Imatges de pÓgina



AIS, Monsieur, excuses" He is noble and gracious, but he is

Claude turned sharplyvoi- unhappy as well. He has a wound in ci le gant! Monsieur has dropped his his heart! I am sure he has loved." glove."

Her tender maiden thoughts flowed Claude took the recovered waif, and, on; her hands worked swiftly. Claude with a little word of acknowledgment, was turning to leave the gallery when thrust it rather impatiently in his pock- the little copyist's golden lily - fair head et. “Many thanks, ma fille.He came between him and the light. He carelessly glanced down at the small, hesitated an instant, then paused and thin, and clearly cut face which was addressed her. Something in the soft gazing up at him so earnestly, and then eyes, lifted to his, touched the young he went back to his picture-gazing. monsieur, so utterly weary of himself, of But the charm had fled. His thoughts the light of day, of this great glad riant turned backward. He remembered how Paris, sporting and coquetting without Claire had a trick of teasing him about the Louvre walls. his lost gloves. Sometimes she would “You are doing that very well!” he pretend he was influenced by a vain de- exclaimed, glancing down at the Greuze sire to display the shapeliness of his growing into life beneath her faithful white aristocratic hands; sometimes she hands. would lecture him for what she termed “Monsieur thinks so?" Little Marie's "a shameful habit of slothfulness;" and face lighted up like a pretty transparenthen again she would steal softly up be- cy. She gave the speaker thanks in evhind him, just as this unknown little ery curve and line and dimple of her Parisian artiste had done, and, proffering features. the delicate bit of primrose-colored kid, “More than well," Claude pursued, would sedately murmur, “Monsieur has bending lower, partly to look at the inlost his glove !"

complete cruche cassée on the paper, O, what happy memories ! O, what partly to be nearer the dimples above. sweet-prized hours of the past! Lost Another pink petal unfolded in the rosy like his glove, would they, like the un- cheeks. Pour qui le faites-vous?" prized glove, some day be restored to he asked. “For yourself; for your own him ? Would Claire repent and call him amusement?” to her side once more? Tears rose in- “Amusement?— moi? O, no!" and to the young Parisian fainéante's large Marie shook a pretty glittering head. proud eyes. Little Marie, busy with her “It is for to sell. I paint many of them copying, once or twice lifted her pretty - very many. They are much in debent head and sought him with a wistful mand- the copies,” finished the little gaze.

one, with a tired look and sigh. He is very handsome," she mused. “O, then, if it is for market, perhaps “I have seen him here before. He loves it will be possible that I may possess the fine painting; but why does he al- it,” pursued Claude, gallantly. ways regard the Départ pour Cy- “If Monsieur wishes." And then, with thère ?' He lingers ever before that one quick glance at him, deciding that he had money, and to spare, little Marie mouth; the moon crept nearer and lookproceeded to explain how she wished to ed kindly on the ingenuous Greuze face vend this picture without delay. There nestling in the pillow. Ah, well! goodwas to be a festival on Sunday—a grand night, little Marie. Of all your plenfête at Fontainebleau - and she wished teous sisterhood there is no one so stainto buy herself a new hat and gown- less, so sweetly pure as you to-night. something delicate, fresh, and new. The next day Marie's work did not

Claude listened, interested in spite of advance so well. It chanced that Claude himself.

The slender willowy figure did not come until late to make his daily stood up in its blue dress graceful as a visit, and then he was gloomy, morose. lily-stem, and like a lily-flower on its He spoke little, and when the timid child standard looked the little noble head got sufficient courage to put the queswith its masses of fair hair.

tion to him why he always lingered beThe next morning when Claude visit- fore the Watteau, he frowned and turned the gallery he saw Marie at her post. ed abruptly away. She smiled and nodded and blushed “I like to regard it because it was a when the young monsieur approached favorite with the woman whom I loved, her. Their friendship ripened fast. and who betrayed me," was his bitter Many people turned to watch the no- answer, and then he left her. ble, melancholy, handsome young fai- Poor little Blueling! She could not néante loitering by the side of the pret- tell why her fingers trembled so that ty blue figure with its crown of glorious day. She could not work. Her sight golden hair.

was dim; her touch uncertain. “I kept “Papa used to call me little Blueling," too long awake last night," the poor she explained to Claude, “because I al- child thought. “I need rest and sleep; ways wore this blue dress to paint in. perhaps to-morrow I shall do better." Do you think it an odd name? I like But when Claude - penitent, regretit. But no one calls me that now. No ting his harshness of the previous dayone waits now to cry, 'Welcome, petite hurried on the morrow to the gallery, Bluet,' when I come home late from my he missed the little blue figure at its acwork."

customed post. Instead a large brisk. When Claude left the gallery Marie eyed old Frenchwoman was there, enalways followed him with her soft fair- ameling with nimble fingers the cruche fringed eyes. Thus she noted that he cassée on porcelain. The young monalways paused for a farewell glance at sieur looked anxiously about. A little the Watteau. The sad look in his dim blue heap in a recess caught his large proud eyes grew always sadder eye. He hastened to it. It was Marie when he looked at this picture. -le petite Blueling-in tears.

