La Vendée eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 646 pages of information about La Vendée.

“Nay, Henri; now you have raised my woman’s curiosity, and you positively must tell me.”

“I hardly know how to tell you,” said Henri, “for I really forget how he said it.  I don’t know on earth how he introduced your name at all; but he ended in accusing you of having a more favoured lover.”

Agatha blushed slightly as she answered: 

“He has no right whatever to ask the question; nor if I have a favoured lover, should it be any ground of complaint to him.  But to you, Henri, if you wish a promise from me on the subject, I will readily and willingly promise, that I will receive no man’s love, and, far as I can master my own heart, I will myself entertain no passion without your sanction:  and you, dear brother, you shall make me a return for my confidence; you shall ask me to marry no man whom I cannot love.”

“Don’t for a moment think, dearest, that what he said, made me uneasy as regarded you:  but whom do you think he selected for you—­of whom do you think he is jealous?”

“I cannot attempt to guess a madman’s thoughts, Henri.”

“I will tell you then,” said he; “but you will be shocked as well as surprized.  He is jealous of Cathelineau!”

“Cathelineau?” said Agatha, blushing now much more deeply than she had done before.

“Yes, Cathelineau, the postillion.”

“No, not Cathelineau the postillion; but Cathelineau the Saint of Anjou, and the hero of St. Florent, and of Saumur.  He at any rate has linked my name with that of a man worthy of a woman’s love.”

“Worthy, Agatha, had his birth and early years been different from what they were.”

“Worthy as he is of any woman’s love,” said Agatha.  “Great deeds and noble conduct make birth of no avail, to give either honour or disgrace.”

“But, Agatha, surely you would not wed Cathelineau, were he to ask you?”

“Why should you ask that question, Henri?” said she:  “are the words which Adolphe Denot has uttered in his wild insanity of such weight, as to make you regard as possible such an event?  Have I not told you I would wed no one without your sanction?  Do you not know that Cathelineau has never spoken to me but the coldest words of most distant respect?  Do you not know that his heart and soul are intent on other things than woman’s love?  I, too, feel that this is not the time for love.  While I live in continual dread that those I most value may fall in battle; while I fear that every messenger who comes to me in your absence, may have some fatal news to tell, I do not wish to take upon me a fresh burden of affection.  Am I not best as I am, Henri, at present?” And she put her arm affectionately through his.  “When the wars are over, and the King is on his throne, you shall bring me home a lover; some brave friend of your’s who has proved himself a gallant knight.”

“I would have him be a gallant knight, certainly,” said Henri, “but he should also be a worthy gentleman.”

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La Vendée from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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