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The Pearl Of Campan

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One fine morning in autumn, I was rambling through the secluded Valley of Campan, in the Pyrenees, nccompankd by the excellent cúrate of the district, with whoin n the course of my peregrinations I had becorue ftoquainted, and beneath whose bospitable rouf I had protnised to spend the uight. The scenery was wild and lovely beyond doscription ; and having csprtssed my admiration of it, I odded a wish to know something of the inhabitants. "They have hearts of gold and wille of ron," eaid my friend. "Alany a touching and noble instance of generosity aud self-dcnial have I met with amODgat them. And, for example, look at this man approacliing us." 11e was a fine looking fellow, of five or six and twenty, with a military air, and dreesed in uniform. The lowcr part of bis face was very handsomo, and his dark, senburnt complexion Buited wcll with the long mustaches. I eouH not see his eyes, for the visor of his cap was drawn down so as completely to shado them from the liglit. Having exchanged a cordial salutation with tho curato he passed on,followed by a huge white dog, with thiek fur and enormous pawi. The animal belonged to a breed peculiar to the Pyrenees, and remarkable for their sagacity and faithfulness. ''Now," said my conipauion, as soon as the soldier had passed out t hearing, "while we walk along, I vrill teil you a true story, of which you have just secu two of the principal charactera. 'Juan Trigoyen was boro in the heart of these mouutains, whore the peasant has his choice of follotving one of Iwo occupatious, - that of n shephcrd, or a hunter. Juan chose the latter, as his father had done bcfore hiin ; and a hazardous pursuit it s. Not merely has the mountain hunter to scale all but inaccessiblo precipiccs, and to brave the fury of fainished bears and wolves, but he is constantly exponed to be swept away by a torreut, or buricd beneath an avalanche. To this latter peril Juan's father had fallen a victim. Crushed beneath a mass of snow, he perished, leaviog his son no othar heritago than his dog, his gun, and his graudmolher Gertrude, an aged wornan, uuequal to tho task of supporting horself. Juan, at this time a fine lad of eighteen, loved his grandmother tenderly ; she had always supplied to him tho placo of his mother, who liad died in givinghim birth, and he now, with a courage and resolution beyond bis years, undertook the solé charge of their maintenance. Ho had been early trained to tho chase, and success now crowned hisefforts. The ber of izards, eagles and bcars struck down by his hand, testificd the eureness of hisfootand the certainty of his aim "Thanks to tho value of those spoils, Gertrude knew no privation ; but eho tremblfld for tho safety of her beloved child, and often eaid to him witb tcars ia her eye9, 'Stay at home to-day, Juan ; you wili perish some time or otbcr, liko your poor father ; aad what should I do left alone, without any one to love in the world ?' "ïhcn tho lad would answcr : 'Calm yourself, motuer, Providence will watoh over me for your sake.' "Thus did Juau work hard during the week for his own and bis pareut's sup port, and on Sunday I loved to sec them entering my little chureb, Gertrude lcaning on the arm of her handsomo boy, and botb joining in the pmyerss with the utmost devotion. "Two years paesed oo, and Juan was returning otie d;iy from Biigneres, wbither Ijc had oone to dicpose of some L'nme. It was winter, and tho riorth wind blew picrcingly cold ; but tbc young luinter steppcd on briskly, whistling a lively tune. Suddenly a cry of distress struck bis ear, but be knew not wheuce itcaroo. " 'On, Cresar!' hc cried, trusting to bis dog's sagacity; 'seck it out, boy !' "The docile creature set off in the di rection of a tbick pine-grovc, and his inaster followed ; the cries beoamo louder, and Juan recognized ttie voiee of a female in distress. lio redoubl:d lus peed, 8ÜU preceded by the dog. At lengtb he reachod an open spacc, and there was Cajsar sttuggliug with a wolf, wliile on tlio ground lay a vom:in, with a huge Bhe-wolf in the act of fastening on her neck. With a shout Juan rush ed forwnrd, and at the sound the fioico crealurc raised her hcad, and fixea on hitn two cye halls glowing with rnge and hungcr. Without a moment' hesitation tho iutrcpid huiitcr ecii;od her )y tlio Uiroat wiih onc band, and thnuting tlio other into hor rnouth, graspod her tongue, and dragged it na with an ton vic!. Aftor a fearful strwggle, he bucceeded in dashing tho gtrangled benst ou tbc grouud. Tbis dono, Juan lookod round to fee if his faithful ally liad need of assistnuce. No ; his ajitagODÍet also fay dead, aud tlie hunter liad time to attend to the woman, ho lay motionles on the ground, haring fainted from excess of terror. 