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Keen, piquant curiosity now took the place of surprise. Who couldit be? The baroness's suspicion fell at once on Dr. Aubertin. ButRose maintained he had not ten gold pieces in the world. Thebaroness appealed to Josephine. She only blushed in an extraordinaryway, and said nothibitcoin atm taipeing. They puzzled, and puzzled, and were as muchin the dark as ever, when lo! one of the suspected parties deliveredhimself into the hands of justice with ludicrous simplicity. Ithappened to be Dr. Aubertin's hour of out-a-door study; and hecame mooning along, buried in a book, and walked slowly into thegroup--started, made a slight apology, and was mooning off, lostin his book again. Then the baroness, who had eyed him with grimsuspicion all the time, said with well-affected nonchalance, "Doctor,you dropped your purse; we have just picked it up." And she handedit to him. "Thank you, madame," said he, and took it quietly withoutlooking at it, put it in his pocket, and retired, with his soul inhis book. They stared comically at one another, and at this coolhand. "It's no more his than it's mine," said Jacintha, bluntly.Rose darted after the absorbed student, and took him captive. "Now,doctor," she cried, "be pleased to come out of the clouds." Andwith the word she whipped the purse out of his coat pocket, andholding it right up before his eye, insisted on his telling herwhether that was his purse or not, money and all. Thus adjured,he disowned the property mighty coolly, for a retired physician,who had just pocketed it.

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"No, my dear," said he; "and, now I think of it, I have not carrieda purse this twenty years."The baroness, as a last resource, appealed to his honor whether hehad not left a purse and paper on the knights' bough. The questionhad to be explained by Josephine, and then the doctor surprised themall by being rather affronted--for once in his life."Baroness," said he, "I have been your friend and pensioner nearlytwenty years; if by some strange chance money were to come into myhands, I should not play you a childish trick like this. What! haveI not the right to come to you, and say, 'My old friend, here Ibring you back a very small part of all I owe you?'""What geese we are," remarked Rose. "Dear doctor, YOU tell us whoit is."Dr. Aubertin reflected a single moment; then said he could make ashrewd guess."Who? who? who?" cried the whole party."Perrin the notary."It was the baroness's turn to be surprised; for there was nothingromantic about Perrin the notary. Aubertin, however, let her knowthat he was in private communication with the said Perrin, and thiswas not the first friendly act the good notary had done her in secret.While he was converting the baroness to his view, Josephine and Roseexchanged a signal, and slipped away round an angle of the chateau.

"Who is it?" said Rose."It is some one who has a delicate mind.""Clearly, and therefore not a notary.""Rose, dear, might it not be some person who has done us some wrong,and is perhaps penitent?""Certainly; one of our tenants, or creditors, you mean; but then,the paper says 'a friend.' Stay, it says a debtor. Why a debtor?"Well, dear, at last I am paid for all my trouble, and yours, by adiscovery; he never drinks a drop of his medicine; he pours it intothe ashes under the grate; I caught him in the fact.""Then this is too much: I can resist no longer. Come with me," saidJosephine doggedly.

"Where?""To him."Chapter 12Josephine paused on the landing, and laid her hand on Rose'sshoulder. It was so cold it made Rose shudder, and exacted apromise from her not to contradict a word she should say to Camille."I do not go to him for my pleasure, but for his life," she said; "Imust deceive him and save him; and then let me lie down and die.""Oh, that the wretch had never been born!" cried Rose, in despair.

But she gave the required promise, and offered to go and tellCamille Josephine was coming to visit him.But Josephine declined this. "No," said she; "give me everyadvantage; I must think beforehand every word I shall say; but takehim by surprise, coward and doubleface that I am."Rose knocked at the door. A faint voice said, "Come in." Thesisters entered the room very softly. Camille sat on the sofa, hishead bowed over his hands. A glance showed Josephine that he wasdoggedly and resolutely thrusting himself into the grave. Thinkingit was only Rose--for he had now lost all hope of seeing Josephinecome in at the door--he never moved. Some one glided gently butrapidly up to him. He looked up. Josephine was kneeling to him.

