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MADAME DE MARCEL was about forty years of age, rich, and lived at Paris in a handsome style. She was accustomed, the greater part of the year, to have at her house a select society of men of letters, and of women, who were interested in the success of all new publications, particularly such as regarded the theatres. She was, however, obliged, by the will of an uncle, to pass six weeks or two months every autumn at a country seat in Poitiers; but to console herself for the ennui of a country life, and of country company, which she could not avoid seeing, she had taken care to have her chateau well filled with a set of acquaintances sufficient for her amusement while thus banished.

The company consisted, independent of her husband, the president (who found enough of occupation in the management of his land, in settling with his tenants, and in the embellishment of his place), of Madame d'Aigremont, nearly of her own age, and whose taste, as to literature, was perfectly conformable to her own. This lady was accompanied by her daughter, an exceedingly handsome girl, sixteen or seventeen years old, who had already made herself mistress of every agreeable talent, and gone through a proper course of reading to form the heart, taste, and mind of a young per


The president's brother, called the Chevalier de St Marcel, had been in the army many years, and had been thought amiable in all the towns where his regiment had been garrisoned. He was indeed thought so in many parts of Paris, but, to be sure, they were not the most fashionable. He frequently attended the theatres from want of something to do-read all new pamphlets and journals for the same reason and saw and heard the discussions of the learned at his sisterin-law's. An abbé, the complaisant of Madame de Marcel, known as the author of some works of science, but who, to extend the atmosphere of his reputation, had condescended to discuss works of lighter importance, had agreed to pass the autumn with the persons before named, and so much the more willingly, as the house was handsome and convenient, and the taVOL. V.

ble excellent. He had brought with him his nephew, a young man really amiable, whom the abbé was introducing into life, and who joined to a fair outside a brilliant and well cultivated mind. If he had an earnest desire to please (and the presence of the young lady seemed to animate his exertions), it was without any fixed plan; but it is always right to endeavour to be amiable, for that leads to every thing.

The first week after their arrival was taken up by receiving formal company, and cards were of course introduced, which tired our Parisians exceedingly; scarcely could the president and abbé find time for a game of chess after dinner, or Madame de Marcel in the evenings for a game of tric-trac with her brother-in-law the chevalier.

After some time the influence of company diminished, and they were left to amuse themselves, or rather to their own tranquillity. Madame de Marcel lost no time in proposing an amusement that would occupy the mind and employ the memory-a plan she had formed the preceding winter, and it was instantly put into execution. At first, when it commenced after supper, it consisted of innocent games, in which forfeits are paid, and punishments ordered to redeem the forfeits. These punishments were always to relate some story, to recite verses, or to sing; and the company were delighted whenever the nephew of the abbé incurred a penalty, for he never failed to produce something agreeable, inspired, no doubt, by his wish to please, and to display his talents before the object who seemed to notice him.

Madame de Marcel and her friend had very cultivated minds, and if they did not trouble or fatigue their imagi nations, showed off at least their memories. The abbé was not behind hand; but he was diffuse, often obscure, and always in prose. The che valier related feats of war, and modestly owned they were not his own. But the two persons who were the most embarrassed, and whom they were very soon forced to excuse from paying their forfeits, were the president and the young lady. The first excused himself by saying, that no


thing was so difficult to him as the making a tale off hand-that he would a thousand times rather sum up the evidence in the longest trial that ever came into court. But he soon got rid of it, by falling asleep immediately after supper, which prevented his taking any part in the


The young lady did not want either understanding or talents, but it was thought unbecoming her age or situation to appear too well informed. The nephew therefore willingly undertook the payment of her debts; and his security being accepted, the game continued for several nights.

At length, Madame de Marcel wishing to refine upon this kind of amusement, said to M. de Verbois, "Sir, you seem to have so much wit and talent, that I should think you capable of succeeding at a trifling game, which I have heard was formerly played at the Hôtel de Rambouillet, when the Dutchess of Montausier was known under the name of the fair Julia d'Angennes. It is said that she, and each of the ladies and men of letters who were used to assemble there, began a story, and continued it until the history became exceedingly complicated, and the hero placed in the most embarrassing situation,-and that then one of the company undertook to dispel all the chaos, and clear up the embarrassments that had enveloped the different personages. I have heard that the famous bishop of Avranches had a particular talent in the unravelling these histories, however difficult. You know that this prelate, when young, was a frequent visitor at the Hôtel de Rambouillet, and as he was very short, he was called the Julia's dwarf. Now, M. de Verbois," continued she,“ do you think yourself capable of acting the part of M. Huet ?”


