“She is gone, Doctor.”
“At what hour?”
“The clock was striking three—she went smiling.”
Then he bowed his head and turned away.
There was nothing more that he could do; but he remembered that Arenta had stepped on board the La Belle France as the clock struck three, and that she also had gone smiling to her unknown destiny.
“Two emigrants,” he thought, “pilgrims of Love and Death, and both went smiling!” An unwonted tenderness came into his heart; he thought of the bright, lovely bride clinging so trustfully to her husband’s arm, and he voiced this gentle feeling to his wife in very sincere wishes for the safety and happiness of the little emigrant for Love. He had a singular reluctance to name her—he knew not why—with the other little maid who also had left smiling at three o’clock, an emigrant for whom Death had opened eternal vistas of delight.
“I do not know,” said Mrs. Moran, “how Van Ariens could suffer his daughter to go to a country full of turmoil and bloodshed.”
“He was very unhappy to do so, Ava. But when things have gone a certain length they have fatality. The Marquis had promised to become eventually a citizen of this Republic, and Van Ariens had no idea in sanctioning the marriage that his daughter would leave New York. It was even supposed the Marquis would remain here in the Count de Moustier’s place, and the sudden turn of events which sent de Tounnerre to France was a severe blow to Van Ariens. But what could he do?”
“He might have delayed the marriage until the return of de Tounnerre.”
“Ah, Ava! you are counting without consideration. He could not have detained Arenta against her will, and if he had, a miserable life would have been before both of them—domestic discomfort, public queries and suspicions, questions, doubts, offending sympathies—all the griefs and vexations that are sure to follow a Fate that is crossed. He did the best thing possible when he let the wilful girl go as pleasantly as he could. Arenta needs a wide horizon.”
“Is she in any danger from the state of affairs in Paris?”
“Mr. Jefferson says in no danger whatever. Our Minister is living there in safety. Arenta will have his friendship and protection; and her husband has many friends in the most powerful party. She will have a brilliant visit and be very happy.”
“How can she be very happy with the guillotine daily enacting such murders?”
“She need not be present at such murders. And Mr. Jefferson may be right, and we outsiders may make too much of circumstances that France, and France alone, can properly estimate. He says that the God that made iron wished not slaves to exist, and thinks there is a profound and eternal justice in this desolation and retribution of aristocrats who have committed unmentionable oppressions. I know not; good and evil are so interwoven in life that every good, traced up far enough, is found to involve evil. This is the great mystery of life. However, Ava, I am a great believer in sequences; there are few events that break off absolutely. In Arenta’s life there will be sequences; let us hope that they will be happy ones. Where is Cornelia?”