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ADRIENNE; OB, THE SHADOW OF THE PAST. [ALL BIGHTS BESEBTHD.J CHAPTER XXVII. M, MENDON impatiently awaited the re-appearance of bis host, and when Dr. Brunei again came in, he immediately said— May I enquire if Mademoiselle Durand hae been brought hither, and is now under your protec- tion p" She is, and I am authorised by her mother to reveal to you the facts of her most singular and melancholy history." As it is unnecessary to repeat that portion of her sad story with which the reader is already acquainted, we give but the conclusion of it, as being necessary to explain some of the mysteries previously related. from the ill-omened marriage of Louise With M.Lecour found her with Shattered health and a mind vibrating on the verse of i„„„ ou the .? He was a sun-burned ™ Stranger- marks of his harri way-w°m man, bearing many had WhiterP i L .?ontest with the world; his hair Slants T ? SI'ver before middle age; but at a liu«ihiTi/i °u'S,a new tllat the lover of her youth, the in» h <■ 8 believed dead long since, was etand- •og before her. Before this time, she had learned the cruel deception r 'athpr had practised upon her, and she knew that e ceremony which had united her with Henri ^rand had been legal in all ;fcs forms; but she had believed him dead when she ge-ve her hand to M. Lecour. Louise attempted to rise, but fell fainting at his feet. Durand litted her in his arms, chafed her cold hands in his, and poured forth such a passionate tide of love and sorrow as brought back receding conscious- ness. She started from his encircling arms, and with Accents of horror exclaimed— Touch me not. I am unworthy to be claimed as yours, for I have weakly severed myself from you for ever." What can you mean, Louise í" he apprehensively 6sked, as he beheld her wild expression and terrified banner. I know the deception under which you ^cted when you married Mendon, and on my release from prison i left you to the enjoyment of such happiness as you m;Qht find with him but now lie is dead, and I have crossed half the world to find and you." She despairingly said— Will^n^ have given myself to another, who "Defend his rights even to the death," was furi- 11 ously added bv M. Lecour, as he rushed into the room j*ud confrouted the two. Who are you that dares, eyes>to holcl wife clasPed within your of th &m ^er lawful husband," was the firm response firml 8tra"Ser, as he drew the trembling Louise more -you s^e> am Henri Durand, and when ladv°ame ilitlier to P*ay your base part toward this y°u knew tiiat I was still living. You were iBf^re 0f.my release from prison, and it was through Lat^^on derived from your half-brother, Dr. Eafit-JUr' was my pretended friend while in tho inv •'that you have been able to deceive my wife, and eigle ber into a union with yourself which you to be illegal," g Can soon render it legal enough for my purpose," eered M. Lecour, and he sprang at once upon his ^ersary, and plunged his dagger to his heart. c by the half-senseless Louise, Durand d make no defence, and he fell dead at her feet. With awo^e to consciousness to find herself coverrd lh the blood of her slain husband, and, regardless of 6 attempts to detain her made by poor horror- ■srt C^6n Eady. 'who had reached the door in time to J^tness the last act in the fatal tragedy, Louise lied the house. Twilight was falling, and the fugitive eluded those Who attempted to pursue her. She passed with fleet over \11" road that lay between Bellair and the river, and with frantic haste plunged into the stream. I dowV^ rn(?aient Dr. Brunei happened to be riding white ?eroa^ toward h's 0WQ home. He eaw tlte instant ^Ure across his path, and tho next, 0 r^ the splash of her fall into the water. in in f S a strorS swimmer, and he did not hesitate nstam, to throw himself from his horse, and rush rescue. The clothes of the intended suicide jl&d become entangled in a pile of driftwood carried by an eddy into the edge of the bank, and Dr. Brunei Soon succeeded in drawing her from the water in a state of insensibility. Great was his dismay and amazement to recognise Z the fading light the features of the daughter of hi3 Bell • n^' once brilliant and beautiful mistress of p air- His own house was fortunately near, and he b°Ie<^ *ie? thither without delay. She was placed Dr an<3 everything done for her restoration that Loui runel's skill cou d suggest; but the unhappy 8P&su? °n'7 recov'"red to fall into violent hysterical faithf,Si through many hours of that night th-3 mUst J. *"en(i who watched beside her thought she The A ,e^ore the dawn of another day. his old f' Per^ortrl°d his duty to the daughter of SVentg fin(^ Louise survived the wretched b*ain fr.» Jatl evening, but with a cord in her She w ever 8,lattered. £ °rm 0f as n°t insane, but her eccentricity took the ^etertninr.