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He lifted his head with a start, and trembled all over.She whispered, "I am come to you to beg your pity; to appeal to yourgenerosity; to ask a favor; I who deserve so little of you.""You have waited a long time," said Camille, agitated greatly; "andso have I.""Camille, you are torturing one who loved you once, and who has beenvery weak and faithless, but not so wicked as she appears.""How am I torturing you?""With remorse; do I not suffer enough? Would you make me amurderess?""Why have you never been near me?" retorted Camille. "I couldforgive your weakness, but not your heartlessness.""It is my duty. I have no right to seek your society. If youreally want mine, you have only to get well, and so join us down-stairs a week or two before you leave us.""How am I to get well? My heart is broken.""Camille, be a man. Do not fling away a soldier's life because afickle, worthless woman could not wait for you. Forgive me like aman, or else revenge yourself like a man. If you cannot forgive me,kill me. See, I kneel at your feet. I will not resist you. Killme.""I wish I could. Oh! if I could kill you with a look and myselfwith a wish! No man should ever take you from me, then. We wouldbe together in the grave at this hour. Do not tempt me, I say;" andhe cast a terrible look of love, and hatred, and despair upon her.Her purple eye never winced; it poured back tenderness and affectionin return. He saw and turned away with a groan, and held out hishand to her. She seized it and kissed it. "You are great, you aregenerous; you will not strike me as a woman strikes; you will notdie to drive me to despair.""I see," said he, more gently, "love is gone, but pity remains. Ithought that was gone, too.""Yes, Camille," said Josephine, in a whisper, "pity remains, andremorse and terror at what I have done to a man of whom I was neverworthy.""Well, madame, as you have come at last to me, and even do me thehonor to ask me a favor--I shall try--if only out of courtesy--to--ah, Josephine! Josephine! when did I ever refuse you anything?"At this Josephine sank into a chair, and burst out crying. Camille,at this, began to cry too; and the two poor things sat a long wayfrom one another, and sobbed bitterly.The man, weakened as he was, recovered his quiet despair first.

"Don't cry so," said he. "But tell me what is your will, and Ishall obey you as I used before any one came between us.""Then, live, Camille. I implore you to live.""Well, Josephine, since you care about it, I will try and live. Whydid not you come before and ask me? I thought I was in your way. Ithought you wanted me dead."Josephine cast a look of wonder and anguish on Camille, but she saidnothing. She rang the bell, and, on Jacintha coming up, despatchedher to Dr. Aubertin for the patient's medicine."Tell the doctor," said she, "Colonel Dujardin has let fall theglass." While Jacintha was gone, she scolded Camille gently. "Howcould you be so unkind to the poor doctor who loves you so? Onlythink: to throw away his medicines! Look at the ashes; they arewet. Camille, are you, too, becoming disingenuous?"Jacintha came in with the tonic in a glass, and retired with anobeisance. Josephine took it to Camille."Drink with me, then," said he, "or I will not touch it." Josephinetook the glass. "I drink to your health, Camille, and to yourglory; laurels to your brow, and some faithful woman to your heart,who will make you forget this folly: it is for her I am saving you."She put the glass with well-acted spirit to her lips; but in thevery action a spasm seized her throat and almost choked her; shelowered her head that he might not see her face, and tried again;but the tears burst from her eyes and ran into the liquid, and herlips trembled over the brim, and were paralyzed."No, no! give it me!" he cried; "there is a tear of yours in it."He drank off the bitter remedy now as if it had been nectar.

Josephine blushed."If you wanted me to live, why did you not come here before?""I did not think you would be so foolish, so wicked, so cruel as todo what you have been doing.""Come and shine upon me every day, and you shall have no fresh causeof complaint; things flourish in the sunshine that die in the dark:

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Rose, it is as if the sun had come into my prison; you are pale, butyou are beautiful as ever--more beautiful; what a sweet dress! soquiet, so modest, it sets off your beauty instead of vainly tryingto vie with it." With this he put out his hand and took her graysilk dress, and went to kiss it as a devotee kisses the altar steps.She snatched it away with a shudder.

