They listened intently. His voice, his manner, his words electrified them. His countenance was illumined with an awful light, such as they had not before witnessed there. His eye shot out prophetic meanings. At the close, he said, in a low tone, like the murmur of distant thunder, “what I have told you, is true,—true, as that we stand on this solid ground,—true, as that sky that bends above us. This book says it. It is, therefore, eternal truth. I have it impressed upon my mind, that a judgment, a swift, tremendous judgment, is about to descend upon this people on account of their sins. I cannot shake off this impression, and, under its power, I warn you to prepare your souls to meet some dreadful calamity.
“I know not how it will come,—in what shape, with what power. But I feel that death is near. It seems to me that I see many before me, who will soon be beyond the bounds of time. I feel constrained to say this to you. I beg you prepare to meet your God”.
When he ceased, a visible shudder ran through the multitude. They rose slowly and wended their way homeward, many with blanched faces, and even the hardiest with a vague sense of some startling event impending.
JOHN AND CAESAR.
At four o’clock in the afternoon on the following day Mrs. Dubois sat in the Madonna room. Her fingers were employed upon a bit of exquisite embroidery, over which she bent with a contracted brow, as if her mind was filled with anxious thought.
Adele, robed in a French silk of delicate blue, her rich, dark hair looped up in massive braids, sat listlessly, poring over a volume of old French romance.
Suddenly rising, she threw it hastily aside, exclaiming as she went towards an open window, “O! this interminable drought! It makes me feel so miserable and restless. Does it not oppress you, ma chere mere?”
Mrs. Dubois started suddenly, as Adele spoke.
“Ah! yes. It is very wearisome”, she replied.
“Ma mere, I have disturbed you. Of what were you thinking when I spoke?”
“Thinking of the chateau de Rossillon and its inmates. It is very long since we have had news of them. I am much troubled about the dear friends. It would be like rain on the parched ground, could I once more hear my uncle’s voice. The good, kind old man!”
“Never fear, ma mere. You shall hear it. I have a plan that will soon take us all to Picardy. You smile, but do I not accomplish my little schemes? Do not ask me, please, how I shall do it. The expedition is not wholly matured”.
“Not wholly matured, indeed!” said Mrs. Dubois, with an incredulous smile.
“Nevertheless, it will take place, ma mere. But not this week. In the mean time, I am going to invite the gentlemen, who are doubtless moping in Mr. Brown’s room, as we are here, to come in and examine that curiously illuminated missal of yours. How agreeable Mr. Brown is, now that he is getting well! Don’t you think so? And Mr. Norton is as good and radiant as a seraph! No doubt, they are pining with homesickness, just as you are, and will be glad of our society”.