^0ted a^orrence toward M. Lecour and the •ay in he_ 10n t° make his life as miserable as far as sho^?: she frantically insisted that Dr. Perished 'ead him to believe that she had could never plunge in the Mississippi. She With him aaC°nSent to ^ive beneath same roof demand th ^Un' an(^ neither would she listen to tha She a s^19 should denounce him as a murderer, the pubjj not: have her sad history thus dragged before hers, untM+u^t him retain tho wealth which was her dauoh Proper time for the acknowledgment of that M f r arrived. She had already BO arranged it Ur believed Adrienne to be the child of ^ecesc' anc^83 such he had for years paid the annuity t Sary for her maintenance and education. jOinOUise declared that she would go to New Orleans, listers of Charity, and by a life of penitence orw Usefu!ness atone for the involuntary sin she had fitted. y some means M.Lecour learned that his wife had rescued from drowning by Dr. Brunei, and lie Lo/OUsIy demanded her restoration at his hands. asgi'?6, ^vehemently insisted that her old friend should that-J^er t° feign death, and she solemnly asserted tyr^ she were either compelled to return to her she or t° divulge all that had marred her existence, ti0n ,ou^ not live through the misery and degrada- tnat must become her portion, at F" 'itUnel was finally moved by her passiona e ..Ppeals, and a preparation was given her which pro- ved a state of immobility strongly resembling death. j*1* Lecour was admitted to her apartment to behold ahroudel for burial, and placed within her coffin; .e Btood beside her, ar.d looked upon her colourless ace in the full conviction that the spirit which once ftQlnriated that beautiful form had fina'ly departed tj^the world he had rendered miserable to her. On the 0°jawing day the family vault was opened, and lesaL suPP°sed to contain the body of the hap- herbe^'86 ^as P!af,e^ within it, while she lay upon never 8'rcoarning as tbat could u^K, oe comforted over the tragic sequel to her most Oh? ltlarr'a8p- 0D u i-ady }>ad become deeply attached to her :pressed mistress, and Louise felt assured in her own !I. that she could trust to her fidelity. With her -sistance, she could carry out the strange fantasy uat filled her mind, and which no arguments or Qtreat ies cou id induce her to lay aside. Her fixed determination was to become a terror to the wretched than who had inll-cted such misery upon herself. She Was aware that remorse for the part he had played in the bloody days of terror preyed as an incubus upon to allay its pangs he used a drug which only added intensity to the imaginary horrors that at certain epochs assailed him. One of these was the juiniversary of the execution of Louis XVI., and she had remarked that Lecour's terrible night orgies always became more frantic toward that time. Louise conceived the idea of adding to his fears, by coming to him at that season as a shadow from the grave in Which he believed her to be lying. With the assistance of Eady, Louise could always gain admittance into M. Lecour's apartment, and escape again without detection, as she could safely trust to the misty state of intelligence to which he would be reduced by the witching time of night, when phantoms are supposed to walk the earth. When Dr. Brunei found how firmly this monomania had taken possession of her mind, he ceased to oppose her; in fact, since justice could not be dealt out to the old reprobate who tyrannised at Bellair, he was rather pleased than otherwise that some punishment should be meted out to him. even in this unusual manner. He made such arrangements as secured tho perfect incognita of Louise, and went with her himself to New Orleans when she assumed the office of Sister of Charity, and saw that she was as comfortably situated as circumstances permitted. She returned punctually to the neighbourhood of Bellair every January, that she might play the part of the White Terror to its master and as Eady always stoutly denied seeing her at all, M. Lecour gradually learned to believe that the phantom shape came only to haunt and render him miserable. An apartment on the side of the corridor next to Eady's cabin was annually prepared for her use, for the reason that it communicated with the garden by a small portico now almost in ruins. To this room was attached the laboratory into which du Vernay had penetrated. It had originally been used as a dressing- room, but Eugene Mendon had a fondness for chemical experiments, and he had caused it to be fitted up with apparatus brought from France. The key to this outer door was always m t e possession of Louise, and by a the woodland she could soon reach her-oldIhome. On the niffht nrevious to Adrienne s arrival, sh toselS wfthout th. fcowMg gathering twilight placed herself upon the of°visi^n^fr^C^thin!r,but)^i such a position that tho T; On this evening, for the first time, P.erre obtamed a glimpse of her as she retreated, for it had teen easv enough to prevent the dull old man, with his propensity for liquor, from fathoming her secret. Since she had shown herself to him on that evening, Eady concluded that she would not make a second ap- pearance, as such had not been her custom; but her mania had now assumed a new form. She would ap- pear to him in her bridal dress; 6he possess d duplicate keys of the cabinet containing her jewe s, and ignorant that a new inmate had been received H t Bellair, she came up through the private staircase, r.ud entered the room she had once occupied herself. She then clothed herself in her bridal garments, and. i n- locking the door, passed into the opposite apartment. Occupied with the part she herself WaS playillg, the half-sleeping form that glided after her was un- noticed by her; and when she cama back to the tower, it suddenly struck her balf-demented mind that it was singular she should have found a fire burning upon the hearth. She approached the bed, and looked down upon its tenant, and was nearly fiB much alarmed as Adrienne herself had been at the wild face of the supposed apparition. This young stranger was probably too clear-headed to be imposed on, and in great alarm lest her well- preserved secret should at last be betrayed, Louise con- sulted with Eady as to the course she had best pursue to impress this new and dangerous interloper with the reality of the supernatural vision that bad appeared in her