"Yes, you are right," said she; "thank you for noticing my dress; itis a beautiful dress--ha! ha! A dress I take a pride in wearing,and always shall, I hope. I mean to be buried in it. Come, Rose.Thank you, Camille; you are very good, you have once more promisedme to live. Get well; come down-stairs; then you will see me everyday, you know--there is a temptation. Good-by, Camille!--are youcoming, Rose? What are you loitering for? God bless you, andcomfort you, and help you to forget what it is madness to remember!"With these wild words she literally fled; and in one moment the roomseemed to darken to Camille.Outside the door Josephine caught hold of Rose. "Have I committedmyself?""Over and over again. Do not look so terrified; I mean to me, butnot to him. How blind he is! and how much better you must know himthan I do to venture on such a transparent deceit. He believeswhatever you tell him. He is all ears and no eyes. Yes, love, Iwatched him keenly all the time. He really thinks it is pity andremorse, nothing more. My poor sister, you have a hard life tolead, a hard game to play; but so far you have succeeded; yet couldlook poor Raynal in the face if he came home to-day.""Then God be thanked!" cried Josephine. "I am as happy to-day as Ican ever hope to be. Now let us go through the farce of dressing--it is near dinner-time--and then the farce of talking, and, hardestof all, the farce of living."From that hour Camille began to get better very slowly, yetperceptibly.The doctor, afraid of being mistaken, said nothing for some days,but at last he announced the good news at the dinner-table. "He isto come down-stairs in three days," added the doctor.But I am sorry to say that as Camille's body strengthened some ofthe worst passions in our nature attacked him. Fierce gusts of hateand love combined overpowered this man's high sentiments of honorand justice, and made him clench his teeth, and vow never to leaveBeaurepaire without Josephine. She had been his four years beforeshe ever saw this interloper, and she should be his forever. Herlove would soon revive when they should meet every day, and shewould end by eloping with him.Then conscience pricked him, and reminded him how and why Raynal hadmarried her: for Rose had told him all. Should he undermine anabsent soldier, whose whole conduct in this had been so pure, sogenerous, so unselfish?

But this was not all. As I have already hinted, he was under agreat personal obligation to his quondam comrade Raynal. Wheneverthis was vividly present to his mind, a great terror fell on him,and he would cry out in anguish, "Oh! that some angel would come tome and tear me by force from this place!" And the next momentpassion swept over him like a flood, and carried away all hisvirtuous resolves. His soul was in deep waters; great waves droveit to and fro. Perilous condition, which seldom ends well. Camillewas a man of honor. In no other earthly circumstance could he havehesitated an instant between right and wrong. But such natures,proof against all other temptations, have often fallen, and willfall, where sin takes the angel form of her they love. Yet, of allmen, they should pray for help to stand; for when they fall theystill retain one thing that divides them from mean sinners.Remorse, the giant that rends the great hearts which mock at fear.

The day came in which the doctor had promised his patient he shouldcome down-stairs. First his comfortable sofa was taken down intothe saloon for his use: then the patient himself came down leaningon the doctor's arm, and his heart palpitating at the thought of themeeting. He came into the room; the baroness was alone. Shegreeted him kindly, and welcomed him. Rose came in soon after anddid the same. But no Josephine. Camille felt sick at heart. Atlast dinner was announced; "She will surely join us at dinner,"thought he. He cast his eyes anxiously on the table; the napkinswere laid for four only. The baroness carelessly explained this tohim as they sat down. "Madame Raynal dines in her own room. I amsorry to say she is indisposed."Camille muttered polite regrets: the rage of disappointment droveits fangs into him, and then came the heart-sickness of hopedeferred. The next day he saw her, but could not get a word withher alone. The baroness tortured him another way. She was full ofRaynal. She loved him. She called him her son; was never weary ofdescanting on his virtues to Camille. Not a day passed that she didnot pester Camille to make a calculation as to the probable periodof his return, and he was obliged to answer her. She related to himbefore Josephine and Rose, how this honest soldier had come to themlike a guardian angel and saved the whole family. In vain hemuttered that Rose had told him."Let me have the pleasure of telling it you my way," cried she, andtold it diffusely, and kept him writhing.

