She found her pale and agitated, and her first question was, "Whatis the matter? what have you been all doing over my head?"binance transfer bitcoin to ethereum"Darling mother," replied Rose, evasively, "something has happenedthat will rejoice your heart. Somebody has come home.""My son? eh, no! impossible! We cannot be so happy.""He will be with you directly."The old lady now trembled with joyful agitation.
"No.""Camille!""Why do you shun me as if I was a viper?""I do not shun you. I but avoid conferences that can lead to nogood; it ibitcoin kaufen bisons my duty.""You are very wise; cold-hearted people can be wise.""Am I cold-hearted, Camille?""As marble."She looked him in the face; the water came into her eyes; afterawhile she whispered, sorrowfully, "Well, Camille, I am.""But with all your wisdom and all your coldness," he went on to say,"you have made a mistake; you have driven me to madness anddespair.""Heaven forbid!" said she."Your prayer comes too late; you have done it.""Camille, let me go to the oratory, and pray for you. You terrifyme.""It is no use. Heaven has no mercy for me. Take my advice; staywhere you are; don't hurry; for what remains of your life you gaveto pass with me, do you understand that?""Ah!" And she turned pale.
"Can you read my riddle?"She looked him in the face. "I can read your eyes, and I know youlove me. I think you mean to kill me. I have heard men kill thething they love.""Of course they do; sooner than another should have it, they killit--they kill it.""God has not made them patient like us women. Poor Camille!""Patience dies when hope dies. Come, Madame Raynal, say a prayer,for you are going to die.""God bless you, Camille!" said the poor girl, putting her handstogether in her last prayer. At this sweet touch of affection,Camille hung his head, and sobbed. Then suddenly lashing himselfinto fury, he cried,--"You are my betrothed! you talk of duty; but you forget your duty tome. Are you not my betrothed this four years? Answer me that.""Yes, Camille, I was.""Did I not suffer death a hundred times for you, to keep faith withyou, you cold-blooded traitress with an angel's face?""Ah, Camille! can you speak so bitterly to me? Have I denied yourright to kill me? You shall never dishonor me, but you shall killme, if it is your pleasure. I do not resist. Why, then, speak tome like that; must the last words I hear from your mouth be words ofanger, cruel Camille?""I was wrong. But it is so hard to kill her I love in cold blood.I want anger as well as despair to keep me to it. Come, turn yourhead away from me, and all our troubles shall end.""No, Camille, let me look at you. Then you will be the last thing Ishall see on earth."At this he hesitated a moment; then, with a fierce stamp at what hethought was weakness, he levelled a pistol at her.She put up her hands with a piteous cry, "Oh! not my face, Camille!pray do not disfigure my face. Here--kill me here--in my bosom--myheart that loved you well, when it was no sin to love you.""I can't shoot you. I can't spill your blood. The river will endall, and not disfigure your beauty, that has driven me mad, and costyou, poor wretch, your life.""Thank you, dear Camille. The water does not frighten me as apistol does; it will not hurt me; it will only kill me.""No, it is but a plunge, and you will be at peace forever; and soshall I. Come, take my hand, Madame Raynal, Madame Raynal."She gave him her hand with a look of infinite love. She only said,"My poor mother!" That word did not fall to the ground. It flashedlike lightning at night across the demented lover, and lighted uphis egotism (suicide, like homicide, is generally a fit of maniacalegotism), even to his eyes blinded by fury."Wretch that I am," he shrieked. "Fly, Josephine, fly! escape thismoment, that my better angel whispers to me. Do you hear? begone,while it is time.""I will not leave you, Camille.""I say you shall. Go to your mother and Rose; go to those you love,and I can pity; go to the chapel and thank Heaven for your escape.""Yes, but not without you, Camille. I am afraid to leave you.""You have more to fear if you stay. Well, I can't wait any longer.
Stay, then, and live; and learn from me how to love Jean Raynal."He levelled the pistol at himself.Josephine threw herself on him with a cry, and seized his arm. Withthe strength excitement lent her she got the better, and all butoverpowered him. But, as usual, the man's strength lasted longer,and with a sustained effort he threw her off; then, pale andpanting, raised the pistol to take his life. This time she movedneither hand nor foot; but she palsied his rash hand with a word.He came in and sat down at the table, considerately appearing not to notice her until she had a chance to recover composure. She vigorously used the sleeve of both arms in drying her eyes, then stole in and found a seat in a dusky corner.