room. Louise refused to believe that the young stranger was other than an interested adventurer, who had imposed herself upon M. Lecour as the veritable Adrienne Durand. She believed her daughter to be too well guarded in her convent home to be permitted to make her escape and she and her ally concluded that a second appearance would be necessary to sus- tain the impression produced by the night scene. This was accordingly arranged, and the time of its execution determined on. The apartment of Louis had a dormer window opening upon a narrow parapet, which extended to a similar window in an adjoining room. It was a dangerous attempt to pass from one window to the other, for the narrow ledge was only protected by the heavy cornice of the roof, and if she became dizzy she might fall over but Louise decided to take the risk in preference to the chance of betrayal to M. Lecour. After displaying herself an instant to Adrienne, she passed through the window, fastened it on the out- side, and by the time the frightened girl reached the recess, she was safe in the next room. But she carried with her a new cause for anxiety and dread. The momentary glimpse of Adrienne in one of her own dresses, had shown her that the pretentions of the young stranger were not false, and her daughter had ventured into the tiger's den, from which she must now use all her ingenuity to extricate her. But how was she to do so without suffering the secret of her supposed death to become known ? She knew that Victor du Vernay had already reached New Orleans, and received such instructions from a fast friend of hers there, as would bring him very soon to Bellair; and until he came she would content herself with watching over the safety of her child, and preventing the execution of any evil that M. Lecour might devise against her. She had written to the elder Du Vernay, informing him of the true parentage of Adrienne, and offering to Victor a large sum if he would come to Louisiana and claim the estate of her grandfather for her, under a deed of suc- cession made by M. Montrueil just before his death, as a late atonement for the previous wrong he had inflicted upon her. By a singular coincidence, those two young people had already met and loved each other; Louise con- cluded that it would be best to await the arrival of M. Du Vernay before attempting anything herself, as she was nervously anxious that her secret should be kept profoundly secret from M. Lecour. As his sup- posed granddaughter, Adrienne for a season would probably be safe under the same roof with him, but she did not relax the vigilance of her watch upon him for a single hour. On the morning Eady placed the ring upon the collar of the slaughtered bloodhound, she removed it stealthily, and afte-rwaras, finding that M. Lecour had forgotten the keys of his treasure closet during the dinner-hour of the prince, she placed within it the sketch of herself, and the warnings which had rendered him so furious. She had no paper of her own, and she imprudently used a leaf from the portfolio of Adrienne; and at the same time wrote the hurried lines which her daughter afterwards found within it. She had learned to draw in youth, and the accidental discovery in the laboratory of a bottle half-filled with phosphorous, suggested the idea of the sketch she had made of herself. Some premonition had told Louise that she would at some day need free ingress into the private room of her unscrupulous tyrant, and when a skilful work- man from New Orleans was brought to Bellair to con- struct the iron safe in the wall for the concealment of his hoarded treasures, a large bribe from her induced him to fit the secret entrance behind the portrait of Egalite, and arrange it to open in the same way as that which concealed the door of the iron safe. Through this 'entrance she often passed into the picture-room, and took food to the hound kept con- stantly chained there. Gradually he became so habituated to her presence that she ceased to fear him, and it was doubtless the resemblance Adrienne bore to her mother which caused him to crouch at her feet, and whine when she came into such dangerous proximity to him. On the night of Louis's removal, she remained on the watch in a most painful state of indecision as to the course she had best pursue; and when the fury of M. Lecour was about to wreak itself fatally upon the innocent girl, she again played upon his superstitious fears with success. When Adrienne was the second time so ruthlessly lured into the picture-room, Louise had seen M. Lecour descend, and visit the cabin of Eady; and when she saw the use made of the purloined key, she divined his terrible intention, and she cast about in her own mind how to defeat this last crowning treachery. The new bloodhound was not yet her friend, and she felt the necessity of destroying him without a moment's delay. She went into the laboratory to seek the means of so doing, for she knew that many deadly acids were still there. The search occupied some time, and was at last rewarded by the discovery of a vial nearly filled with a liquid labelled prussic acid. She unclosed the panel, and sprung back the picture, ready to risk everything herself to save her child from the fearful fate that she knew menaced her. She was barely in time, for the dog sprang upon the defenceless girl just as the fatal fluid was hurled upon him. He clutched her robe in his fangs, but fell in the agonies of death upon the floor. With superhuman strength, Louise grasped the sinking form of Adrienne with one hand, and with the other overturned the table upon the struggling