Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

the King's orders; but if I find that you and the Marquis are patient under your punishment, I shall make you as comfortable as my duty to the King will allow.'- To this kind speech the Marchioness only answered by breaking out like a child, crying afresh; and the Marquis was so sullen that he would not speak at all : but Henrie, running up and kissing the hand of the old gentleman, said, “Oh, Sir! God will reward you for your kindness to my poor father and mother : you must pardon them if they are not able to speak.'

- You are a fine boy, said the old gentleman ; * and it is a pity that at your age you should share your parents' punishment, and be shut up in this place.- Where my father and mother are,' answered Henrie, 'I shall be best contented, Sir: I do not wish to be parted from them.'

The Governor looked pleased with Henrie ; and giving his orders to his soldiers, they took up a lamp, and led the poor Marquis to the room where he was to be shut up for the remainder of his life. They led him through many large rooms, and up several flights of stone steps, till they came to the door of a gallery, at which a centinel stood : the centinel opened the door, and the Marquis was led along the gallery to a second door, which was barred with iron bars. Whilst the soldiers were unbarring this door, the Marquis groaned, and wished he had never been born; Marchioness was obliged to lean upon Henrie, or she would have fallen to the ground. When the iron-barred door was opened, the guard told the Marquis and his family to walk forward ; • For this,' said they, is your room.' Accordingly, the Marquis and his wife and Henrie went on into the room, whilst the guard shut and barred the door behind them. One little lamp, hanging from the top of the room, but high above their reach (for the rooms in those old castles are in general very lofty), was all the light they had : by this light they could just distinguish a large grated window, a fire place, a table, some chairs, and two beds placed in different corners of the room. However, the unhappy family offered not to go near the beds; but the Marquis and Marchioness, throwing themselves on the ground, began to rail at each other and at the King, and even at God. Poor Henrie endeavoured to sooth and comfort them, begging them to forgive each other, and not to make God more angry: but they pushed him from them like people in a frenzy, saying, 'Go, go! would to God you were in your grave with your brother Theodore !'-Henrie withdrew to a distance, and, kneeling down in a dark part of the room, he continued to pray for his poor father and mother; till, being quite weary, he fell fast asleep on the floor.

and the poor

• When Henrie awoke he was surprised to find it was daylight: he sat up, and looked round him on the prison-room ; it was a large and airy room, receiving light from a window strongly grated with iron. - In two corners of the room were two oldfashioned, but clean and comfortable-looking, beds: opposite the beds were a chimney-piece, and hearth for burning wood; and several old-fashioned chairs and a table stood against the wall: there were also in the room two doors, which led into small closets.'

Henrie's poor father and mother had fallen asleep on the floor, after having wearied themselves with their violent grief; the Marquis bad made a pillow of his cloak, and the Marchioness of a small bundle which she had brought in her hand out of the carriage. Henrie looked at them till bis eyes were full of tears: they looked pale and sorrowful even in their sleep. He got up gently, for fear of disturbing his poor parents, and

went to the window : the air from the opposite hill blew sweet and fresh in at the casement: it reminded Henrie of the air which he used to breathe in Claude's cottage. The window was exceedingly high from the court of the castle ; so that the little village below, and the opposite green hill, with its cottages, and flocks, and herds, were all to be seen from thence above the walls of the court. What reason have we to be thankful to God!' said Henrie: • I was afraid my poor father might have been shut down in a dismal vault, with out light and fresh air. . If the Governor of the castle will but allow us to stay here, and give us only bread and water, we may be happy: and I have my little Bible, and my Book of Martyrs. O that my dear parents would study this little precious Bible ! how happy might we still be happier far than we were at Paris ! Blessed afflictions, I should then say, which brought my poor father and mother to God!'

“ Whilst Henrie stood at the window, he heard some one unbar the door; and an old man came in with a basket, in which was a comfortable breakfast. I have orders,' said he, • from my lord the Governor, to give you every thing which is convenient.'— God bless your lord !' said Henrie: and he begged the old man to return his thanks to bim.- I shall come again presently,' said the old man, and bring you the things which you brought with you in the carriage. Your lord the Goyernor is a good man,' said Henrie: • Heaven bless him !'- My lord fears God,' said the old man; ' and if your noble father will but make himself contented, and not try to get away, he will have nothing to complain of here: and you would do well to tell him so. My young gentleman, excuse an old man for giving his advice.- Henrie went up to the old man, and, taking his hand, thanked him for his kindness.

“When the old man was gone, Henrie, full of joy and thankfulness to God, began to take the things out of the basket, and to set thema in order upon the table: and now Henrie found the use of having been brought up to wait upon himself, and upon others : he soon set out the little table in the neatest way, and set a chair for each of his parents ; and all this so quietly, that the poor Marquis and Marchioness did not awake till he had done. The Marchioness first opened her eyes, and looked round her. Henrie ran to her, and, kissing her, said, ' Dear niother, get up, and join with me in praising God: see what comforts God has prepared for us! We are fallen into good bands : look around on this room; how light, how airy, and how płeasant it is!' Henrie then told her all the kindness of the Govenor, and shewed her the breakfast prepared for them; but she still looked sullen and unthankful, and began to blame the Marquis, as he lay asleep, as the cause of all her afflictions. • Oh, mother! dear mother !' said Henrie, vexed,

this is wrong, very wrong : now is not à time to find fault with each other: we are all singers; we have all done wrong. Look at my poor father : how pale he looks, and how he sighs in his sleep! You once loved him, dear mother: oh! now love him again, and comfort him in his trouble.'

“ In this manner Henrie talked to his mother till she broke out into tears, and putting her arms round Henrie's neck, · My child, my Henry,' she said, “you are too good for me! Yet still Henrie could not persuade her to take any breakfast: she placed herself in a chair in a corner of the room, and, leaning her head upon her hands, continued crying without ceasing.

* * When thé Marquis awoke, Henrie endeavoured: to comfort him as he had done his mother: the Marquis embraced him, and called him his beloved child, and only comfort; but he complained that: he was ill, and put his hand to his head. Henrie brought him a dish of coffee, which he made him drink; and the old man coming in with the linen, and other things, which had been brought from Paris, they put some clean linen on the Marquis, and the old man and Henrie assisted him to bed The Marquis continued to get worse, and before night he was in a violent fever. This fever continued many days, and brought him very near to his deatb. Whilst this illness lasted, Henrie never left him ; and the Governor of the castle not only provided him with every thing he wanted, but brought a: doctor from the village to see him.

* For many days the poor Marquis did not seem to know any thing that passed, or to know where: he was, or who was with him, but seemed in great horror of mind, expressing great dread of death ; but when his fever left him, though he was very weak, he recovered his recollection, and expressed himself very thankful for the kindness he had received, particularly from the Governor and the Doctor. As to Henrie, he kissed him often, called him his darling son, and could not bear him to leave him for moment. It was lovely to see how Henrie watched by his poor father, and how he talked to him ; sometimes soothing and comforting, and sometimes giving him descriptions of the happy manner in which he used to live in Claude's cottage : ' And all this happiness, dear Father,'hé would say, came from our being religious; for all the ways of religion are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.'-Claude and Maria,' said the Marquis one day to Henrie,' were very good people: they always led innocent lives: they had

« AnteriorContinua »