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cause he knew that Nathalie, who was amiable, and good, and though careless, would overwhelm him with little atten



Nathalie de Hauteville was twenty-two

M. d'Ablaincourt accompanied his niece years of age, and for three years had been into the world, because he still enjoyed it. a widow. Nathalie was one of the pretti. However, when they were invited to a est women in Parisma lively brunette, house where he thought he should not enwhose large black eyes had an indefinable joy himself, the old bachelor turned to his charm. Hers was one of those delicious niece and said, “ } fear you will not enjoy faces in which is found at the same time this soirée ; there will be no pretty dresses; the vivacity of an Italian, the burning soul they will do nothing but play. I am very of a Spaniard, and the grace of a French. ready to conduct you thither: you know I woman,--those delicate and intellectual do all you wish ; but still I fear you will features which please still more by their get weary there." And Nathalie, who bad expression than their regularity. Married every confidence in her uncle, and allowed at eighteen to a man nearly three times her herself to be persuaded, never failed to own age, Nathalie only thought of her reply, “ You are right, I think we shall de dresses, hier wedding presents, carrying better to stay at home." bouquets of orange flowers, and being It was thus in everything. M. d'Ablaincalled madame.

court was a gourmand, and without wishM. de Hauteville was rich, and loaded ing it to appear, had said to his niece, My his wife with gifts. One year slipped away dear friend, you know I am not a gourin the midst of balls and pleasure. Sud- mand; I do not care how the table is furdenly, after an illness of a few days, M. de nished, and am always satisfied with whas Hauteville' died, and left Nathalie a widow, is given me. But your cook puts too much who only wept for him as a friend and as salt in every thing; it is very unhealthy a protector. But at eighteen grief quickly for a young woman, and then she does not passes, the heart is still fresh for senti- serve her dishes with elegance or care, ments and illusions.

that annoys me on your account, as you Madame de Hauteville was sought after give many dinner parties. Latterly, when and invited everywhere; she was calcula- you had ten to dinner, the spinnage was ted, by her fortune, by her position in life, to badly dressed. What do you suppose will be the ornament of society. However Na. be said of your house when such neglithalie felt she was too young to live with gence is seen? They will say, Madame out a mentor, to go alone into those brilli- de Hauteville does not know how to manant reunions where she was so much ad age her servants. That will do you much mired. She intreated her uncle M. d'Ab. harm, and there are some persons who nolaincourt to come and live with her. tice everything."

M. d'Ablaincourt was an old bachelor; “That is very true, dear uncle; will you he had never in his life bad but one pas. then be good enough to find me a cook? sion, and the object was himself. He How happy am I to have you near me, to k ved himself above everything; and if by superintend the thousand little details chance he had ever loved another it was which escape me!". because in all probabilty this other had Keep yourself easy, I will attend to contributed to his own advantage. He was everything." a profound egotist, but a well-bred one, Nathalie embraced M. d'Ablaincourt, ever having the semblance of only accord, and the cook who did not dress the spin. ing with the wishes of others, and in ful nage well was dismissed, and one engaged filling his own desires seemed but to care who made dainty friandises, which the dear for others. He loved comfort, and all the uncle very much liked. little refinements which luxury knows how Another time some alteration was neces. to invest. Such was M. d'Ablaincourt, who sary in the garden; for example, cutting had consented to live with his niece, be the trees which were before the old bache.

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lor's window, because the thick shade, widow. M. d'Ablaincourt often sighed a made it damp, which might be dangerous long time for a partner at tric-trac. 10. Nathalie; or it was the elegant caleche To please her uncle Nathalie tried io to be replaced by a landas, which was learn. The young niece could not accommuch easier for a young woman. And plish it; she was too giddy, too careless to thus it was that M.d'Ablaincouri occupied give the necessary attention. The dear limself in seeking the comfort of his uncle scolded her. Nathalie threw it aside, niece.

exclaiming, “ Decidedly, my dear uncle, I, Nathalie was a coquerte; accustomed to

shall never understand that game!” captivate, to charm, to seduce; she smi

i So much the worse," replied M. d'Allingly listened to the numerous declara laincourt; "for it would have given you rions which were addressed to her, and much amusement, and I only wished to sent to her uncle all those who aspired to teach it you in order to add to your plea

sures." her hand, saying to them," Before giving you any hope, I must know if you please

Things were in this state when, at a M. d'Ablaincourt."