Assuredly, madam," replied the young man, "I am neither so short nor so learned as the bishop of Avranches; but what that prelate did in his youth for his divine Julia, I think myself capable of undertaking, in the honour of paying my court to you, and to those ladies."

"That being the case," answered Madame de Marcel, "I will begin a history-you shall continue it, my dear, looking at Madame d'Aigremont; we will dispense with your daughter from interfering, for, as it

will be a romance, she cannot as yet be supposed capable of forming one. The president shall sleep, because he makes up, after supper here, for the little naps he used to take in the mornings when on the bench. The abbé shall employ his genius to increase the intrigues of our history, in such wise that the winding up shall become very difficult; it shall be for him to form the veritable Gordian knot. My brotherin-law must be careful to avoid cutting it; on the contrary, he must multiply events as much as he can. M. de Verbois will then have to unravel the whole; and I am persuaded, that whatever pains we may take to embarrass him, he will produce a denouement at once simple, rational, and fortunate."

"You expect a great deal from me," said M. de Verbois, " and will make me modest as to any talent I may have for the unravelling such histories; but I do not despair to succeed to your satisfaction in this point, either by the stroke of a wand, by a little fairy assistance, or by magic; besides, I know full well, that in a romance, when any personage becomes too embarrassing, how easily he may be got rid of by poison or by the sword." "Oh! that is not the case here, if you please, sir," exclaimed Madame de Marcel;" it is not so that we understand you are to perform your task. Not one person that may be introduced in our history shall disappear, and they must all be forthcoming at the end, and all happy. The aid of magic and of fairies is forbidden: neither the president nor myself believe in sorcerers—all the events, if not exactly true, must be probable, and the conclusion simple and natural.""These laws are somewhat severe," said the abbé, "but I dare say that my nephew will glory in submitting to and observing them." The nephew confirmed his uncle's assertion by a bow, and Madame de Marcel thus began her history.

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The town of Quimper-Corentin if renowned throughout all lower Brittany, for the beauty of the women, the refinement of the men, and the singularity of the adventures which happen there. I shall begin by making a slight sketch of some of them; but what I shall say will be trifling in comparison of those singular and in

teresting adventures that will be told; they will astonish, affect, and confound you, and prepare you for the most unexpected and happy conclusion. If ever it may be said that the end crowns the work, it will be so in this instance, and redound to the glory of M. de Verbois." The young man perceived how much she was bantering with him, but allowed her to proceed, uninterruptedly, as follows, without despairing of final success.

M. de Lokrenan, high steward of Quimper-Corentin, was one of the richest and most respectable persons of the province: his house was frequented by all the young men of abilities or talents; and it was the more agreeable to them, from its being inhabited by four young ladies equally amiable. Two of them were the seneschal's daughters, and made only part of his family, which was numerous; the eldest was called Balzamie-the younger Gabrielle. The two others were his nieces, whose parents, residing in foreign parts, had sent them to the seneschal's lady, a woman of abilities, who had taken charge of their education. One was named Adelaide, and the other Aline.

M. de Kerenflute, son to a rich and celebrated merchant, accustomed early to the dangers of the sea-brave, well made, and amiable-seemed strongly smitten with the charms of Mademoiselle Balzamie, who, to a lively imagination, added wit, and the grace of a fine figure.

M. du Courci, the son also of a very respectable mercantile family, showed an inclination to marry Mademoiselle Gabrielle, whose too brilliant eyes announced a romantic head, and a disposition for great adventures,

Monsieur de Sainyal, an officer in the East India Company's service, was much in love with Aline, to whose pretty face was joined simple manners and good temper.

M. de Saint Leon, a reduced infantry officer, had yielded his heart to the beauty of Adelaide the more readily, as her disposition seemed inclined to favour his passion and meet his ad


For a period all these lovers passed their time very agreeably in the house of the high steward. Their amours were confined within the bounds of the strictest decency and decorum; and all that the gossips of the town could

say, was sometimes, in laughing, that one of these days they should see eight persons married at once. The high steward replied, that this could not be, for that his daughters were not such desirable matches, and that his nieces would return to their parents, and not marry in Brittany. In truth, these comfortable arrangements were cruelly broken up. The young ladies were forced to quit Quimper-Corentin, and I shall explain the cause.

