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Madame le Croix threw her arms about her husband, while the little boy quitting Julian, ran back to his father and caught him by the hand.
“ Your business ?” haughtily demanded Le Croix.
“ Your company !" replied the leader ; whose sword was drawn.
“ Your authority?”
“ A Letter-de-Cachet !” Imagine the conclusion of the scene.—That night Monsieur le Croix slept in the Bastile.
Monsieur Le Croix stood at the gate of his Chateau. How he had regained his liberty he knew not, neither was he aware of the means by which he found himself there. He entered his grounds with a feeling of doubt that he was walking in them, and, short as was the distance from the gate to the door of his mansion, he felt as if he should never traverse it. At length he arrived at the well known portal, and it opened to him, but there was a strangeness in the countenance of the person who answered his summons, and let him in. He ascended the stair-case, apprehending at every step that it would vanish from under him! On the landing place he saw Eugene, but scarcely did his eyes light upon him ere the boy was gone! He opened the door of his drawing-room with an indescribable sense of incertitude and alarm. His wife and the Count were there! They did not seem to perceive him, but to be wholly occupied with one another-how the heart of
the husband beat! They spoke, but their words he heard not; he only saw what their looks discoursed-it was pleasure. The next moment swords were drawn, and he and the Count were engaged in mortal combat ; but his thrusts were feeble and fell short; or, if they reached his adversary, seemed to make no impression upon him. At last he closed with the Count-- they struggled-Le Croix was thrown by his more youthful and powerful antagonist, whose sword was now pointed at the prostrate husband's throat.—'T was a dream! Monsieur le Croix lay stretched and awake upon his pallet in the Bastile.
He fancied it was morning-not a blink of day was admitted to announce to him the coming or the going of the sun. He rose, and after taking a turn or two of his dungeon—with the dimensions of which, an acquaintance of now three weeks had made him familiarhe sat down upon the side of the bed, his frame still vibrating with the effects of his dream. He could have wept, was it not for the presence of his own dignity. He started at the call of a sensation which warned him that the hour of his morning's repast had gone by. He listened—not the whisper of a footstep! “ To be starved to death in prison! Such a thing had occurred, and might occur again! Heaven! for an innocent man to be placed, by arbitrary power, in a predicament which would extract compassion for the most guilty one !" He paced his dungeon again. “ What was intended ?”—He leaned against the wall, at the damp and chill of which he shivered, as they struck to his heart. He listened again,“ did he not hear something ?—No!” He resumed his walk. “His wife and child unprotected ! — ignorant whether he was alive or dead! A kingdom upon the verge of a convulsion! A people broke loose and wild! Rapine! Murder !-Houses in flames !— All the combustion and havoc of a civil war!” He threw himself upon his pallet. “Well! he was entombed in the Bastile. The moral earthquake might shake the foundations of his prison; and throw down its walls and set him free !” The walls—the very earth on which he stood—began to shake! He sprang upon his feet. “ Was it thunder that he heard above him? or the play of cannon ?” He could almost hear his heart throb! Shock now followed shock incessantly, and with increasing violence. “Was the Bastile beset ?--It was !” He thought he could catch the sound of human tumult! He threw himself upon his knees in supplication, imploring heaven to strengthen the hands of the assailants! He could now distinctly, though faintly, hear the shouts of an immense multitude of people—and presently, all was comparatively still. “The Bastile has surrendered,” exclaimed Monsieur le Croix ; «or the military have overpowered the people!” He heard the sound of bolts withdrawing, and doors flung violently openpresently, of voices, numerous, loud and confused, as
of men in high excitation. He clasped his hands convulsively, he stirred not, he scarcely breathed! Footsteps were rapidly approaching, traversing the intricate passages of the underground portion of the prison. A ray of light shot through the keyhole of his dungeon door. “Merciful Providence !” The broadest, brightest sunbeam he had ever gazed upon had not a thousandth part the glory of that little ray. The bolts flew !—the lock !— the hand of liberty swung, light as a feather, the massive door back upon its hinges-- The vision of Monsieur le Croix was drowned in a flood of light from the torches of his liberators.—He could scarcely distinguish the figure of Julian, who, rushing forward and clasping his almost insensible master in his arms, exclaimed, or rather shrieked, 6 'Tis Down !—THE BASTILE IS DOWN!!”
J. S. K.
Manning and Smithson, Printers, 4, Londou-House-Yard, St. Paul's.