dog. She bore her daughter into the room occupied by herself, and endeavoured to quiet the violent agitation which seized upon her on being thus sud- denly aroused from her strange sleep. The poor girl was also evidently terrified at her appearance, for she re- cognieed the face of the phantom, and in her fright and bewilderment she had not judgment to compre- hend the truth. She fell from one fainting fit into another, until the poor mother was fairly at her wits' end to know what to do for her. She fenced to summon Eady to her assistance, lest in so doing she should arouse Pierre, and the thought also came to her that Eady's knowledge of what had become of Adrienne might seriously compromise her with her master. It sometimes happened that Dr. Brunei came in his light wagon to the edge of the woodland to convey her to his house, and on this night, as he was returning from a visit to a patient. he thought he would stop and see if he could induce her to return with him to La Sante. Why she had remained so much longer than usual at Eellair he did not know, and he was be- coming uneasy. He made the usual signal by a rap upon the floor of the ruined portico, and she opened the door to him as one Heaven-directed to brinff her the assistance she so sorely needed. Louise rapidly explained who Adrienne was, and what had thrown her into the condition in which she then was, and tbe horrified physician hastened to give the assistance to the suffering girl of which she stood so greatly in need. lie fortunately had his wallet of medicines in his pocket, and a sedative was im. mediately administered. • So soon as it began to pro- duce the desired effect of throwing her into a quiescent state, he removed her in his strong arms to the shelter of his wagon, and drove rapidly towardi his own house. Louise held the head of her daughter upon her breast until they reached La Sante, where Adrienne was placed in bed, and such arrangements made as in- sured perfect quiet around her. She now lay in a sleep so deep that it seemed im- possible to arouse her, and Dr. Brunei considered her situation a very critical one in spite of his words of I reassurance to her mother. Everything depended on her awaking in a calm state of mind, for he could not conceal from himself that the shock of being aroused from her trance-like sleep to find herself in the very fangs of the fearful bloodhound, had endangered reason, if not life. He kept a most solicitous watch over her, and he looked for the arrival of Victor du Vernay with in- tense eagerness, in the hope that his presence at the moment of returning consciousness might produce a favourable reaction, and prevent her memory from immediately recurring to the frightful incidents of the past night. When this explanation had been given to M. Mendon he returned to Bellair and found M. Lecour still suf- fering at intervals, as in the early part of the day. The priest sat beside him absorbed in prayer, trying thus to keep down the surging spirit of vengeance that, at moments would arise in his soul. When he heard the sounj of M. Mendon's returning footsteps, he left the side of the sick man's couch, and went to meet him on the gallery. He eagerly asked- Have you gained a clue to Adrienne? Since you left I have examined the men I left on the watch last night, but they were so busy looking after two prisoners they made, that they were oblivious of all that took place within the house." I have found her, and what is more, I have had an ter view with her mother," he significantly replied. it was she who laved her last night." The oc^ntenance of Father Eustace scarcely changed at this announcement. With perfect coolness he said- Ah—b, then yoaknow that my assumed paternity was only an allowable ruse in the game we were play- ing. I have been aware all the time that Louise is yet living, but tell me how she happened to be on the spot when her daughter most needed her ?" M. Mendon concisely related the circumstances of Adrienne's escape, and at th3 conclusion of the narrative the priest nervously asked: Did not Dr. Brunei betray to you the cause of the seclusion of Louise? Was not the life of one she loved sacrificed, before she attempted to commit suicide p" I will tell you if you will promise to leave vengeance to a higher power." Father Eustace became terribly pale, and after a struggle, he said- I have given him over to the visible power of Gcd, who has wrought out his own retribution." I know now that your brother fell by his hand." Where ? In this house P" 1 In the room below; and the stain of his blood is yet upon the floor." The strong man shook as if a blow had been dealt him. He turned abruptly away, strode without pausing to the lower room, and looked around it. His eyes fall upon the traces of that twin brother's blood who had once been as a second self to him, and ho dropped upon his knees besides it, uttering in agony of spirit— Give me strength to pardon him, oh, Saviour of tho world enable mo to put far from my soul the thought of vengeance against the father of my sainted Estelle." Long did he wrestle in prayer before he could again enter the room of the dying sinner, whose register of crime was full. I could fill pages with the record of that terrible death-bed; could tell how he who thrust, so many out of life, clung at the last to the miserable remnant left to himself but the picture would be too awful. M. Lecour died with all the forms of the church to which he nominally belonged, carefully administered to him by the man he had so scorned and abused.



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