no hurry to commence hostilities, he quis, he said :
marched up to meet him. “Be seated, my lord ambassador, in the very First, dear uncle," said he to him, “ give me best of my easy-chairs. But, to begin with, let quickly whatever news you can of my mother.” us embrace one another, my dear uncle. If I “I wish I had something good to tell you am not mistaken, it is full two years since we about her," answered the Marquis. “But you have had the pleasure of seeing one another. know we are anxious about her health, and you What can I offer to entertain you? I think I must be aware that the letter which she received remember that champagne frappé used to be from you—" your favorite drink.
Do not think you are in a “ Did my letter trouble her?" barbarous country; one can find anything one "Could you doubt it?" wishes ; you shall be satisfied at once."
“I love my mother dearly," answered Horace At these words he pulled a bell-rope, and a quickly, “ but I have always considered her to domestic appeared. He gave him his orders, be a most reasonable woman. Evidently I did which were immediately carried out, although not go to work rightly ; I will write to her toslowly. Nevertheless, Monsieur de Miraval looked morrow and try to reconcile her to my happiat his nephew with a satisfaction mingled with ness.” secret vexation. It seemed to him that the hand- If you think as I do, you will not write some fellow had grown still handsomer. His again ; one evil never undoes another. Your short beard was beautifully black; his features, mother assuredly wishes you to be happy, but formerly rather weak, had gained strength, firm- the extravagant proposition which you confided ness, and emphasis; his grayish-blue eyes had to her-does the word 'extravagant ' hurt you ? grown larger, his complexion was sunburned and I withdraw it; I meant to say the somewhat sinbrowned to a tint which became him greatly; gular-well, I withdraw the word 'singular' also. his smile, 'full of sweetness and mystery, was But it is often used in that sense in the Chamber charming - it was like that undefinable smile of Deputies, and you must not hold yourself which the Egyptian sculptors, whose genius higher than a deputy. In short, this proposition, Greece could hardly surpass, carved upon the which is neither extravagant nor singular, disturbs lips of their statues. The sphinxes in the Louvre your mother greatly, and you will not be able to would have recognized Horace from his family overcome her objections to it." resemblance, and have claimed him as a relation. “Has she authorized you to make them known It is easy to get the complexion of the country to me?” where one is living, and a face grows often to “ Must I, then, present my credentials ? " resemble the thing one most loves.
“ This is all unnecessary, uncle. Say frankly "Fool of fools !" thought the Marquis angri- whatever you please-or rather, if you are fortily; “ you have the proudest bearing, the finest fied by good arguments, say nothing at all, for I head in the world, and you do not know how to warn you that you will spend all your eloquence put them to a better use. Ah ! if at your age I for naught, and I know you never care to waste had had such eyes and such a smile, what would your words.” I not have done with them! No woman could “But you may as well resign yourself to listen have resisted me; but you—what can you say to me, You can not suppose that I have come for yourself when Providence calls you to account a hundred leagues at full gallop for nothing. My for all the gifts he has bestowed upon you? You speech is ready, and you must submit to it." will have to say, 'I profited by them to marry “Till morning dawns, if needs be,” answered Madame Corneuil.' Ah ! you fool!' will be Horace ; “the night shall be devoted to you." the answer, ‘you foolishly ended where others Thanks. And now let us begin at the bebegan.'
ginning. That which has just taken place has Horace was miles away from guessing the not only grieved me much, but cruelly humiliated secret thoughts of Monsieur de Miraval. After me. I flattered myself that I understood human his disagreeable emotion of the first meeting was nature somewhat, and was quite proud of my over, his natural feeling returned, which was that knowledge. Now, I must confess, to my own of pleasure at again seeing his uncle, for he loved confusion, that I am entirely mistaken in you. him well. In truth, it was as an ambassador What, my son! can it be that you—whom I conthat he displeased him, but he resolved not to sidered the most sensible, serious, sober fellow in spare him, for, when the will is fixed, objections the world—can think of thus suddenly casting