| ||The Banished Man. Volume 1 of 2|
"Success and miscarriage have the same effect in all conditions
—The prosperous are feared, hated and flattered
The unfortunate avoided, pitied and despised."
D'ALONVILLE had read the Baroness's letter only once over, execrated the man he before despised, and began to consider how he ought to act, when a woman, muffled up in a close cap and hood, was shown into his room; in whom he recognized his old friend Theresa, the faithful attendant on the children of Madame D'Alberg. "I am sent by my lady, the Baroness, Sir," said she, as soon as she sat down. "Without my saying so, you must think it very strange that I make you such a visit, especially after what has been said."
"Tell me, my good Theresa, what has been said? I understand, indeed, that I have been strangely misrepresented in your family; and I suspect to whom I owe those misrepresentations."
"Yes, Sir, for I'll venture to say there was only one person who could make them.—A false monster! I believe I should be almost ready to tear his eyes out, were I to see him at this moment. But, however, other people have not been quite free from false dealings, neither. There is Bessola:—I cant say I ever thoroughly like her—a vain conceited thing! It has been told to the Count, Sir, for as to my lord, the Baron, he troubles himself very little with what does not immediately concern his own family; but it has been told to the Count, that you were frequently seen in deep conference with Made-
moiselle Bessola at undue hours; which they pretended to believe, forsooth, was to prevail upon her to carry letters to my lady. I declare such infamous insinuations put one out of the patience—as if you ever thought of such a wicked thing as winning my lady's affections away from the Count."
"Never," cried D'Alonville, with vehemence, "Never, as there is honor, truth, or gratitude in man." "I do believe you, sir, said Theresa; " and how the Count, who never before showed the least disposition to jealousy ever since he married my lady, should get such abominable nonsense into his head now, without the least ground, is to me unaccountable. For my part, I believe he is bewitched."
"There is nothing extraordinary in it, however, my friend," answered D'Alonville, "if he is weak enough to listen to such a fellow as Heurthofen, and narrow-minded enough to entertain those prejudices, which affix to different nations different characters of vice. I am sorry it is so, Theresa, as it deprives me of almost the only happiness I reckoned upon, being allowed to call myself the friend of those generous and amiable women, the Baroness de Rosenheim and her daughter. But my hopes, dear as they were to me, must be instantly sacrificed to their repose. For Count D'Alberg, I know him not, nor shall I ever seek to know him—I believed him to be a soldier and a gentleman.—I wish there was now less difficulty than there will be, in my learning to respect him as the husband of your excellent lady; as such only I will endeavour to think of him; but with his chaplain, if I am so lucky as to be able to meet with him, I must renew my acquaintance on terms somewhat different from those on which we last met."
"That is the very circumstance Madame de Rosenheim is apprehensive of, Sir" said Theresa; "and one of the principal things she charged me to entreat of you was, not to speak to Heurthofen, if you happen to meet with him. She says she has the most urgent and particular reasons to request this of you, and she hopes you will not refuse her; remembering, that towards a priest you cannot show the same anger as you might to another person. Besides, if you were to say any thing to him, it would be known that somebody had told you of the ill-office he had done you, and the mischief would be greater than ever. My lady and the Baroness both charged me to ask you to promise them, upon your word of honor, that you will not seek Heurthofen."
"I will not," answered D'Alonville, "since their commands ought to be my laws. I will not seek this villainous fellow, but if I meet him!"
"You must pass him by; indeed, Sir, you must; your resentment you cannot properly show; and he is of that disposition, my lady says that it is one of his highest gratifications to know he has been successful in mischief. If he can but make himself of consequence, he cares not by what means; and his maxim is, that next to the pleasure of being beloved, is that of being dreaded."
"In truth, my dear Theresa, the family of Rosenheim have chosen an admirable spiritual counsellor. But to put an end to all solicitude on my account, for what right have I to give them the least? Assure your ladies of my obedience to dare venture to promise this, because I am sure they will order nothing that shall be inconsistent with my honor."
"That I am sure of too, Sir," answered Theresa; "for as to the Baroness, I declare I believe, that if you were her own son she could not love you better. I don't know when I have seen her so vexed as she has been at the Baron's indifference, and the Count's almost rude treatment of you. Indeed she hardly knows how to conceal her vexation; but she puts it all to the account of the burning of Rosenheim. Well, Sir, and so what I had farther in commission from my lady the Baroness, to say, that as she understood you meant immediately to leave Vienna, she entreated to know whither you intended to go, hoping, of all things, it was not to France. She cannot, she says ask you to write to her, for reasons that are too obvious; but if you would be so good as now and then to contrive to let her hear of you, by writing to me, if you would not be above such a condescension, both she and Madame D'Alberg indeed, charged me particularly to tell you, that however, from her behaviour last night, she may appear, she can never forget the obligations she owes you, and must always recollect with sisterly affection, a gentleman who she must consider as the saviour of her children, and of her fortune; for she knows, and I believe she only yet, that it is you who have almost by miracle, recovered these papers. Ah! Sir, the Baron is a very good man, but has been always too much disposed not to consider others enough, and to fancy all the world made for him." D'Alonville sighed deeply, for among a thousand painful thoughts, he remembered how very lately he was in a situation of life equal, if not superior, to that of the Baron de Rosenheim; by whom his services were
now only thought of among those due from a dependent to their lord.
