“After my death, I desire that you will take my heart, put it in the spirits of wine, and that you carry it to Parma to my dear Marie Louise. You will please tell her that I tenderly loved her— that I never ceased to love her. You will relate to her all that you have seen, and every particular respecting my situation and death.”
The story of Marie Louise is pathetic, almost tragic. There is the taint of grossness about it; and yet, after all, there is a lesson in it—the lesson that true love cannot be forced or summoned at command, that it is destroyed before its birth by outrage, and that it goes out only when evoked by sympathy, by tenderness, and by devotion.
THE ROMANCE OF DEVOTION
Volume III of IV.
The wives of general Houston
Lola Montez and king Ludwig of Bavaria
Leon Gambetta and Leonie Leon
lady Blessington and count D’ORSAY
Byron and the countess Guiccioli
the story of Mme. De Stael
the story of Karl Marx
Ferdinand Lassalle and Helene von Donniges
the story of Rachel
Sixty or seventy years ago it was considered a great joke to chalk up on any man’s house-door, or on his trunk at a coaching-station, the conspicuous letters “G. T. T.” The laugh went round, and every one who saw the inscription chuckled and said: “They’ve got it on you, old hoss!” The three letters meant “gone to Texas”; and for any man to go to Texas in those days meant his moral, mental, and financial dilapidation. Either he had plunged into bankruptcy and wished to begin life over again in a new world, or the sheriff had a warrant for his arrest.
The very task of reaching Texas was a fearful one. Rivers that overran their banks, fever-stricken lowlands where gaunt faces peered out from moldering cabins, bottomless swamps where the mud oozed greasily and where the alligator could be seen slowly moving his repulsive form—all this stretched on for hundreds of miles to horrify and sicken the emigrants who came toiling on foot or struggling upon emaciated horses. Other daring pioneers came by boat, running all manner of risks upon the swollen rivers. Still others descended from the mountains of Tennessee and passed through a more open country and with a greater certainty of self-protection, because they were trained from childhood to wield the rifle and the long sheath-knife.