The high steward had two sisters:. one had married an officer of infantry, who had successively risen to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and had been appointed governor of Colicoure, a seaport in Roussillon; the other was settled with her husband, a rich merchant, at Cadiz in Spain. These two sisters not having any children, and knowing that their brother, besides many boys, had two girls, had written to him, to desire that he would send each of them one, hinting their intentions of making them heiresses, and of establishing them advantageously in the countries wherein they resided. The high steward thinking the proposals most advantageous, and the aunts having provided for the expenses of the journey, he sent off his two daughters in proper carriages, under the care of trusty servants of both sexes. They traversed France to Roussillon, and the eldest remained at Colicoure. The youngest having rested herself a few days, continued her journey to Cadiz.

The adieus had been most tender and affecting. The lover of Balzamie was plunged in the deepest affliction." He seemed to foresee some melancholy event; and his mistress had nearly the same presentiment, but she had wrought up her mind to support whatever might befall her, like a true heroine of romance. The lover of Gabrielle was less afflicted: not that he was less attached to his mistress, but he had formed a plan, the execution of which he thought certain, namely, to go himself to Cadiz, where he had relatives, and flattered himself that he could there continue his court to Gabrielle with the same ease as at Quimper.

Immediately upon the departure of the daughters, preparations were made for that of the nieces. Aline was to be sent to her father, brother to the high steward's wife, at Pondicherry,

where she might flatter herself to gain a brilliant establishment. She would never have undertaken such a long voyage without shuddering, had not Sainval, who, we have said, was in the India Company's service, promised to meet her in India. She set out, therefore, for L'Orient, somewhat consoled by this hope, where Sainval was already arrived. They embarked on board different vessels, but bound to the same port, and set sail together.

There now only remained at Quimper the tender and romantic Adelaide; but she was soon recalled to Italy by her father, another brother to the high steward's lady, and speedily departed for Leghorn. Saint Leon was in despair, and daily mingled his tears and regrets with those of the wretched Kerenflute. Having thus made you acquainted with the heroes and heroines of my history,-having painted their characters, and pretty tolerably dispersed them over the globe,-I believe, added Madame de Marcel, I may be permitted to take some rest. It will be your turn, my dear friend, (looking at Madame d'Aigremont,) to

tell us to-morrow what afterwards befell these young ladies and gentlemen.

On the morrow, at the same hour, that is to say, after supper, the president sleeping, and the rest of the company listening, the friend of Madame de Marcel thus spoke :

India. Every one's mind, therefore, was tranquil about them, when two couriers arrived with letters that plunged the whole town of Quimper into the utmost distress. The melancholy news they brought had been preceded by an accident that had happened to one of the couriers, as he was passing through the forest between Nantes and Vannes. He was attacked by robbers, who carried away his portmanteau, and opened it, in search of jewels or gold; but not finding any, they tore all the papers and letters to pieces, and threw them into a rivulet, whence they were taken out in a miserable condition, and, when carefully dried, they were all, or in parts, delivered according to their different directions. The letters from Spain and from Roussillon had been sadly damaged; however, the high steward's lady decyphered him that of Balzamie, as follows:-


The lovers, separated from their hearts' delight, continued to afflict themselves; but the other inhabitants of Quimper looked for nothing but agreeable news from these young ladies. Balzamie seemed contented and satisfied with her aunt in Roussillon. Gabrielle had arrived at Cadiz before Du Courci, and her aunt had pressed her to marry an old Spaniard, lately returned from Peru, immensely rich, which she refused as much and as long as she could, because he was very old, very ugly, and, as it was said, very jealous; but they remarked to her, that as he was so old, he might possibly die soon; and as he would leave her his whole fortune, she might in that case, if she then pleased, enjoy it with Du Courci. This excellent reasoning had its effect upon her, and it was thought that she had made up her mind to marry the rich Peruvian.

