Adieu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 40 pages of information about Adieu.
up in a madhouse, in a little town in Germany, at the time her relatives, thinking her dead, divided her property.  In 1816, the grenadier Fleuriot was at an inn in Strasburg, where she went after making her escape from the madhouse.  Several peasants told the grenadier that she had lived for a whole month in the forest, where they had tracked her in vain, trying to catch her, but she had always escaped them.  I was then staying a few miles from Strasburg.  Hearing much talk of a wild woman caught in the woods, I felt a desire to ascertain the truth of the ridiculous stories which were current about her.  What were my feelings on beholding my own niece!  Fleuriot told me all he knew of her dreadful history.  I took the poor man with my niece back to my home in Auvergne, where, unfortunately, I lost him some months later.  He had some slight control over Madame de Vandieres; he alone could induce her to wear clothing.  ‘Adieu,’ that word, which is her only language, she seldom uttered at that time.  Fleuriot had endeavored to awaken in her a few ideas, a few memories of the past; but he failed; all that he gained was to make her say that melancholy word a little oftener.  Still, the grenadier knew how to amuse her and play with her; my hope was in him, but—­”

He was silent for a moment.

“Here,” he continued, “she has found another creature, with whom she seems to have some strange understanding.  It is a poor idiotic peasant-girl, who, in spite of her ugliness and stupidity, loved a man, a mason.  The mason was willing to marry her, as she had some property.  Poor Genevieve was happy for a year; she dressed in her best to dance with her lover on Sunday; she comprehended love; in her heart and soul there was room for that one sentiment.  But the mason, Dallot, reflected.  He found a girl with all her senses, and more land than Genevieve, and he deserted the poor creature.  Since then she has lost the little intellect that love developed in her; she can do nothing but watch the cows, or help at harvesting.  My niece and this poor girl are friends, apparently by some invisible chain of their common destiny, by the sentiment in each which has caused their madness.  See!” added Stephanie’s uncle, leading the marquis to a window.

The latter then saw the countess seated on the ground between Genevieve’s legs.  The peasant-girl, armed with a huge horn comb, was giving her whole attention to the work of disentangling the long black hair of the poor countess, who was uttering little stifled cries, expressive of some instinctive sense of pleasure.  Monsieur d’Albon shuddered as he saw the utter abandonment of the body, the careless animal ease which revealed in the hapless woman a total absence of soul.

“Philippe, Philippe!” he muttered, “the past horrors are nothing!—­Is there no hope?” he asked.

The old physician raised his eyes to heaven.

“Adieu, monsieur,” said the marquis, pressing his hand.  “My friend is expecting me.  He will soon come to you.”

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Adieu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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