11er delivercr raised ber gently iu his nrins, put back the ricli browu huir that had fallen over bor face, and perecived that sho was a young and very lovclv girl. Taking a hnndful of tbe snow wliich lay on tbo ground, he rubbed it on her temples, and then succeeded in putting some emull bits of ice ito her mouth. líy degrees nlio revived, ber eyehds uuclcscd, and abe drew a deep sigh. " 'Where am I V she murmured. M 'Safe witli a l'riend.' " 'it was yon, then, who saved itio ?' " 'Ratlier it was Provideucc, who was p'eased to employ niy band.' "She thaukcd him with a look far moro eloquent than words; aud then, with conliding siinplicity, as eho still felt wcak, asked him to let her lean on his arm as fur as her borne. 'I was going to tho towD,' shesaid, 'to sell eowe milk wbeo th ose dreadful wolves attacked me, upset my pitnber, and, but for your timely aid aud that of your pood dug, would surely havo devourud me.' "The conversation thus commencerl did not flag. Juan soon learued that Murguerite lived in the hamlet of Campan ; that sho was an crphun, and had no property save a small cottage, onu cow, and eorao hens. She managed to support herself with the profits of these animáis and of her spinning. Her perfect candor and her innocent beauty charmed the honest híart of Juan ; he thought that, wero he possessed of all the treasures iu the world, lm would Ikke to lay them at Manmerite's feet. - Ou ontering the village, the news of the adventure spread quiekly; and it was easy to see, by the coustqueut excitement how oiucli the young girl was beloved by her neighbors. lioih young and old rusht'd lorth to meet her; Juan was overwhclmed wilh thaokfl and pruises; nor was poor Ctcsar by any mcans for gotten. '"Adieu, Marguerite,' said Juan, when he bad accompauiod her to lier cottage door. 'May 1 sometiuies oome to eee yon ?' " 'To whom should in y door bo open, if not to my delirerer V' said the joung girl, inDOcently, at the same time exteoding her hand to Juan. lio pressed it to bia lips, aud basteued awaj. 'When he reaobed home, he found Gertrudo very uneasy at Lis prolonged absenee. ",üh, my cliild! slie cried, 'whero have you been, and what are those staius of blood upon your dress ?' "Juaa smilod. 'Doa't bo uneasy, motber; this blood is not iniue, but that of an enemy I killed.' Aud ho told her all that had oecurred, not conoftaling the feeling3 of ftdxmratinu UMl lovo which he feit for lier whom he had rcscued. '"Thank God, my cliild,' snid tbo old woman, 'that your choico has fallen on o worthy an object. I have often lienrd the beauty and virtuouá industry of Marguerite commeudüd. Sho is calied by her neighbors the l'earl of Campan.' "It uever oecurred to the alFecüonate grandmouier tnat me rair gin id ijuwjtion could possibly be insensible to the attractions of her boy ; and, indeed, the ovont proved that she was n;t far wroDg. Marguerite was of too innocent aod frank a nature fo plny the coquette wit'i him who had riskoii tiis lifc; for hers, and the preliminaries for their niarriago wero npeedily arranged. "On the morning preceding that on tthich their bans wero to be publishcd, tho sound of a drum was heard in the peaceful Valley of Campan ; and the prefect of the district proclaimed the drawing of öonaoripts for the army. - Poor Juau ! bis was araongst tlie first of the sejeoted names, and at the moment the shock nearly stunned him. Howevcr , hc had been taught not to shrink from bis duty, and having calmly made the needful preparations, he drew liis betrothcd asido, and said, 'Listen to me, Marguerite. You promised to be mine; I am going away for some years, perhaps forever; it is right that jou ehould be free, - I give you back your vow.' " 'And I,' eaid the girl, 'I will not take it back. Whether our next ing, Juan.will be liere or ia that better world to which, I trust, we are both looking, I will never marry auy one but you.' "The young mnn pressed lier hand in silenco. 