Adelaide was at Leghorn. It required a year at least to receive any news from those who had sailed to

Imagine, my dear mamma, what was my despair, when carried off in spite of my resistance. I found myself transported on board the vessel of Barbarossa, who instantly setting every sail, made for Algiers. I arrived there more dead than alive; and with what horror was I not penetrated, when I saw myself shut up in the seraglio of this barbarian! It was in vain that I called for assistance on all my relations, and even on M. de Kerenflute, who had so often amused us with his exploits at sea, and who had told me twenty times, that if I ever should fall into the hands of the Turks, he would find means to deliver me." The remainder of the letter was illegible; but this was sufficient to throw the family of the Lokrenans into the utmost grief. Kerenflute was present at the reading of this fatal letter. In any other circumstances, with what pleasure would he have heard that Mademoiselle Balzamie had kept him in her thoughts! At present he eagerly seized the idea that she had hinted to him, to hasten to deliver her from the hands of these barbarians. "Yes," cried he with joy, "I hear, dearest Balzamie, that thou callest on me for succour. She has need of my courage; I fly to her aid; and I swear never to re-enter Quimper again, until I shall have obtained her liberty." Having said this, Kerenflute quitted the house, and began instantly to collect all his own money, and made use also of the

credit of his friends, to raise a sufficient sum. Should he embark from Quimper, he would be obliged to employ longer time, and pass the Straits of Gibraltar: he determined, therefore, to travel post on the wings of love, through France, to Toulon. On his arrival at Toulon with good letters of exchange, he instantly bought, armed, and equipped a vessel, in which he embarked with the utmost haste, and made sail for Algiers. Feeling hearts, be not alarmed for Keren-, flute; the motive that animates him will preserve him from all accidents. In fact, he arrived safely at Algiers; and I recommend him to the person who is next to continue this history.

We will now return to Quimper. The unfortunate accident that had happened to Balzamie was nothing to the affliction which the letter from Mademoiselle Gabrielle added to this miserable family. This is all that could be made out from her torn letter:

"What horror! Who can even support the mere idea of such horror? The wretched Gabrielle has then, without knowing it, devoured the heart of her lover. Her husband, insulting her grief, said, Dost thou know what meat thou hast just been eating? What a dish I had prepared for thee? The feasts of Atreus and Thyestes, of Pelops and of Tantalus, were nothing in comparison of what thou hast just done. It was-it was the heart of Du Courci. At these words, my dear mamma, I fainted. I long lost all my senses. They were forced to carry me out, and I know not even now where I am


Had the rest of the letter not been torn, there was no one in Quimper that would have had the courage to hear it read. Everywhere sobs and lamentations resounded: all pitied the miserable Gabrielle, all tried to console her relations, without being able to receive any consolation themselves. There were no longer any suppers or amusements in the house of the high steward: visitors came thither but to weep. Saint Leon, the only one of the four lovers who had remained in Lower Brittany, hastened with eagerness to partake of their grief; when a letter received from Leghorn made him as much in want of consolation himself.

Adelaide had written to her aunt,

that her father had intentions to marry her in Calabria, to a merchant of Reggio, who was his friend and correspondent; but that, from the description she had had of him, she had conceived such a disgust, that she had rather die a thousand times than be his wife. That her father had forced her to set out with him, to deliver her into the hands of this villanous Calabrese; but that she should ever regret her dear uncle, her dear aunt, her cousins, and the unfortunate Saint Leon. Saint Leon, having the example of Kerenflute before his eyes, thought himself equally bound to succour and avenge his mistress by land, as the other had done by sea. He formed, therefore, a similar resolution; and having adopted like measures, set out to traverse Calabria after the fair Adelaide, as his friend had crossed the seas after the handsome Balzamie.

I shall now leave them, with your permission, ladies and gentlemen, said the friend of Madame de Marcel. Monsieur L'Abbé will tell us to-morrow whether their expeditions have been fortunate, or the contrary.

Ladies, said the Abbé on the morrow, romances and such light literature are not my forte; it is well known that I have pursued other studies, but I will risk every thing to please you-I shall prolong your history and labour against mine own blood, by embarrassing, as much as in my power, my nephew, who has undertaken the denouement.

Kerenflute had a prosperous voyage to Algiers-having secured the protection of the Consul of France, he landed at his house, and made instant inquiries if the Corsair Barbarossa had not lately returned from a cruise with some French female slaves. The consul assured him, that he had not heard of any such thing, but each having made farther and more exact researches, they learned, that an European slave, but from what nation was not exactly known, had lately been admitted into the seraglio of the Corsair. Having paid largely an eunuch to know the name of this slave, he said, she was called Bolsani or Basani, ah, cried out Kerenflute, it must be my dear Balzamie-new cares and fresh expenses to obtain a sight of, and to speak to her. Alas, all his cares were ended, by hearing that the Bashaw of Algiers having a present to offer to

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