, dusty and pale, rode into thecourtyard of Beaurepaire, and asked to see the baroness. She cameto him; he hung his head and held her out a letter.
It contained a few sad words from Monsieur de Laroche-jaquelin. Thebaron had just fallen in La Vendee, fighting for the Crown.
From that hour till her death the baroness wore black.
The mourner would have been arrested, and perhaps beheaded, but fora friend, the last in the world on whom the family reckoned for anysolid aid. Dr. Aubertin had lived in the chateau twenty years. Hewas a man of science, and did not care a button for money; so he hadretired from the practice of medicine, and pursued his researches atease under the baron's roof. They all loved him, and laughed at hisoccasional reveries, in the days of prosperity; and now, in onegreat crisis, the protege became the protector, to their astonishmentand his own. But it was an age of ups and downs. This amiabletheorist was one of the oldest verbal republicans in Europe. Andwhy not? In theory a republic is the perfect form of government:
it is merely in practice that it is impossible; it is only upongoing off paper into reality, and trying actually to self-governlimited nations, after heating them white hot with the fire ofpolitics and the bellows of bombast--that the thing resolvesitself into bloodshed silvered with moonshine.
Dr. Aubertin had for years talked and written speculativerepublicanism. So they applied to him whether the baroness sharedher husband's opinions, and he boldly assured them she did not; headded, "She is a pupil of mine." On this audacious statement theycontented themselves with laying a heavy fine on the lands ofBeaurepaire.
Assignats were abundant, but good mercantile paper, a notoriouscoward, had made itself wings and fled, and specie was creeping intostrong boxes like a startled rabbit into its hole. The fine waspaid; but Beaurepaire had to be heavily mortgaged, and the loan borea high rate of interest. This, with the baron's previous mortgages,swamped the estate.
The baroness sold her carriage and horses, and she and her daughtersprepared to deny themselves all but the bare necessaries of life,and pay off their debts if possible. On this their dependants fellaway from them; their fair-weather friends came no longer near them;and many a flush of indignation crossed their brows, and many anaching pang their hearts, as adversity revealed the baseness andinconstancy of common people high or low.
When the other servants had retired with their wages, one Jacintharemained behind, and begged permission to speak to the baroness.
"What would you with me, my child?" asked that lady, with an accentin which a shade of surprise mingled with great politeness.
"Forgive me, madame," began Jacintha, with a formal courtesy; "buthow can I leave you, and Mademoiselle Josephine, and MademoiselleRose? I was born at Beaurepaire; my mother died in the chateau: myfather died
寻找更多 "善意的谎言 White Lies"