'But my my mother !' ho eaid at longth, while two unwontcd tears rolled down bis cheek ; 'she is old, infirm, unableto woik for lier suppart ' ' 'Your motlier, Juan,' interrupted Marguerite, 'is ahe not henoefortb mine ? So long as God givcs me streDgtb to work, our mother shall not want a home ' "And so, with mutual blessinga and fond tears they parted. "C;usar followed tiis mastcr to the wars, and Gertrudo, on the day of Juan's departure, took up her abode in Marguerite's cottage. The old wouian uianaged the domestio affaire, while the yoang one carricd her milk, butter, cggs and j.oultry to markèt. In the eveniugs as thoy both sat nt their spinniugwheels, thiur eonversation naturally turncd on Juan : 'Wherc 8 ho now ? what is be doing whilo wo are ppcalïing of him ?' Sometimos their anxiety wsg assuagcd by the arrïval of a letter, ülkd with bopo and tcnderness ; butatlength one canio wbiob incrersed tbeir sorrow. It bore the stamp of Algeria. Juan anr.ounccd tbat bis regiment bad just landed in África, and was immediatcly to march on tbc town of aatchn, wbere a number of insurgent Arabs bad intrenched themselves, Some sharp figbting was expected, as the rebels wero known tobe desperate. Under tbis afflictiiig intelligenco, the two women found ouly consolation in religión, - in ccnnuittiiig tlicir dear ouc to the care of (Jod. Every day, on her way to tbo town, Margueri'.o was accustomed to pause for a few ïu'uiutes at the spot wbcre iie fust met hof botrolbed, and wbcre, duriog the biippy daya of their oourlsbip, lic bad raised a rustic soat ; sbe usèa to kneel besido tbat simple memento, nml pruy fervonlly, nor did ea ever aviso aud go on her way wiiboutfeeling s'rentbeued and cucourageü. "Every evening, on her return, her first quostion to üertrude was, 'lias Juan writtcn V Aud tbc old womau nould sileutly shako hor hcad with n despairing geature, which seemed to imply, 'Juau vvill never writo to us again !' "One day as Marguerito was roturning from Bagncrcs, she was overtaken by a violent thundor storm. Thero was üo place of refugo nearer than her own cottage ; and witb her garmenta dripping, aud her eyes nearly blinded by the driviog min, she hastencd towards it. - What did sho eee '! A blazing, liglit niiig-stricken pile, suirouuded by a torrificd crowd of villagers. " Motherl wied Marguerito, darting onwards, 'whero are you V "A cryofngony l'roiu withiu tho burning cottnge was the reply. " 'Muther, courage ! I'll savo, or die with you !' And before the astounded spectators could detain bcr, slio rushed Ihrough the llames. A uiiaute, wbich seeuied ao ago of agonizing swspeniie, elapsed, and Margucvito roappoiired, draggir.g forth her pious burelen, and inriniug with her own body a rampart against ihefhtnu-?. Scarcely had sho allowed the old woman to fall into some of the arms rcady to receivc her, when the heroic girl suuk down, herself, iuanimate. "When she opened her eyes," conüuuod the cúrate, "sho was in an apartmout in iuy house, whither I bad oaused her to be carried. Gertrudo and I had watchcd for three days and three uights by her bad, awaiting the moment of returniug cousoiousucss. Her first eecsatioü was that of torturing pain in her face. Sbe raised her hand to it, and fult that it was so enveloped in bandages as to leave ouly the muuth and cyes free. A ery cscnpod her lips. 'üb, I remember the storm, - tho flatnes ; I aui disfiirured for life, - is it not eo ?' "Gertnidc and I were silent. It was but too tiue ; the devouring element, leaving her body, protectcd by her wet ololhes, un'.ouched, had seized on her face. The beauty of featuro and delicacy of complexión, wbich had procured !'or her her graceful sobriquet, was totally destroyed. "Until tho bandnges were removed, whicb the surgeon did not as yet judge it prudent to do, he could not teil tho extent of the diïfigurenaent, but that i wouid bc very great was certain. Our silenco, and tho tears which wa couk not represa, icuaiuted the poor ehilt with her ruisfortune. She raited her eyes to heaven with a touohing express sion of resignation. 