The little painter having noted, pon- Another moment she was pouring her dered on this fact as she lay that night grief into Claude's brotherly ears. She musing into the smaller stiller hours of could not finish the picture. Le gros

“I shall ask him why he cares tante Margot had driven her away, so much for that one picture, and why saying that she was a sluggard ; that he is always sad when he regards it,” she wasted her time; and now - and she decided, as she clasped her hands now on her white bosom in drowsy medita- “What! is that all ?" interrupted tion. Her eyelids fell, veiling her wist- Claude, smiling. “Why, you can finful gaze into the sombre dusk; a soft ish the picture to-morrow, when the sweet smile curved her pretty unkissed aunt is gone. Why do you weep?

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There is no haste. There is plenty of where of yore many a noble knight and

а time to come.”

dame had lingered, coquetted, mocking “But do you not see?” — Marie's lightly, and playing with wondrous grace eyes flashed disappointment and rebuke the skillful game of hearts. Francis I. through their tears —“I wished to go Bayard's king, stood up a knightly figure to the festival, and now I have no mon- that no age could dim. Henri II. glidey. I wished to buy me a fresh bonnet ed by, holding Diana of Valentinois by and robe, but — but” —she broke down the hand; the two dim old-time lovers again.

looked up and pointed to the entwined “But then you must permit me to pur- ciphers on the palace walls, and smiled chase the bonnet and gown,” interrupt- into each other's eyes. Napoleon was ed Claude. “I shall pay for my pict. there, carrying his dying eagles smitten ure beforehand. Tiens, little one! Dry in all their fiery pride to sudden death up your tears; no more of weeping, but beneath the alien skies of Moscow. let us go and seek for the prettiest toi- Queen Christina of Sweden and the let in all Paris."

murdered Monaldeschi stalked frownAnd a moment later little Marie - ing past. Groups of ladies - courtly glancing, smiling, tears past, only a ten- dames and proud patrician beauties – der quiver of the mouth left – was dan- trailed past the dreamy watcher, loicing down the boulevard by Claude's tering by the tiny sunlit lake where the side to the magazins de mode. All the swans slept. He saw their smiles, he world assisted at the fête next day. watched their trick of manner. A scent Claude, if he had not already compen- of passionate old-time perfume floated sated himself for any trouble he had to him from the broidered robes they taken by watching Marie's dainty dim- swept back so gracefully. He caught ples of the previous day, might now have the gleam of jewels on snowy arms. Difelt amply rewarded in seeing the little amonds flashed, pearls Destled in those transformed Blueling dancing under the dainty boddices, flowered, scalloped over oaks of Fontainebleau in the pretty dress rosy bosoms, garnished with knots of he, had provided for her. As for her, ribbon — "næuds de parfaits contente she tricked the sunbeams of half their ments.O, what grace-puffed, powderbrightness. A robe of soft gray and ed, perfumed! What toil! They smile blue silk, demi-length, enveloped her on Claude. “Behold us," they say. pretty young élancé figure. A dainty “We are the past; we were the true Watteau hat shaded the face at once so mistresses of France. Are we not fine, clear, serene, and her lovely hair beautiful? For us the gaiety, the light fell drifting like a cloud. Taken all in of life, for us the love and feasting. all, the little Blueling was a sight that We are history. Our smiles light up would have been a joy forever, had not the songs of France's dead chivalry." a certain event occurred which dimmed Claude started up. He rubbed his its brightness and brushed away its eyes and gazed about him bewildered. bloom in the young monsieur's memory “Have I been sleeping ?” he mutterthrough days to come.

ed, with some vexation. He heard the Claude lingered near his favorite for laughter of the revelers, and had turned awhile, enjoying her happiness; then, to join them, when he caught sight of a leaving her surrounded by a group of figure leaning against a tree near him. dancing comrades, he sauntered away. Was this a part of his vision, then? He He looked about him, musing dreamily watched it a moment, irresolute; a slight as he loitered down those fragrant alleys fair female figure. Claude could not see

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the face; it was turned away, the brow of it, for I am happy, too. Good-night, bent down as if in thought. The young little Blueling." monsieur, respecting the unknown lady's The pretty child's face turned first silence, was about to move noiselessly crimson, and then pale, under that kiss. away, when he caught sight of a glove, She drew a long slow breath. Her haplying on the grass close to the hem of py loving heart swelled full to bursting; her sweeping robe. He advanced and then a sigh fluttered from her lips. picked it up; and then, startled, hearing "Good-night,” she whispered, half to his footsteps, the woman stirred. She him, half to something else of herself looked around; Claude saw her face. a part of her own being that seemed to He stood mute, transfixed, holding the be going with him as he went, softly glove in his outstretched hand. His humming a chanson, away. face turned white and then red. She, All that bright, long, sleepless night, too, stood staring, trembling. She, too, Marie Aushed and dimpled on her little turned pale, then flushed like any Prov- bed, and crumpled her rose - leaf cheek ence rose. She made a slight move. on the white pillows. “I don't want to ment forward.

