“Come, come! be of good courage. There is no reason to despair.”
“Perhaps you flatter me,” said Adrienne with the shadow of a smile. “Return soon,” she added, “my dear M. Baleinier! my only hope rests in you now.”
Her head fell upon her bosom, her hands upon her knees and she remained sitting on the edge of the bed, pale, motionless, overwhelmed with woe.
“Mad!” she said when M. Baleinier had disappeared. “Perhaps mad!”
We have enlarged upon this episode much less romantic than it may appear. Many times have motives of interest or vengeance or perfidious machination led to the abuse of the imprudent facility with which inmates are received in certain private lunatic asylums from the hands of their families or friends.
We shall subsequently explain our views, as to the establishment of a system of inspection, by the crown or the civil magistrates, for the periodical survey of these institutions, and others of no less importance, at present placed beyond the reach of all superintendence. These latter are the nunneries of which we will presently have an example.
Whilst the preceding events took place in Dr. Baleinier’s asylum, other scenes were passing about the same hour, at Frances Baudoin’s, in the Rue Brise-Miche.
Seven o’clock in the morning had just struck at St. Mary church; the day was dark and gloomy, and the sleet rattled against the windows of the joyless chamber of Dagobert’s wife.
As yet ignorant of her son’s arrest, Frances had waited for him the whole of the preceding evening, and a good part of the night, with the most anxious uneasiness; yielding at length to fatigue and sleep, about three o’clock in the morning, she had thrown herself on a mattress beside the bed of Rose and Blanche. But she rose with the first dawn of day, to ascend to Agricola’s garret, in the very faint hope that he might have returned home some hours before.
Rose and Blanche had just risen, and dressed themselves. They were alone in the sad, chilly apartment. Spoil-sport, whom Dagobert had left in Paris, was stretched at full length near the cold stove; with his long muzzle resting on his forepaws, he kept his eye fixed on the sisters.
Having slept but little during the night, they had perceived the agitation and anguish of Dagobert’s wife. They had seen her walk up and down, now talking to herself, now listening to the least noise that came up the staircase, and now kneeling before the crucifix placed at one extremity of the room. The orphans were not aware, that, whilst she brayed with fervor on behalf of her son, this excellent woman was praying for them also. For the state of their souls filled her with anxiety and alarm.
The day before, when Dagobert had set out for Chartres, Frances, having assisted Rose and Blanche to rise, had invited them to say their morning prayer: they answered with the utmost simplicity, that they did not know any, and that they never more than addressed their mother, who was in heaven. When Frances, struck with painful surprise, spoke to them of catechism, confirmation, communion, the sisters opened widely their large eyes with astonishment, understanding nothing of such talk.