brilliant soirée where Nathalie won every Very likely Nathalie would have replied in a different strain, if heart by her grace, her attractions, and finshe had had any preference; but she liked ished toilette, they announced M. d'Agreto please and still retain her liberty.

mont, captain in the navy. Nathalie ex

pected to see a rough old sailor, very stern, On his side, the old bachelor, who was having at least one wooden leg, and one anaster in his niece's bouse, did not wish eye covered with a black baudage. To her to marry again. A nephew night be her great astonishment she saw a man less submissive, less careful for him than enter, at the furthest not rrore than thirty Nathalie. This was why M. d'Ablain- years of age, a good figure, whose height court never failed to discover some grave and martial appearance in no way depri: fault in all those who aspired to the hand ved him of elegance, and who had neither of the pretty widow. This one was of a lost a legjor an eye. character too grave, too serious for Na- Armand d'Agremont entered the service thalie; that one was addicted to play, and very early, and dearly loving a sailor's it was to be feared that this passion would life, he became, though very young, a cap. some day lead him to commit great folly; tain. Inheriting riches, he further aug. another bad had a series of gallant adven- mented his fortune. However, he was tures; indeed, each of the lovers was po- now thirty years of age ; for fifteen years litely conducted ont of the house by the he had traversed the sea, and he sometimes dear uncle, who, in :his as in other cases, felt a desire to lead a more tranquil life. only seemed to have the happiness of his He was advised to marry, but till now niece in view. Besides his egotism and Captain d'Agremont had only laughed at gourmandism, the dear uncle had had for love, which he regarded as a silly passion several years another passion, it was for unworthy a sailor. tric-trac. This game much amused him; The sight of Nathalie changed all the he preferred it to all others; to play at tric. sentiments of the captain; a sudden revo trac was the greatest pastime of M. d'Ablution was worked within him. He saw laincourt. Unfortunately it is not common; the young widow dancing, and could look ladies do not like it in the drawing-room, at nothing else. because it makes no small noise, and the

He followed all the movements of Mayoung men prefer bouillotte or écarte ; thus dame de Hauteville, whose light and grace. M. d'Ablaineourt rarely found an opportu. ful dancing eclipsed all others. At length nity to play his favourite game. When by M. d'Agremont said to some one near him, chance any of the people who visited his " Who, then, is that pretty woman dancing niece knew how to play at tric-trac, he with such grace ?" seized them for the evening, they had no

"It is Madame de Haụteville, a young chance of escape. But no one ever cared widow; you admire her, do you not, cap. to play at tric-trac while visiting the pretty tain ?"

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"Oh, yes! I think her enchanting !" be fear to see her pretty face assume an

"She has as much wit as beauty; invite expression of severity, her to dance, you can then talk to her, and Let no one be astonished at this change judge for yourself.”

in the captain ; love alters all characters, " I invite her to dance! I do not dance." and works miracles; have we not a thous“Ah! what a pity !!

and proofs from Samson, the destroyer of For the first time in his life Armand re- the Philistines, 10 M. Corydan, the tyrant gretted not knowing how to dance; he of the opera comique. stood near the pretty woman, and sought The niece's new conquest reached the à pretext to commence a conversation ; ears of her uncle. M. d'Ablaincourt the ugir but when he thonght he had found one, little of it, presuming it would be with this some young cavalier would take Nathalie supplicant as with others, and tħat it would by the hand and lead frer to a quadrille. be easy to barish him. M. d'Agremont bit his lips, and was

However, the reports became more fre: obliged to be content to admire the charm- quent, and when one day Nathalie told ing dancer.

her uncle the captain was coming to see Thus the evening passed. The captain her, the old bachelor was almost in a pas. dared not speak to Madame de Hauteville, sion, and said to his niece, -"You have but he did not lose sight of her for an in- not done well, Nathalie, you act too much

without my advice. They say Captain stant.

d'Agremont is rude, rough, quarrelsome. Nathalie perceived the captain's con. I never see bim but behind your chair, and duct. Women soon see the effect they he has not even asked after my health ; it produce, though they will not appear to do is not necessary for him to visit you. leis

In speaking oi M. d'Agremont some for your good I speak, my niece, you are one had said, “He pays little attention to

too giddy.'' women, and has never been heard to com

Nathalie, fearing she had acted inconpliment one;" and Nathalie said to herself

, siderajeły, was about to zell the captain • It would amuse me vastly to hear him her soirée 'would not take place, but her make love to me."

