The Chaplet of Pearls eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 535 pages of information about The Chaplet of Pearls.

’Monseigneur St. Eustache, ten wax candles everyday to your shrine at Bellaise, so he recovers; ten more if he listen favourably and loves me.  Nay, all—­all the Selinville jewels to make you a shrine.  All—­all, so he will only let me love him;’ and then, while taking up the beads, and pronouncing the repeated devotions attached to each, her mind darted back to the day when, as young children, she had played unfairly, defrauded Landry Osbert, and denied it; how Berenger, though himself uninjured, had refused to speak to her all that day—­how she had hated him then—­how she had thought she had hated him throughout their brief intercourse in the previous year; how she had played into her brother’s hands; and when she thought to triumph over the man who had scorned her, found her soul all blank desolation, and light gone out from the earth!  Reckless and weary, she had let herself be united to M. de Selinville, and in her bridal honours and amusements had tried to crowd out the sense of dreariness and lose herself in excitement.  Then came the illness and death of her husband, and almost at the same time the knowledge of Berenger’s existence.  She sought excitement again that feverish form of devotion then in vogue at Paris, and which resulted in the League.  She had hitherto stunned herself as it were with penances, processions, and sermons, for which the host of religious orders then at Paris had given ample scope; and she was constantly devising new extravagances.  Even at this moment she wore sackcloth beneath her brocade, and her rosary was of death’s heads.  She was living on the outward husk of the Roman Church not penetrating into its living power, and the phase of religion which fostered Henry III. and the League offered her no more.

All, all had melted away beneath the sad but steadfast glance of those two eyes, the only feature still unchanged in the marred, wrecked countenance.  That honest, quiet refusal, that look which came from a higher atmosphere, had filled her heart with passionate beatings and aspirations once more, and more consciously than ever.  Womanly feeling for suffering, and a deep longing to compensate to him, and earn his love, nay wrest it from him by the benefits she would heap upon him, were all at work; but the primary sense was the longing to rest on the only perfect truth she had ever known in man, and thus with passionate ardour she poured forth her entreaties to St. Eustache, a married saint, who had known love, and could feel for her, and could surely not object to the affection to which she completely gave way for one whose hand was now as free as her own.

But St. Eustache was not Diane’s only hope.  That evening she sent Veronique to Rene of Milan, the court-perfumer, but also called by the malicious, l’empoisonneur de le Reine, to obtain from him the most infallible charm and love potion in his whole repertory.

CHAPTER XXVI.  THE CHEVALIER’S EXPIATION

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The Chaplet of Pearls from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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