When Valmond Came to Pontiac, Volume 3.

When Valmond Came to Pontiac, Volume 3.


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The Project Gutenberg EBook Valmond Came to Pontiac, v3, by G. Parker #31 in our series by Gilbert ParkerCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: When Valmond Came to Pontiac, Volume 3.Author: Gilbert ParkerRelease Date: August, 2004 [EBook #6204] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on September 23, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK VALMOND TO PONTIAC, V3, BY PARKER ***This eBook was produced by David Widger [NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample the author'sideas ...



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The Project Gutenberg EBook Valmond Came toPontiac, v3, by G. Parker #31 in our series byGilbert ParkerCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers*****Title: When Valmond Came to Pontiac, Volume 3.
Author: Gilbert ParkerRelease Date: August, 2004 [EBook #6204] [Yes,we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on September 23, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERGEBOOK VALMOND TO PONTIAC, V3, BYPARKER ***This eBook was produced by David Widger<widger@cecomet.net>[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, orpointers, at the end of the file for those who maywish to sample the author's ideas before makingan entire meal of them. D.W.]
WHEN VALMONDCAME TO PONTIACThe Story of a Lost NapoleonBy Gilbert ParkerVolume 3.CHAPTER XIIIThe sickness had come like a whirlwind: when itpassed, what would be left? The fight went on inthe quiet hills—a man of no great stature orstrength, against a monster who racked him in afierce embrace. A thousand scenes flashedthrough Valmond's brain, before his eyes, while thegreat wheel of torture went round, and he wasbroken, broken-mended and broken again, upon it.Spinning—he was for ever spinning, like a tirelessmoth through a fiery air; and the world went roaringpast. In vain he cried to the wheelman to stop thewheel: there was no answer. Would those starsnever cease blinking in and out, or the wind stopwhipping the swift clouds past? So he went on,endless years, driving through space, some terribleintangible weight dragging at his heart, and all hisbody panting as it spun.
Grotesque faces came and went, and bright-eyedwomen floated by, laughing at him, beckoning tohim; but he could not come, because of thisendless going. He heard them singing, he felt thedivine notes in his battered soul; he tried to weepfor the hopeless joy of it; but the tears came nohigher than his throat. Why did they mock him so?At last, all the figures merged into one, and shehad the face—ah, he had seen it centuries ago!—of Madame Chalice. Strange that she was soyoung still, and that was so long past—when hestood on a mountain, and, clambering a high wallof rock, looked over into a happy No-man's Land.Why did the face elude him so, flashing in and outof the vapours? Why was its look sorrowful anddistant? And yet there was that perfect smile, thatadorable aspect of the brow, that light in the deepeyes. He tried to stop the eternal spinning, but itwent remorselessly on; and presently the face wasgone; but not till it had given him ease of his pain.Then came fighting, fighting, nothing but fighting—endless charges of cavalry, continuous wheelingsand advancings and retreatings, and the mad dinof drums; afterwards, in a swift quiet, the deep,even thud of the horses' hoofs striking the ground.Flags and banners flaunted gaily by. How thehelmets flashed, and the foam flew from the bits!But those flocks of blackbirds flying over the headsof the misty horsemen—they made him shiver.Battle, battle, battle, and death, and being born—he felt it all.
All at once there came a wide peace and clearing,and the everlasting jar and movement ceased.Then a great pause, and light streamed round him,comforting him.It seemed to him that he was lying helpless and stillby falling water in a valley. The water soothed him,and he fell asleep. After a long time he waked, anddimly knew that a face, good to look at, wasbending over him. In a vague, far-off way he sawthat it was Elise Malboir; but even as he saw, hiseyes closed, the world dropped away, and he sankto sleep again.It was no vision or delirium; for Elise had come.She had knelt beside his bed, and given him drink,and smoothed his pillow; and once, when no onewas in the tent, she stooped and kissed his hotdark lips, and whispered words that were not forhis ears to hear, nor to be heard by any one of thisworld. The good Cure found her there. He had notheart to bid her go home, and he made it clear tothe villagers that he approved of her greatkindness. But he bade her mother also come, andshe stayed in a tent near by.Lagroin and two hundred men held theencampment, and every night the recruits arrivedfrom the village, drilled as before, and waited forthe fell disease to pass. No one knew its exactnature, but now and again, in long years, someone going to Dalgrothe Mountain was seized by it,and died, or was left stricken with a great loss ofthe senses, or the limbs. Yet once or twice, they
said, men had come up from it no worse at all.There was no known cure, and the Little Chemistcould only watch the swift progress of the fever,and use simple remedies to allay the suffering.Parpon knew that the disease had seized uponValmond the night of the burial of Gabriel. Heremembered now the sickly, pungent air thatfloated past, and how Valmond, weak from the lossof blood in the fight at the smithy, shuddered, anddrew his cloak about him. A few days would end it,for good or ill.Madame Chalice heard the news withconsternation, and pity would have sent her toValmond's bedside, but that she found Elise washis faithful nurse and servitor. This fixed in hermind the belief that if Valmond died, he wouldleave both misery and shame behind; if he lived,she should, in any case, see him no more. But shesent him wines and delicacies, and she alsodespatched a messenger to a city sixty milesaway, for the best physician. Then she sought theavocat, to discover whether he had any exactinformation as to Valmond's friends in Quebec, orin France. She had promised not to be his enemy,and she remembered with a sort of sorrow that shehad told him she meant to be his friend; but,having promised, she would help him in his sorestrait.She had heard of De la Riviere's visit to Valmond,and she intended sending for him, but delayed it.The avocat told her nothing: matters were inabeyance, and she abided the issue; meanwhile