uncle did not require that, he merely wistD'Agremont, who, before seeing Natha- ed to prevent his coming too often. But lie, went very little into company, now what causes our resolutions--ah, the mos! never failed to go where he hoped to find important evenis in our life? Often some the pretty widow. He found means to trifle, wbich chance throws across our paih. speak to her, and made great efforts to Here it was the game of tric-trac which please. This change in the captain was caused the charming Nathalie to become remarked, and also his attentions to Na. Nadame d'Agremont. thalie. It was said to him, “ Take care,

The captain played well at tric-trac. do not fall in love with Mme. de Haute. Some words escaped him to this effect. · ville ; she is a coquette; she will amuse Immediately M. d'Ablaincourt proposed a herself with your passion, and laugh at game, wbich d'Agremont accepted, and it your sighs.” And afterwards to Nathalie, continued nearly all the evening, because The captain is quite an original-a bear, the sailor understood that he must be agreewith all the faults of a sailor; he is pas able to Nathalie's uncle. sionate, he smokes, he swears; you will When all had gone, the pretty widow never be able to make him amiable."

complained of the captain, whom she had Notwithstanding these charitable warn- not found gallant, and who was not at all ings, whieh were perhaps only caused by occupied with her.

“ You are right, my jealousy and envy, the coquette and the uncle,” said she, with regret, “the sailors sailor were very happ; to be together, and are not at all amiable, and I was wrong xo when d’Agremont let an expression escape invite M. d'Agremont here." him too sailor-like, Nathalie looked at him, “On the contrary, my niece," replied made a little movement with her eyebrows, the old bachelor, “ this said captain is very then the captain quickly stopped, stam- polite, very well bred. We judged him mered, and dared' not finish, so much did wrongly. I have engaged him to come

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very often to be my partner--that is to say, to the light; strength to sustain weakness; to make love to you. He is a man full of bursts of gaiety to dissipate melancholy; wit, and of perfect manners."

but if you place together the same temper: Nathalie saw that the captain had made and organizations, what result will you a conquest of her uncle, and she pardoned obtain ? him for not being more attentive to her. The first month of their marriage passed D'Agremont came again, thanks to tric. very quickly. However, I must tell it. In trac, he was.sought after by M. d'Ablain- the midst of all his pleasure, the happiness eourt.

with Nathalie, brilliant with youth and At length with his love and his submis. beauty, sometimes Armand became thoughtsion he captivated the heart of the young ful; his face grew dark; a certain uneasiwidow; and one morning she came blush ness was read in his eyes; but it did no! ingly to tell her uncle, " The captain wiskt- last, it was a passing cloud, and left no es to marry me. What do you advise ?".

The young wife did not even perThe old bachelor reflected a few mo-ceive it. However, at the end of some ments, and said to himself, “ If she refuses, time these moments of sadness became d'Agremont will cease to visit her. No more frequent, and Nathalie remarked more tric-trac. If she accepts him, he will them. be in the house, I shall always have him "What is the matter, my dear ?" said under my hand for tric-trac. So the answer she to her husband, one day when she saw was, “ You will do well to marry the cap-him striking his foot with impatience. tain."

“ What causes this display of temper?" Nathalie did not require more, for she “ Nothing, I assure you," replied the loved Armand; however, a woman ought captain, as if ashamed of not having masnot to yield too quickly. This one came tered himself. “I have no ennui, no temto the captain and dictated her conditions. per. Against whom do you think I should "If it is true you love me

exkibit my temper ?" “Ah! madame. I swear by all that~'

Ah! my dearest, I do not know;

but “Let me speak, if you please if it is several times I have remarked something. true that you

I must have proofs.” If I have angered you without a cause tell " All that you exact I-"


that it may not happen again.” But, sir, do not interrupt me continu.

The captain tenderly embraced kis wife, ally. You must no longer swear, as you assuring her she was deceived; and for sometimes do now—it is very shocking several days no sighs escaped him which before a woman; and, above everything,

could cause Nathalie any uneasiness; bus you must not smoke, for I detest the smell

afterwards they returned, Armand again of a pipe of tobacco. Indeed, I will not have a husband who smnkes."

forgot himself, and his wife perplexed herArmand slightly sighed. “I will sub- self in vain to guess the cause of his sad

Nathalie remarked it to her uncle. mit to everything,” he replied "to please you. I will no longer smoke.”