"Why don't you come to supper?" he asked quietly."Don't want any.""You had better take some up to your mother.""She oughtn't to have any."
"That doesn't make any difference. I want you to take up something to her, and then come down and eat your supper like a sensible girl.""I aint been sensible, nor mother nuther."
"Do as I say, Jane." The child obeyed, but she couldn't swallow anything but a little coffee.Holcroft was in a quandary. He had not the gift of speaking soothing yet meaningless words, and was too honest to raise false hopes. He was therefore almost as silent and embarrassed as Jane herself. To the girl's furtive scrutiny he did not seem hardened against her, and she at last ventured, "Say, I didn't touch them drawers after you told me not to do anything on the sly.""When were they opened? Tell me the truth, Jane.""Mother opened them the first day you left us alone. I told her you wouldn't like it, but she said she was housekeeper; she said how it was her duty to inspect everything. I wanted to inspect, too. We was jes' rummagin'--that's what it was. After the things were all pulled out, mother got the rocker and wouldn't do anything. It was gettin' late, and I was frightened and poked 'em back in a hurry. Mother wanted to rummage ag'in the other day and I wouldn't let her; then, she wouldn't let me have the keys so I could fix 'em up."
"But the keys were in my pocket, Jane.""Mother has a lot of keys. I've told you jes' how it all was.""Nothing was taken away?""No. Mother aint got sense, but she never takes things. I nuther 'cept when I'm hungry. Never took anything here. Say, are you goin' to send us away?'
"I fear I shall have to, Jane. I'm sorry for you, for I believe you would try to do the best you could if given a chance, and I can see you never had a chance.""No," said the child, blinking hard to keep the tears out of her eyes. "I aint had no teachin'. I've jes' kinder growed along with the farm hands and rough boys. Them that didn't hate me teased me. Say, couldn't I stay in your barn and sleep in the hay?"
Holcroft was sorely perplexed and pushed away his half-eaten supper. He knew himself what it was to be friendless and lonely, and his heart softened toward this worse than motherless child."Jane," he said kindly, "I'm just as sorry for you as I can be, but you don't know the difficulties in the way of what you wish, and I fear I can't make you understand them. Indeed, it would not be best to tell you all of them. If I could keep you at all, you should stay in the house, and I'd be kind to you, but it can't be. I may not stay here myself. My future course is very uncertain. There's no use of my trying to go on as I have. Perhaps some day I can do something for you, and if I can, I will. I will pay your mother her three months' wages in full in the morning, and then I want you both to get your things into your trunk, and I'll take you to your Cousin Lemuel's."
Driven almost to desperation, Jane suggested the only scheme she could think of. "If you stayed here and I run away and came back, wouldn't you keep me? I'd work all day and all night jes' for the sake of stayin'.""No, Jane," said Holcroft firmly, "you'd make me no end of trouble if you did that. If you'll be a good girl and learn how to do things, I'll try to find you a place among kind people some day when you're older and can act for yourself.""You're afraid 'fi's here mother'd come a-visitin," said the girl keenly."You're too young to understand half the trouble that might follow. My plans are too uncertain for me to tangle myself up. You and your mother must go away at once, so I can do what I must do before it's too late in the season. Here's a couple of dollars which you can keep for yourself," and he went up to his room, feeling that he could not witness the child's distress any longer.He fought hard against despondency and tried to face the actual condition of his affairs. "I might have known," he thought, "that things would have turned out somewhat as they have, with such women in the house, and I don't see much chance of getting better ones. I've been so bent on staying and going on as I used to that I've just shut my eyes to the facts." He got out an old account book and pored over it a long time. The entries therein were blind enough, but at last he concluded, "It's plain that I've lost money on the dairy ever since my wife died, and the prospects now are worse than ever. That Weeks tribe will set the whole town talking against me and it will be just about impossible to get a decent woman to come here. I might as well have an auction and sell all the cows but one at once. After that, if I find I can't make out living alone, I'll put the place in better order and sell or rent. I can get my own meals after a fashion, and old Jonathan Johnson's wife will do my washing and mending. It's time it was done better than it has been, for some of my clothes make me look like a scarecrow. I believe Jonathan will come with his cross dog and stay here too, when I must be away. Well, well, it's a hard lot for a man; but I'd be about as bad off, and a hundred-fold more lonely, if I went anywhere else."I can only feel my way along and live a day at a time. I'll learn what can be done and what can't be. One thing is clear: I can't go on with this Mrs. Mumpson in the house a day longer. She makes me creep and crawl all over, and the first thing I know I shall be swearing like a bloody pirate unless I get rid of her.