sleep,” she said to herself, sitting up“Claude! is it thou?" she murmur- right and putting back the falling masses ed. “Claude!

of bright hair from her forehead. “I “Claire! thou?"

want to keep awake and think of him. That was all. And then somehow I wish to - morrow would come. I wish they both seemed to move together. it was here now, so that I might see The outstretched hands met in a clasp him.” that promised never to unlock. The The so sweetly wished - for “to-morlovers, parted, were now united again. row" came in due time, but little Marie

They had a cool swift ride en voiture did not see Claude. She hastened to back to Paris. Claude attended Marie the Louvre. All day she lingered there, to her home. He was in a state of queer but he did not come. It was not until high exaltation that was strange to his the third day after, that chancing to lift little ignorant companion. As for Ma- her gaze from the work over which she rie, she dreamed golden dreams. She was bending listlessly, with wan cheeks regarded Claude with soft glamourish and tear-dimmed eyes, she saw the welleyes. Who so generous, so good and known figure coming near. She uttered kind as he? Was not this pretty dress a low cry; a flood of joyous color rushhis gift? O! he must care for her, else ed over her face, grown so soon wan, he would not have given it. He must; for these three days had been an age to he did. She took off her hat and stood the poor child; and then, ah, then, the gravely, with clasped hands, in the cen- bright gay coloring faded from her tre of the little low-ceilinged room. cheeks. She shrunk back into herself,

"Are you happy, child ?" asked Claude, crushed and cowering, and strangely who was watching her with an indulgent abashed. For Claude was not alone. smile.

A lady, with a beautiful brune face, was Marie lifted her soft eyes to his. leaning on his arm. He was looking “Happy? O, yes, yes! I have been into her dark eyes, and he did not see very happy! I am happy!”

poor Marie. As for her, she stood “I am glad of it!" The young mon- there, mute, stunned, watching with sieur laughed a low exultant laugh. He wide-strained blue eyes the coming of took little Marie's hands in his, and the happy lovers. They stopped before kissed her on either cheek. “I am glad “Le Départ pour Cythere," and Claude


whispered something to his companion. disordered couch. “Why did you not A lovely blush dyed her brilliant face. tell me you were ill, little one?” Then the young monsieur lifted her fair But Marie, pushing back her hair, gloved hand to his lips. The little gold- smiled gaily. She would not be sick en head beyond sunk down, down, as a now. She lay there, content. Claude sat flower does when weighted with sum- by her side, holding her hands. They mer rain too heavily.

nestled, like little soft white downy Little Marie seemed all at once, in the birds, tenderly in his; wee happy hands spring-time of her life, to have lost both once more. youth and happiness together. She “I am well now; I am happy once crept home from the gallery that fatal again," she sighed. day. She had a vague perception that She could not talk much. Claude, for her all was finished. She tossed fe- too, was silent, moved, as he was, by verishly on her pillows that night. “I the soft serene burning out of this white am not well,” she thought, “but it will life. When he went away, he stooped pass. To-morrow I shall be better, and and kissed her. She did not speak, will finish the picture.”

only her blue eyes flickered, her weak But she did not finish the incomplete breath stirred, her tired heart panted work “to-morrow;" neither to-morfow, with its last earthly throb. nor to-morrow, nor to-morrow. When “Good-by, little friend, you must be Claude came, after many days, to seek better to - morrow." He touched the his little neglected friend, he was shock- golden head. She lay quite silent when ed at the change he found.

he was gone; not dimpling now, not “What, little one, are you ill?” he flushing under his kiss. The moon rose, cried.

higher and then higher. She seemed to She was lying back on her pillows, linger-resting her cheek on the lattice, her bright golden locks tossed from her and looking in on the little ivory sleepthin face. The pretty gray and blue er on whom her clear light bestowed dress she had worn at the festival, to. a fragile and delicate immortality, gether with her hat, was lying beside Poor little Blueling! her. She started up when Claude ap- Her “to-morrow" was all eternity. proached. She hesitated one moment, Claude keeps the unfinished copy of the white, uncertain; then, with a feverish Cruche cassée.Sometimes he looks sob, she fung herself forward on her at it, and then little Marie's golden head friend's broad breast, and nestled there, comes between him and the light. quivering like a homesick bird.

Poor little Marie! Poor little prodi. “Hush! hush!” he cried, frightened gal! She emptied her joyous heart in at the storm of emotion that shook her one long and deep libation at Love's fragile form. He put her back on the feet, and then, exhausted, died.

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