The old bachelor replied, "It is true, Here, then, is my hand.”

believe something is the matter with d’AgThe marriage was soon celebrated.

Several times while playing at D'Agremont was at the height of his hap-tric-trac, I have noticed his looking around piness, and Nathalie partook of the love of uneasily, then passing bis hand across his her husband. When he world saw them forehead he is sure to play wrong.' married, it was said, “How! that coquette

“Oh, dear uncle, what is this mystery! marry a sailor ?" " That brave captain My husband has some secret which opallowed himself to be captured by the flir. presses him-grieves him. I am certain tations of the pretty widow! They are a of it, and he will not trust it to me." badly assorted couple.”

“Very likely; there are many things a Poor judges of human hearts are those wife must not know.” who think that characters must resemble "A wife must not know ! but I cannot to produce love. It is contrasts which pro- understand that. I wish my husband to duce the Best effects. We must have shade tell me everything-he should have nothing

love me,

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hidden from me, for I have no secrets from had not started I would have asked if you įsim. I cannot be happy if he to whom I were keeping sheep there." have given my heart hides anything from “My husband disguised as a peasant !" me."

said Nathalie, fixing on the captain looks M. d'Ablaincourt promised to try every full of surprise. means to learn the subject of his nephew's “ Edward is deceived," the captain jepreoccupations, and he began by trying to plied, seeking to hide bis visible embar. make him play oftener at tric-trac, which rassment; "he did not see me there." he thought an excellent way to restore “Oh! was it not you ?" said the young good temper.

man, vexed with the impression his words It was now vear the summer, and they had produced on Nathalie, and perceiving quitted Paris to visit a pretty estate the he had been indiscreet; “ I was very likecaptain possessed near deceived." D'Agremont seemed to love his wife, and “How was the man dressed ?" demandstill sought to please her and anticipate her ed Nathalie ; " where is the hut?" wishes. However, as Nathalie preferred “ Ali, madame, it would not be easy for repose to walking, her husband announced me to find it again, for I do not know the his intention to make excursions to see the country. As to the man, he had on a blue country each day after dinner; and as this blouse, a kind of frock. Al! how could I demand was too natural to excite suspi- suppose it was the eaptain, since it is nos cion, every day after dinner, evea if they carnival time!": had company, Armand disappeared to Madaine d'Agremont said no more, but take his walk, and returned in a charming she was convinced it was her husband humour; his moments of sadness, his im- who had been seen; and as he was obliged patience and ennui had entirely disappear to disguise himself it must be some impor ed. Notwithstanding, Nathalie was not tant intrigue; and the young wife shed satisfied ; her suspicions were again exci. bitter tears, and thought hierself very unted, and she thought,.“ My husband is no "happy in having married a man who had longer sad and pensive as at Paris, bat it such mysterious secrets. Jealousy did noi js since his evening walks. He is some- fail to be excited, for from the moment we times two hours absent. Where does he have secrets from them, ladies are persuago? He prefers to go alone. There is ded they relate to infidelities.' Is it besome mystery in his conduct; I shall not cause their own secrets may be of this be happy till I have discovered it."

narure ? Sometimes Nathalie thought to follow

Madame d'Agremont wislied to return her husband, but she experienced great to town. Always yielding to the least repugnance to this action; to be a spy on wishes of his wife, the captain hastened the steps of a man, who only seemed oc- to take her back, and there for some time cupied in pleasing her, would be very the movements of impatience and ennui wrong. The young wife felt it, and aban- reappeared in the conduct of Armand, til! doned the thought. It was only to her one day he said to his wife, “ My dear soul, uncle that she dared to relate her cares, the afternoon walk does me a great deal and he contented himself with replying, of good; I was in perfect health during * Your husband plays less at tric-trac with our stay in the country, and being a sailor, me, it is true, but still he does play. I you may imagine I want to take some cannot try to follow him, for he is a good exercise, and that I cannot remain shut up walker and I am not. I should fatigue in the drawing-room or visit the theatre myself to no purpose."

directly after dinner." One day they had company to dinner. ; 'Yes, sir, I can understand that very A young man laughingly said to the mas- well," said Nathalie, biting her lips with ter of the house, “What were you doing vexation; "take your walk if you derive yesterday, my dear Armanu, disguised as any good from it.” a peasant at the window of a little hut a " However, my dear Nithalie, I fear you quarter of a league distant? If my horse are displeased.”

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