getting news of the sick man twice a day. More,she used all her influence to keep up the feeling forhim in the country, to prevent flagging ofenthusiasm. This she did out of a large heart, anda kind of loyalty to her temperament and to his ownardour for his cause. Until he was proved thecomedian (in spite of the young Seigneur) shewould stand by him, so far as his public career wasconcerned. Misfortune could not make her turnfrom a man; it was then she gave him a helpinghand. What was between him and Elise was fortheir own souls and consciences.As she passed the little cottage in the field the thirdmorning of Valmond's illness, she saw the girlentering. Elise had come to get some necessariesfor Valmond and for her mother. She was pale; herface had gained a spirituality, a refinement, newand touching. Madame Chalice was tempted to goand speak to her, and started to do so, but turnedback."No, no, not until we know the worst of this illness—then!" she said to herself.But ten minutes later De la Riviere was not so kind.He had guessed a little at Elise's secret, and as hepassed the house on the way to visit MadameChalice, seeing the girl, he came to the door andsaid:"How goes it with the distinguished gentleman,Elise? I hear you are his slave."The girl turned a little pale. She was passing a hot
The girl turned a little pale. She was passing a hotiron over some coarse sheets, and, pausing, shelooked steadily at him and replied:"It is not far to Dalgrothe Mountain, monsieur.""The journey's too long for me; I haven't your hotyoung blood," he said suggestively."It was not so long a dozen years ago, monsieur."De la Riviere flushed to his hair. That memory wasa hateful chapter in his life—a boyish folly, whichinvolved the miller's wife. He had buried it, thevillage had forgotten it,—such of it as knew,—andthe remembrance of it stung him. He had,however, brought it on himself, and he must eatthe bitter fruit.The girl's eyes were cold and hard. She knew himto be Valmond's enemy, and she had no idea ofsparing him. She knew also that he had beencourteous enough to send a man each day toinquire after Valmond, but that was not to thepoint; he was torturing her, he had prophesied thedownfall of her "spurious Napoleon.""It will be too long a journey for you, and for all,, presently"he said."You mean that His Excellency will die?" sheasked, her heart beating so hard that it hurt her.Yet the flat-iron moved backwards and forwardsupon the sheets mechanically."Or fight a Government," he answered. "He hashad a good time, and good times can't last for
ever, can they, Elise? Have you ever thought ofthat?"She turned pale and swayed over the table. In aninstant he was beside her; for though he had beenirritable and ungenerous, he had at bottom a kindheart. Catching up a glass of water, he ran an armround her waist and held the cup to her lips."What's the matter, my girl?" he asked. "There, pullyourself together."She drew away from him, though grateful for hisnew attitude. She could not bear everything. Shefelt nervous and strangely weak."Won't you go, monsieur?" she said, and turned toher ironing again.He looked at her closely, and not unkindly. For amoment the thought possessed him that evil and illhad come to her. But he put it away from him, forthere was that in her eyes which gave his quicksuspicions the lie. He guessed now that the girlloved Valmond, and he left her with that thought.Going up the hill, deep in thought, he called at theManor, to find that Madame Chalice was absent,and would not be back till evening.When Elise was left alone, a weakness seized heragain, as it had done when De la Riviere waspresent. She had had no sleep in four days, and itwas wearing on her, she said to herself, refusing tobelieve that a sickness was coming. Leaving thekitchen, she went up to her bedroom. Opening the
window, she sat down on the side of the bed andlooked round. She figured Valmond in her mind ashe stood in this place and that, his voice, his wordsto her, the look in his face, the clasp of his hand.All at once she sprang up, fell on her knees beforethe little shrine of the Virgin, and burst into tears.Her rich hair, breaking loose, flowed round her-thepicture of a Magdalen; but it was, in truth, a puregirl with a true heart. At last she calmed herselfand began to pray:"Ah, dear Mother of God, thou who dost speak forthe sorrowful before thy Son and the Father, bemerciful to me and hear me. I am but a poor girl,and my life is no matter. But he is a great man,and he has work to do, and he is true and kind.Oh, pray for him, divine Mother, sweet Mary, thathe may be saved from death! If the cup must beemptied, may it be given to me to drink! Oh, seehow all the people come to him and love him! Forthe saving of Madelinette, oh, may his own life begiven him! He cannot pray for himself, but I prayfor him. Dear Mother of God, I love him, and Iwould lose my life for his sake. Sweet Mary,comfort thy child, and out of thy own sorrow begood to my sorrow. Hear me and pray for me,.divine Mary. Amen"Her whole nature had been emptied out, and therecame upon her a calm, a strange clearness ofbrain, exhausted in body as she was. For aninstant she stood thinking.