[Footnote D: NOTE—Now turned into the restaurant called the “Chateau de Ramezay,” and soon probably to be demolished.]
To that little corner of brookside park it was often my custom to withdraw in the evenings. The trees, little and great, were my companions, and the sky looked down like a friend, between their leaves. One night, at summer’s close, when the dark blue of the sky was unusually deep and luminous, and the moon only a tender crescent of light, I lay on the grass in the darkness, under my favorite tree, an oak, among whose boughs the almost imperceptible moonbeams rioted. I was hidden by the shadows of a little grove just in front of me. The path passed between, about a couple of yards away. Every stroller seemed to have gone, and I had, I thought, the peace of the surroundings to myself.
All were not yet gone, however, it seemed. The peculiar echo of steps on the hard sandy path indicated someone approaching. A shadow of a form just appeared in the darkness along the path, and turning off, disappeared for a moment into the dark grove. A deep sigh of despair surprised me. I lay still, and in a moment the form came partly between me and a glimmering of the moonlight between the branches. It was apparently a man, at least. I strained my attention and kept perfectly still. There was something extraordinary about the movements of the shadow.
Suddenly, it stepped forward a stride, I saw an arm go up to the head, both these became exposed in a open space of moonlight, and a glimmer reached me from something in the hand. Like a flash it came across me that I was in the presence of the extraordinary act of suicide. The glimmer was from the barrel and mountings of a revolver! Those glintings were unmistakable.
I would have leaped up and sprung into the midst of the scene at once had not something else been plain at the same moment, which startled me and froze my blood.
The arm, the face, were those of my classmate Quinet! An involuntary start of mine rustled a fallen dry branch, and the snap of a dry twig of it seemed to dissolve his determination; the hand dropped, he sprang off—and rushed quickly away in the darkness.
Quinet,—the life of this strange fellow always was extraordinary. There were several of our French-Canadians in college and they differed in some general respects from the English, but this striking-colored compatriot of mine, with his dark-red-brown hair, and dark-red-brown eyes set in his yellow complexion, was even from them a separated figure. He was fearfully clever: thought himself neglected: brooded upon it. His strange face and strange writings sometimes published, had often fastened themselves upon me. Now it was undoubtedly my duty to save him.