The Chaplet of Pearls eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 535 pages of information about The Chaplet of Pearls.
She had no other place where she was sure of being uninterrupted; and here had been her oratory, where she daily prayed, and often came to hide her tears and rally her spirits through that long attendance on her fatherly friend.  It had been a stolen pleasure.  Her reverent work there, if once observed, would have been treated as rank idolatry; and it was with consternation as well as grief that she found, by the Captain’s command, that this her sanctuary and refuge was to be invaded by strange soldiers!  Little did she think—–!

And thus they sat, telling each other all, on the step of the ruined chancel, among the lights and shadows of the apse.  How unlike to stately Louvre’s halls of statuary and cabinets of porcelain, or the Arcadian groves of Montpipeau!  And yet how little they recked that they were in a beleaguered fortress, in the midst of ruins, wounded sufferers all around, themselves in hourly jeopardy.  It was enough that they had one another.  They were so supremely happy that their minds unconsciously gathered up those pale lights and dark fantastic shades as adjuncts of their bliss.

CHAPTER XLIII.  LE BAISER D’EUSTACIE

No pitying voice, no eye, affords One tear to grace his obsequies.—­GRAY

Golden sunshine made rubies and sapphires of the fragments of glass in the windows of Notre-Dame de l’Esperance, and lighted up the brown face and earnest eyes of the little dark figure, who, with hands clasped round her knees, sat gazing as if she could never gaze her fill, upon the sleeping warrior beside whom she sat, his clear straight profile like a cameo, both in chiseling and in colour, as it lay on the brown cloak where he slept the profound sleep of content and of fatigue.

Neither she nor Philip would have spoken or stirred to break that well-earned rest; but sounds from without were not long in opening his eyes, and as they met her intent gaze, he smiled and said, ’Good morrow, sweet heart!  What, learning how ugly a fellow is come back to thee?’

’No, indeed!  I was trying to trace thine old likeness, and then wondering how I ever liked thy boyish face better than the noble look thou bearest now!’

’Ah! when I set out to come to thee, I was a walking rainbow; yet I was coxcomb enough to think thou wouldst overlook it.’

‘Show me those cruel strokes,’ she said; ’I see one’—­and her finger traced the seam as poor King Charles had done—­’but where is the one my wicked cousin called by that frightful name?’

’Nay, verily, that sweet name spared my life!  A little less spite at my peach cheek, and I had been sped, and had not lisped and stammered all my days in honour of le baiser d’Eustacie!’ and as he pushed aside his long golden silk moustache to show the ineffaceable red and purple scar, he added, smiling, ’It has waited long for its right remedy.’

At that moment the door in the rood-screen opened.  Captain Falconnet’s one eye stared in amazement, and from beneath his gray moustache thundered forth the word ‘Comment!’ in accents fit to wake the dead.

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The Chaplet of Pearls from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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