Mr. Lansdowne, who had up to this time been wholly occupied with his preparations for departure, was sitting, in an attitude betokening weariness and despondency, leaning his arms upon a table, shading his face with his hand. A few days of grief and anxiety had greatly changed him. He looked pale and languid, but Adele thought, as she occasionally glanced at him from the sofa opposite, that she had never seen his countenance so clothed with spiritual beauty.
Mr. Dubois, who had not yet spoken to his friends of his intention to remove to France, now broke the heavy silence, by announcing his purpose to leave, in the course of a week, and return with his family to Picardy.
Mr. Lansdowne started suddenly and uttered a slight exclamation. Adele looked at him involuntarily. He was gazing at her intently. The strange light again glowed in his eyes. Her own fell slowly. She could not keep her lids lifted beneath his gaze.
After the plans of Mr. Dubois had been discussed, mutual inquiries and communications respecting future prospects were made, until the evening hours were gone.
“If my life is spared, I shall come here and spend another season, as I have spent the one just closing”, said Mr. Norton.
Thus they parted for the night.
In the morning there was time for nothing, but a few hasty words.
Adele’s face was very pale. Mr. Lansdowne, looking as if he had not slept for many hours, took her hand, bent over it silently for a moment, then walked slowly to the boat without turning his head.
During days and weeks of tranquil pleasure in each other’s companionship, these two young beings had unconsciously become lovers. No sooner had they awakened to a knowledge of this fact, than a great danger and an unlooked for sorrow, while deepening the current of their existence, had also deepened their affection. Was that formal, restrained adieu to be the end of all this?
CHATEAU DE ROSSILLON.
In the year 1828, three years after the occurrences related in the last chapter, Adele Dubois, grown into a superb beauty, stood near the Aphrodite fountain, in front of the chateau de Rossillon, feeding from her hand a beautiful white fawn. It was a warm, sunny afternoon in June. Majestic trees shaded the green lawn, and the dark brown hue of the old chateau formed a fitting background for the charming tableau. Adele was enveloped in a cloud of white gauzy drapery, a black velvet girdle encircling her waist, fastened by a clasp of gold and pearls. Her hair was laid in smooth bands over her brow, then drawn into one mass of heavy braids upon the back of the head, and secured by a golden arrow shot through it.
One who by chance had seen Adele in the wilds of Miramichi, at the age of sixteen, would at once recognize the lady feeding the fawn as the same. At a second glance, the hair would be seen to have grown a shade darker and a gleam more shining, the large sloe-colored eyes more thoughtful and dreamy, the complexion of a more transparent whiteness, and the figure to have ripened into a fuller and richer symmetry.