The next thing was, Josephine had received no letter from him thismonth; the first month he had missed. In vain did Rose representthat he was only a few days over his time. The baroness becameanxious, communicated her anxieties to Camille among the rest; and,by a torturing interrogatory, compelled him to explain to her beforeJosephine and them all, that ships do not always sail to a day, andare sometimes delayed. But oh! he winced at the man's name; andRose observed that he never mentioned it, nor acknowledged theexistence of such a person as Josephine's husband, except whenothers compelled him. Yet they were acquainted; and Rose sometimeswondered that he did not detract or sneer."I should," said she; "I feel I should.""He is too noble," said Josephine, "and too wise. For, if he did, Ishould respect him less, and my husband more than I do--ifpossible."Certainly Camille was not the sort of nature that detracts, but thereason he avoided Raynal's name was simply that his whole internalbattle was to forget such a man existed. From this dream he wasrudely awakened every hour since he joined the family, and the woundhis self-deceiving heart would fain have skinned over, was tornopen. But worse than this was the torture of being tantalized. Hewas in company with Josephine, but never alone. Even if she leftthe room for an instant, Rose accompanied her and returned with her.

Camille at last began to comprehend that Josephine had decided thereshould be no private interviews between her and him. Thus, not onlythe shadow of the absent Raynal stood between them, but her motherand sister in person, and worst of all, her own will. He called hera cold-blooded fiend in his rage. Then the thought of all hertenderness and goodness came to rebuke him. But even in rebuking itmaddened him. "Yes, it is her very nature to love; but since shecan make her heart turn whichever way her honor bids, she will loveher husband; she does not now; but sooner or later she will. Thenshe will have children--(he writhed with anguish and fury at thisthought)--loving ties between him and her. He has everything on hisside. I, nothing but memories she will efface from her heart. Willefface? She must have effaced them, or she could not have marriedhim." I know no more pitiable state of mind than to love and hatethe same creature. But when the two feelings are both intense, andmeet in an ardent bosom, such a man would do well to spend a day ortwo upon his knees, praying for grace divine. For he who with allhis soul loves and hates one woman is next door to a maniac, and isscarcely safe an hour together from suicide or even from homicide;this truth the newspapers tell us, by examples, every month; but arewonderfully little heeded, because newspapers do not, nor is ittheir business to, analyze and dwell upon the internal feelings ofthe despairing lover, whose mad and bloody act they record. Withsuch a tempest in his heart did Camille one day wander into thepark. And soon an irresistible attraction drew him to the side ofthe stream that flowed along one side of it. He eyed it gloomily,and wherever the stagnant water indicated a deeper pool than usualhe stopped, and looked, and thought, "How calm and peaceful youare!"He sat down at last by the water-side, his eyes bent on a calm,green pool.It looked very peaceful; and it could give peace. He thought, oh!what a blessing; to be quit of rage, jealousy, despair, and life,all in a minute!Yet that was a sordid death for a soldier to die, who had seen greatbattles. Could he not die more nobly than that? With this hesuddenly felt in his pocket; and there sure enough fate had placedhis pistols. He had put them into this coat; and he had not wornthis coat until to-day. He had armed himself unconsciously. "Ah!"said he; "it is to be; all these things are preordained." (Thisnotion of fate has strengthened many a fatal resolution.) Then hehad a cruel regret. To die without a word; a parting word. Then hethought to himself, it was best so; for perhaps he should have takenher with him.

"Sir! colonel!" uttered a solemn voice behind him.Absorbed and strung up to desperation as he was, this voice seemedunnaturally loud, and discordant with Camille's mood; a suddentrumpet from the world of small things.