'It is Thy will, my God,' eba suid, 'but let not Juan see me thus.' "'Juan!' repcated Gertrude; 'we shall soon embrace him.' " 'Is he coming ?' "'In ten day.s,- see yourself.' Sbe handcd a letter to Marguerite, which the lattcr red with cagernsss. It was written by tlio hand of one of bis comrades, and informed them that Juan, wlio had recoived a íevore wound at the seige of Zaatcha, was now convalescent iu Uuspital; had oblained, as a reward for hig services, a cross of merit, bis discharge, and pension, and would bo with thom in tcu or twelve davs at the furthest. "Ilaving finished readiug tho letter, Marguerite feil into a profouud rêverie, from which neither Gei trude's fend caressos nor my attempts at consolation could arou8e her. 'Oh, sir,' said she, at last, 'it ia not, indeed it is not for bis own sake that I value beauty, but how can Juan lovo rae when ho sees me in this state?' At that momcut the surgcon entered, and Imving tolt his patient's pulse, he began eilently to remove the baniLiges. As soon as Marínente feit that her wounds were exposed, she iskcd for a miiror. " 'Not yet my child ; not to day,' said the doctor. She tried to raise her hand to feel hor face. 'Ilold her arms down,' cried tho surgeon to the old woman and myself. We did so, involuntarily turning away oureyes from the sight of those Bwolleu and mulilated features, once so lovcly. "Nine day3 pnssed on; the wonnds were regularly drossed, and were now nearly eicatrized. The tenth day waa that of Juau'sospected return ; but no one venturcd to speak of it. Early iu the inorning, Marguerite rose, and prepared to go out, sayiug that a walk in the fresb air would do her good. I offered to accompany hor. ":No, thauk you sir,' sho aid ; 'my good inother alone will come with me' And vvith one hand slightly leaning on Gertrude's arm, while tbe other held a sniall paoknge, she went out. They walked towards Juon's rustic eeat, but very slowly, for the coovalescont was yet very weak. "Arrived Ihcro she knelt down, and, ufter a short, silent prayer, she turned to Gertlude, and embracing her, faid, - 'liless your daughter, dear niother, for tbe last time: you will uever eco her agaiu.' " 'What do you meau, my child V 11 'Tbe truth. I am goini away. You will say good by for mo to hun niother ; and teil bim that it is ra y very lovo for hun that forces me to fty ' "'Butdoar one,' said Gertrudo, detaining her, 'you wrong our Juan ; he has a noble heart, and he will love you all the bettcr for these noble scars, when he hears tbat it was iu saving mo from a dreadful death you received them.' " 'He has a noble heart,' replied the girl ; 'uncí 1 know tUat De wouia marry me, and try to mnke mo happy ; but how could I endure his avortcd iooks, - his sorrow ! No, no ; I shall Buffer much l3ss in euffering aloDe.' "Just thcn a well-known bark was lieard, and [a largo whito dog rushed out of the woody path. 'Cccsar !' cricd Gertrudo. 'Whcro ie your mastor ?' " ' llore he is,' replied an agitated voico ; and holding ono oud of a cord, of which the other was fasteued to Ctsar's collar, a soldier appeared. 'Mother ! are you hore ? Wherc is Marguerite 'i Why don't you come nnd embraco jour poor blind wanderer 'r' " 'Blind ! exclaimed Marguerite ; and &xine hor eyns on her betrothed, nlie savv tha't his w'ero oovered with a band.10. 1 canuot describe the emotioos of all tbrce; suilico it to say, ihat aftor an incrtJiblo number of embraces, Gertrudc i and her two ehildrcn rcturned to my bOttM] and wü piïsscd a delightful evouing." llerc the cúrate stoppcd, and I thought his talo was eudfcd. "Wcll," I sakl, "I suppose tba blind warrjor aud his betrothed, - etill, iu his magiuatioD, blooming in all her youth'ul cliarms, - were spcetlily unitod '.'" "They were," he replied. "It was I who married theiu ; but I have somewhat moro to toll you of them. Thuir cottage, by tbc willing aid of the villaers, was soon rebuilt, aud they removed nio it. Their circumstanccs were vcry ■omfortable, and Juan smpportod his inirmity. - caused, ho told me, by the exlosiou of a mine, - witb the utmost ibeerfulness. Ilis tcndernees for his vifo aeemed to i D orease evury day ; and yot elio was evidently not happy. She jooiime a prey to constant mehmcholy, and her hcalth and strengtb visibly deolined. Her old friend, the doctor, visited and prescribed for her, but without avail. " 'My art is at fault,' lic said to me. [Ier body suffers, but the seat of the disease is her mind. ])o you try to discover what the secret is which wcighs on her, may bo, or I canoot answer fur her life.' "Alos ! how could I apply the consoation of religión to a case of which tho sutïerer persisted in keeping me profoundiy inorant ? Once sho seeined on tbe point of openiog her niiud, but J uan entered tho room, and sho was sileut; nor could I ever afterwaids induce her to speak ficcly. Mt-autime her bodily condition becaino very preearious; and Juan, who was now awaroof her danger, scarcèly ever stirred from her s:de. O'd Gertrude, as you may supposo, was scarouly less anxious about her, "One evening, wheo I was in the cot tage, the doctor arrived ; and having ex amined his patiënt, prououuccd that unless BOiuc powerful reaotion took pláoa she could not long survive. How solemi were tho moinents that succecded this announcement ! loor Juan grnspeu convulsiiely the hand of his wifV, while lar"e tcars streamod froiQ beneath bis bandago. "I began to exliort her on the subject of religión ; and when I spoke of the mercof her Msker, she exelaimed, - .'O ti, I huve great need of mercy, for my eonscience is burdened with a heavy load. Listen,' she contimied, addressing U3 al), 'and teil me whethor I can hope for forgiveness.' "Grouped around her bed, we waltod in stlont astouishineut. Marguerite had raised herself iuto a sitting posture ; her wasted aria3, her disordered hair, her Hinken features, her hollow oyes, gleaming with a light liko that of a lamp kindlii"g up befora it is extinguished forsver, leut an air ol'iudesoribablö soleainity to the scène. Placing her hand in hor husband's, sho eaid,- 'Juan, youremembor, when we separatcd, tho promise which wc made of mutual fidelity ? iMy heárt was yours, and yours was mine. Well, the terror of losing that bekrfc caused rao to coramit a grievous sin. I pictured you to myself with shocked, averted looks, at the first sight of her who was onco namcd tUc Pearl ; and in the agony, tho delirium of the moment, I cricd to Ileavcn : "Oh, God! eilher give me back my beauty, or take from him kis eyesight!" The momor.t the Bclfish impioua prayer was uttered, I bitterly repented, and would fain have nover known sincc one nioment's bappiness.' " What !' cried her husband, 'and is tliis tbc secret, Margueritc, which ïskilling you ?' ' 'It is.' " 'Then live, denrest, and be happy ; your prnyer was oí answered.' "And teariog oiï'the bandago .which covercd is eyee, hc foll on Lis wife's bosoni, and clasped her iu a long em brace. "It nppeared that tbe blindnoss which had fallen on Juan was of only a temporary nature. Under tbe skilful treatment ofourfriend tbe surgeon, wbcm he privatcly oonsulted, the power of visión began slowly, but surely, to return, llavin", bowever, heard from bis grandmotber tbe whole history of Margucritc's horror at the idoa of his bebolding her disiigured face, bo generously detormiued to coDceal from her bis cure, at least ioratiuie. Now, bowever, it was suddenly revealed; and was it too late ? Tho doctor, motioDÍDg us all away from tbe bed, took bis patient's band, and feit her pulse ; a bopeful suiilo played on his beuevolcnt lipa 11 'My friend,' said he, turning to me, 'tho age of niiracles lias not ceaseu, - Marguerite is cured ' " Here the good man ceased, and, after a pause, I askoi,- "And was Marguerite in reality so very niuch disfigurecl ?" "You ehall judgo tbr yourself." We walked on and soon veached a neat and pretty cottage, oovercd in front witb a luxuriaut vine. An old woinan sat peur llio doorway spinning, and placed on a low chair by ber Bido, a young woman was nursing an iufant. Her figure was remarkably gracuful, and ber face, allbougb ccrtaiuly not handsome, was by no meaus repulsivo It was evan easy to distinguían, ainid the 80fyns and scars wbicli marked it, tbo vestiges of great beauty. There was a touehing expression of serene tendernesssbed over her leoturen, us she lqoked on ber cbild, vvbicb iu uiy evos amply competiKated for the waut of regular eoiueliness. The cúrate advanccd. "Good-morning, Marguerite," be said. "Good-mormng, sir, sho answerca, looking up witli a. beaming smile. "Ilow is baby to-day ?" "As well as possible," said the happy motlier, holding up and thorciug her nursling's rosy, diinpled cheeks. "Well, Margderifé," said the goodold man, taking th o innocent little creaiure in liis arras, and kissing its tender foreliead, "I could fanoy this is os 1 remerabcr you ou the day that I baptizod you. Come, the Vallcy of Cáthpañ lias not lost its Pearl,-it is reptored iu the person ot your lovely little daughter,"


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