"But do not, my good Sir, be cast down," resumed Theresa; "depend upon it the day will come when you will see all right again; and when you will see your friends happy and be happy yourself. Yes, yes! Heurthofen will be found out, for the villain I know him to be.—Oh! Chevalier, I could tell you such stories of him; but I dare not stay any longer, and therefore must hasten to obey my last orders. The Baroness, Sir, gave me this," continued she, "taking out of her pocket a small dear box, sealed with four seals, "and she directed me to deliver it to you, upon receiving your promise that you will not open it till you are forty miles from Vienna. Chevalier, do you promise me?"
"I cannot indeed," replied D'Alonville, "made any such promise, unless I knew the contents of the box.—I cannot even receive it."
"You must, however," said Theresa, " for I assure you I shall not take it again.—The Baroness ordered me to tell you, that if you refused to receive this box, which perhaps contains her picture, she shall think you have renounced her friendship; and that nothing in the world can make her more unhappy. No, no! Chevalier, you must not distress Madame de Rosenheim by refusing it. Adieu, Sir!—may you be as happy wherever you go, as from my heart I believe you deserve to be!"
Theresa then hurried to the stairs, trying to conceal her tears and stifle her sobs. D'Alonville, uncertain how he ought to act, followed her, and began again to argue with her; but the place where they now stood, the stair-case of a public inn, was certainly an improper one for such a conference. Theresa reminded him of it:
"Oh! do think, Chevalier, what would be the consequence, should any one pass who knows me to be the servant of the Countess D'Alberg, and what is so likely!" D'Alonville, struck with the remark, immediately acknowledged the justice of it; and pressing the hand of Theresa, in losing whom he seemed to lose one of his last friends, he suffered her to depart, and hurried back into his own apartment.
He then took up the box; it was light, and might, he thought, contain that memorial of the friendship of Madame de Rosenheim which Theresa had intimated. But whatever were the contents, he could not return the box without offending a woman he so highly respected; not could he do it, without hazarding to disturb the peace of her family. Nothing indeed seemed to remain for him but to quit Vienna as soon as possible, and he began anew to consider whither he could go—"The world was all before him where to choose," but no part of it offered to him, "a place of rest." A man of his age, however, seeks not rest; his wish was rather for the means of signalizing himself, or in dying in the cause which he had promised his father till his latest hour to defend. In pursuit of this object he went among those of his countrymen who were at Vienna, and found some with whom he was acquainted; but in their consultations how to proceed, all was yet confusion and doubt. Some were disposed to assemble under the princes of the blood; but without the assistance of foreign powers they could not long keep themselves embodied; and of that assistance they had no certain assurance. The cheerful and sanguine temper, so much the general character of the nation, supported many of these gallant unfortunate men amidst difficulties and mortifications,
under which men of any other European nation would have sunk; but others, who had not only suffered the loss of fortune and the miseries of exile, but who were torn from their dearest connections, for whose fate they suffered more than for their own, had hardly courage to survey with a steady eye any prospect that was offered them; while there were those of a third description, who attached, from their former situations, to the fallen family of their king, were rendered desperate by the continual reports that arrived of the unmanly and unjustifiable treatment of the ill-fated prisoners in the Temple; and in their councils were rather actuated by frenzy than by reason, rashly insisting on plans impossible to execute, even had all circumstances been at this period as favorable as they were evidently otherwise.
D'Alonville saw with extreme regret that the difference of opinions, the innumerable variety of lights in which every important object was seen, and the heat and vehemence with which every man pursued his own ideas, in meeting where none had any right to dictate to the rest, was an almost invincible obstacle to the adoption and steady perseverance in any plan likely to be successful. A thousand vague reports, mistrusts, and misconception, were continually baffling or distracting the best imagined schemes; and sometimes these mistrusts were found but too placed; for among those who passed as emigrants, some were discovered to be the emissaries of the republicans, who not only betrayed the councils at which they assisted, but spread among the German towns the principles of their party; and while the estranged the minds of the inferior classes, occasioned among the higher, suspicions of the real principles of all the French.
In this cause, as in every other, success determines more than sense or justice; and many who had shown the greatest zeal for it, when the Austrian and Prussian armies marched towards France at the opening of the campaign now looked on with discouraging coolness, and discountenanced what they had once applauded. Some affected to fear the dissemination of principles inimical to the tranquillity of the German states, and others to declare against the French as a nation; and to hint at the propriety of their being forbidden to assemble in other countries.
D'Alonville, after having passed a day or two, listening to fluctuating opinions, and impracticable propositions, found none which he thought better than that recommended by his friend; and he had nearly determined to return immediately to Coblentz, where he thought he might yet arrive in time to accompany M. de Magnevilliers, when he met at a coffee house the Marquis de Touranges, a man of his own age, whom he had know at a military academy at Paris about two years before the revolution, and with whom he had at that time had some degree of intimacy. The Marquis de Touranges informed him in conversation, that he was the next day going with his friend and former tutor, the Abbé de St. Remi, to Berlin, by the way of the Prague. "The Abbé de St. Remi," said he, "has a niece married to a Prussian of high rank, and she offers an asylum to her respectable uncle, which I have advised him to accept; and as I have not yet determined whether I shall go myself, I have taken the resolution to travel at least so far with my ancient preceptor." D'Alonville felt an inclination to make a third in this party; the proposal appeared extremely agreeable to de Touranges. He introduced D'Alonville the same
evening to the Abbé, whose mild manners immediately prejudiced him in his favor. It was agreed that they should proceed on horseback, or in the public carriages of the country, as economy, an equal object to all, rendered most advisable, and at an early hour the next morning they left Vienna.