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Yet in testimony to the achievement of both these authors

2023-12-01 20:15:19 source:A Spring Dream Netauthor: thanks click:789Second-rate

"Have no fear," she said, in a careless tone. "If he tries my patience too much, I shall not have the slightest hesitation in planting this blade in his cheek. I am quite sure that a little blood-letting will cool his ardour."

Yet in testimony to the achievement of both these authors

Then they drew a few steps nearer.

Yet in testimony to the achievement of both these authors

"Listen to me, Edmee," said the abbe, stopping again. "We cannot discuss this matter with Patience. Let us come to some decision before we put it aside. Your relations with Bernard are now drawing to a crisis. It seems to me, my child, that you are not doing all you ought to ward off the evils that may strike us; for everything that is painful to you will be painful to all of us, and will touch us to the bottom of our hearts."

Yet in testimony to the achievement of both these authors

"I am all attention, excellent friend," answered Edmee; "scold me, advise me, as you will."

So saying she leant back against the tree at the foot of which I was lying among the brushwood and long grass. I fancy she might have seen me, for I could see her distinctly. However, she little thought that I was gazing on her divine face, over which the night breeze was throwing, now the shadows of the rustling leaves, and now the pale diamonds that the moon showers down through the trees of the forest.

"My opinion, Edmee," answered the abbe, crossing his arms on his breast and striking his brow at intervals, "is that you do not take the right view of your situation. At times it distresses you to such an extent that you lose all hope and long to die--yes, my dear child, to such an extent that your health plainly suffers. At other times, and I must speak candidly at the risk of offending you a little, you view your perils with a levity and cheerfulness that astound me."

"That last reproach is delicately put, dear friend," she replied; "but allow me to justify myself. Your astonishment arises from the fact that you do not know the Mauprat race. It is a tameless, incorrigible race, from which naught but Headbreakers and Hamstringers may issue. Even in those who have been most polished by education there remains many a stubborn knot--a sovereign pride, a will of iron, a profound contempt for life. Look at my father. In spite of his adorable goodness, you see that he is sometimes so quick-tempered that he will smash his snuff-box on the table, when you get the better of him in some political argument, or when you win a game of chess. For myself, I am conscious that my veins are as full-blooded as if I had been born in the noble ranks of the people; and I do not believe that any Mauprat has ever shone at court for the charm of his manners. Since I was born brave, how would you have me set much store by life? And yet there are weak moments in which I get discouraged more than enough, and bemoan my fate like the true woman that I am. But, let some one offend me, or threaten me, and the blood of the strong surges through me again; and then, as I cannot crush my enemy, I fold my arms and smile with compassion at the idea that he should ever have hoped to frighten me. And do not look upon this as mere bombast, abbe. To-morrow, this evening perhaps, my words may turn to deeds. This little pearl-handled knife does not look like deeds of blood; still, it will be able to do its work, and ever since Don Marcasse (who knows what he is about) sharpened it, I have had it by me night and day, and my mind is made up. I have not a very strong fist, but it will no doubt manage to give myself a good stab with this knife, even as it manages to give my horse a cut with the whip. Well, that being so, my honour is safe; it is only my life, which hangs by a thread, which is at the mercy of a glass of wine, more or less, that M. Bernard may happen to drink one of these evenings; of some change meeting, or some exchange of looks between De la Marche and myself that he may fancy he has detected; a breath of air perhaps! What is to be done? Were I to grieve, would my tears wash away the past? We cannot tear out a single page of our lives; but we can throw the book into the fire. Though I should weep from night till morn, would that prevent Destiny from having, in a fit of ill-humour, taken me out hunting, sent me astray in the woods, and made me stumble across a Mauprat, who led me to his den, where I escaped dishonour and perhaps death only by binding my life forever to that of a savage who had none of my principles, and who probably (and who undoubtedly, I should say) never will have them? All this is a misfortune. I was in the full sunlight of a happy destiny; I was the pride and joy of my old father; I was about to marry a man I esteem and like; no sorrows, no fears had come near my path; I knew neither days fraught with danger nor nights bereft of sleep. Well, God did not wish such a beautiful life to continue; His will be done. There are days when the ruin of all my hopes seems to me so inevitable that I look upon myself as dead and my /fiance/ as a widower. If it were not for my poor father, I should really laugh at it all; for I am so ill built for vexation and fears that during the short time I have known them they have already tired me of life."

"This courage is heroic, but it is also terrible," cried the abbe, in a broken voice. "It is almost a resolve to commit suicide, Edmee."

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