It was Picard, the notary."Can you tell me where Madame Raynal is?""No. At the chateau, I suppose.""She is not there; I inquired of the servant. She was out. Youhave not seen her, colonel?""Not I; I never see her.""Then perhaps I had better go back to the chateau and wait for her:

stay, are you a friend of the family? Colonel, suppose I were totell you, and ask you to break it to Madame Raynal, or, betterstill, to the baroness, or Mademoiselle Rose.""Monsieur," said Camille coldly, "charge me with no messages, for Icannot deliver them. I AM GOING ANOTHER WAY.""In that case, I will go to the chateau once more; for what I haveto say must be heard."Picard returned to the chateau wondering at the colonel's strangemanner.Camille, for his part, wondered that any one could be so mad as totalk to him about trifles; to him, a man standing on the brink ofeternity. Poor soul, it was he who was mad and unlucky. He shouldhave heard what Picard had to say. The very gentleness andsolemnity of manner ought to have excited his curiosity.

He watched Picard's retiring form. When he was out of sight, thenhe turned round and resumed his thoughts as if Picard had been nomore than a fly that had buzzed and then gone."Yes, I should have taken her with me," he said. He sat gloomy anddogged like a dangerous maniac in his cell; never moved, scarcethought for more than half an hour; but his deadly purpose grew inhim. Suddenly he started. A lady was at the style, about a hundredyards distant. He trembled. It was Josephine.She came towards him slowly, her eyes bent on the ground in a deepreverie. She stopped about a stone's throw from him, and looked atthe river long and thoughtfully; then casting her eye around, shecaught sight of Camille. He watched her grimly. He saw her give alittle start, and half turn round; but if this was an impulse toretreat, it was instantly suppressed; for the next moment shepursued her way.Camille stood gloomy and bitter, awaiting her in silence. Heplanted himself in the middle of the path, and said not a word.

She looked him all over, and her color came and went."Out so far as this," she said kindly; "and without your cap."He put his hand to his head, and discovered that he was bareheaded.

"You will catch your death of cold. Come, let us go in and get yourcap."She made as if she would pass him. He planted himself right beforeher."No.""Camille!""Why do you shun me as if I was a viper?""I do not shun you. I but avoid conferences that can lead to nogood; it is my duty.""You are very wise; cold-hearted people can be wise.""Am I cold-hearted, Camille?""As marble."She looked him in the face; the water came into her eyes; afterawhile she whispered, sorrowfully, "Well, Camille, I am.""But with all your wisdom and all your coldness," he went on to say,"you have made a mistake; you have driven me to madness anddespair.""Heaven forbid!" said she.

"Your prayer comes too late; you have done it.""Camille, let me go to the oratory, and pray for you. You terrifyme.""It is no use. Heaven has no mercy for me. Take my advice; staywhere you are; don't hurry; for what remains of your life you gaveto pass with me, do you understand that?""Ah!" And she turned pale."Can you read my riddle?"She looked him in the face. "I can read your eyes, and I know youlove me. I think you mean to kill me. I have heard men kill thething they love.""Of course they do; sooner than another should have it, they killit--they kill it.""God has not made them patient like us women. Poor Camille!""Patience dies when hope dies. Come, Madame Raynal, say a prayer,for you are going to die.""God bless you, Camille!" said the poor girl, putting her handstogether in her last prayer. At this sweet touch of affection,Camille hung his head, and sobbed. Then suddenly lashing himselfinto fury, he cried,--"You are my betrothed! you talk of duty; but you forget your duty tome. Are you not my betrothed this four years? Answer me that.""Yes, Camille, I was.""Did I not suffer death a hundred times for you, to keep faith withyou, you cold-blooded traitress with an angel's face?""Ah, Camille! can you speak so bitterly to me? Have I denied yourright to kill me? You shall never dishonor me, but you shall killme, if it is your pleasure. I do not resist. Why, then, speak tome like that; must the last words I hear from your mouth be words ofanger, cruel Camille?""I was wrong. But it is so hard to kill her I love in cold blood.

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Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster