The Chaplet of Pearls eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 535 pages of information about The Chaplet of Pearls.
herself in person on the Queen’s protection,—­all had occurred to her, and been discussed with her two confidantes; but the hope of the Queen’s interference, together with the exceeding difficulty of acting, had hitherto prevented her from taking any steps, since no suspicion had arisen in the minds of those about her.  Veronique, caring infinitely more for her mistress’s health and well-being than for the object of Eustacie’s anxieties, had always secretly trusted that delay would last till action was impossible, and that the discovery would be made, only without her being accused of treason.  In the present stress of danger, she could but lament and entreat, for Eustacie’s resolution bore her down; and besides, as she said to herself, her Lady was after all going to her foster-father and mother, who would make her hear reason, and bring her back at once, and then there would be no anger nor disgrace incurred.  The dark muddy length of walk would be the worst of it—­and, bah! most likely Madame would be convinced by it, and return of her own accord.

So Veronique, though not intermitting her protests, adjusted her own dress upon her mistress,—­short striped petticoat, black bodice, winged turban-like white cap, and a great muffling gray cloth cloak and hook over the head and shoulders—­the costume in which Veronique was wont to run to her home in the twilight on various errands, chiefly to carry her mistress’s linen; for starching Eustacie’s plain bands and cuffs was Mere Perrine’s special pride.  The wonted bundle, therefore, now contained a few garments, and the money and jewels, especially the chaplet of pearls, which Eustacie regarded as a trust.

Sobbing, and still protesting, Veronique, however, engaged that if her Lady succeeded in safely crossing the kitchen in the twilight, and in leaving the convent, she would keep the secret of her escape as long as possible, reporting her refusal to appear at supper, and making such excuses as might very probably prevent the discovery of her flight till next day.

‘And then,’ said Eustacie, ’I will send for thee, either to Saumur or to the old tower!  Adieu, dear Veronique, do not be frightened.  Thou dost not know how glad I am that the time for doing something is come!  To-morrow!’

‘To-morrow!’ thought Veronique, as she shut the door; ’before that you will be back here again, my poor little Lady, trembling, weeping, in dire need of being comforted.  But I will make up a good fire, and shake out the bed.  I’ll let her have no more of that villainous palliasse.  No, no, let her try her own way, and repent of it; then, when this matter is over, she will turn her mind to Chevalier Narcisse, and there will be no more languishing in this miserable hole.’

CHAPTER XVI.  THE HEARTHS AND THICKETS OF THE BOCAGE.

I winna spare for his tender age,
    Nor yet for his hie kin;
  But soon as ever he born is,
He shall mount the gallow’s pin. —­Fause Foodrage.

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The Chaplet of Pearls from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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