"If she wasn't such a hopeless idiot I'd let her stay for the sake of Jane, but I won't pay her good wages to make my life a burden a day longer," and with like self-communings he spent the evening until the habit of early drowsiness overcame him.The morning found Jane dispirited and a little sullen, as older and wiser people are apt to be when disappointed. She employed herself in getting breakfast carelessly and languidly, and the result was not satisfactory.
"Where's your mother?" Holcroft asked when he came in."She told me to tell you she was indisposed."
"Indisposed to go to Lemuel Weeks'?""I 'spect she means she's sick."
He frowned and looked suspiciously at the girl. Here was a new complication, and very possibly a trick."What's the matter with her?""Dunno.""Well, she had better get well enough to go by this afternoon," he remarked, controlling his irritation with difficulty, and nothing more was said.
Full of his new plans he spent a busy forenoon and then came to dinner. It was the same old story. He went up and knocked at Mrs. Mumpson's door, saying that he wished to speak with her."I'm too indisposed to transact business," she replied feebly.
"You must be ready tomorrow morning," he called. "I have business plans which can't be delayed," and he turned away muttering rather sulphurous words."He will relent; his hard heart will soften at last--" But we shall not weary the reader with the long soliloquies with which she beguiled her politic seclusion, as she regarded it. Poor, unsophisticated Jane made matters worse. The condition of life among her much-visited relatives now existed again. She was not wanted, and her old sly, sullen, and furtive manner reasserted itself. Much of Holcroft's sympathy was thus alienated, yet he partially understood and pitied her. It became, however, all the more clear that he must get rid of both mother and child, and that further relations with either of them could only lead to trouble.
The following morning only Jane appeared. "Is your mother really sick?" he asked."S'pose so," was the laconic reply.
"You haven't taken much pains with the breakfast, Jane.""'Taint no use."With knitted brows he thought deeply, and silently ate the wretched meal which had been prepared. Then, remarking that he might do some writing, he went up to a small attic room which had been used occasionally by a hired man. It contained a covered pipe-hole leading into the chimney flue. Removing the cover, he stopped up the flue with an old woolen coat. "I suppose I'll have to meet tricks with tricks," he muttered.Returning to his own apartment, he lighted a fire in the stove and laid upon the kindling blaze some dampened wood, then went out and quietly hitched his horses to the wagon.
The pungent odor of smoke soon filled the house. The cover over the pipe-hole in Mrs. Mumpson's room was not very secure, and thick volumes began to pour in upon the startled widow. "Jane!" she shrieked.If Jane was sullen toward Holcroft, she was furious at her mother, and paid no heed at first to her cry.
"Jane, Jane, the house is on fire!"Then the child did fly up the stairway. The smoke seemed to confirm the words of her mother, who was dressing in hot haste. "Run and tell Mr. Holcroft!" she cried.
"I won't," said the girl. "If he won't keep us in the house, I don't care if he don't have any house.""No, no, tell him!" screamed Mrs. Mumpson. "If we save his house he will relent. Gratitude will overwhelm him. So far from turning us away, he will sue, he will plead for forgiveness for his former harshness; his home saved will be our home won. Just put our things in the trunk first. Perhaps the house can't be saved, and you know we must save OUR things. Help me, quick! There, there; now, now"--both were sneezing and choking in a half-strangled manner. "Now let me lock it; my hand trembles so; take hold and draw it out; drag it downstairs; no matter how it scratches things!"