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The Story Of A Dramatist

The Story Of A Dramatist image
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Ono colU rnorriing in February, 1810 a short, stout, commonplace looking man, about sixty years old, entered the garden of au inn situated in the Buburbs of Paris. Altnough thu ir was sharp and frosty, ho seated himself near ono of' tlio tables, placed out of doors, and taking off Lis hat, passed his hand over his long gray hair. Presently one ot' tho waiton cnmc up, and plaoed boforo liim a bottlc of wine. "Hot any to-day, thank you," said tho old man ; I teel fatigued, and will just rest a mouient." "Th bost way to rest, monsieur," repli il tho waiter, gaily, "is to drink a glas3 of good wine." He drew tho cork, and pourcd out somo of tho wino. Tho old man rose and walked away. Tho waiter was a young lud ; and it was with a ronfused and emUarrasseil air that he ran after the guest, and said : "Üir, thoro is credit tor you at tho Lion d'Or ; if you have forgotten your purse, that'g no reason you should lose your broakfast. To-morrovv, or whenever you like, you can ask lor your bill," Tho old man turned, looked at tho yonth, and a tuur sparkled in his eye. "Thou art right, Jean" ho replied : "poverty must not bo proud. 1 accept thy kindnesa as frankly as it is offered. Help thyself to a glass of wine ? "1 drink to your good healh, monsieur," said the waiter; and haring emptied his Ejlass, ho went and obtained somo spiced in at, bread, cheese, fruit, and everything necessary for a tempting and noutfshing repast; thon, with nativo poüteness, in ordor to lessen tho Bense of obligation to bis guest, ho said : "When next ono of your pieces is played, will yon give me a ticket:'" " Thou shalt havo two tliis very evenintr my good lad. I will get them from Brunet, and bring them back to thee." "The walk wonld be. to niueli for j-our strength, monsieur; some otherday, when you happen to pass that way, will do as well." "Thou shalt havo a ticket to-day, for they aro going to perforiu one of my . Destapoir de Jucrinsc, at the Theater des Varietés, and it may amuse thee." "Ah, thank you, monsieur. What laogbing I shall have !" "Yes, the poor old man, who but. for thy charity would not have had a morscl to eat to-duy, will tliis evening entertain a nunierousassembly. They will applaud his pleasantry, they will laogh at his wit, but nono of them will inquiro ubout his destiny." "But, monsieur, do not your pieces bring you money'r"' "Not now, my fiit-nd. I no longer off!r "jiy to tho managers : for, ulthough they take them, I peroeiye they only tako them from motives of compás ñon, and aa ;'. pretext for givingnm alms. The soji of Louis Quinze may have de goended to wtite in the oharacter of a buffoon, and as at it were, to set witdancing on the tight rope oí a euitdeoüle, bat he will not bocine a beggar, wen; he expiriiij.- oí' hunger. Yon look as if you think I had lost my senses ; but it is not so; Louis Dorvigny is the son of a kiag. My mother, the young ijrphan daugtei }f Count d'Arciiiüuboud, died in giying me birth. My fathei was Louis Quinze. During my youtk aud okildiiood an in■ protector watched over me, and provided auiply tot my support and eduoatioo. Suddenly the tostêring hand was withdrawn, and I was on the. wo-Ul to work onaided for my support. SO untü the mument when the powers of both body and mind failed Bie This is my history - a roval origin, sucreputation, alinost glory; aud ita end, a meitl owed to chairty. So he departed; but as ho stepped into the road he found himself ïntercepted by two or threo cavalry regiments returning to thi'ir banraoks after a review. The i)uni w:.s playiug a lively air, and in the mulst of his troops rode, in the place of honor, a General dreñed in a magnificent uniform, and mounted on a iplended Andalusian charger. Happeninu' as he passed to cast a glance ut i)orvigny, he uttered a loud exclamation of surprise, jumped offhis horse, taking his hand saluted hiui with great affeotion. "You do not know me ! Have twenty years oaused Monsieur Dorvigny to forget his idlo good-fur-nothing servaut boy 't" "Jean Dubois !" "Yes, Jean Dubois - Jocrisse, as you called him. You ought not to havo forgotten me, for I served as a iuodel of ono of your happiest dramatic creations." "What ! my poor boy - monsieur, I mean - you huve become a - General r" "Precisely. Whilo in your service I was a terrible destróyer of platos ; now, in the Emperor's, J porform the same office for his enemies. How glad I ara to havo met you ! I havo sought for you in every direotioD, but vainly." "I havo no longer an abode." "Then you must come and take up one with me - " "üo," he continued, addressing a soldier, "fetch me a carriage, and load my horse homo. Now, Monsieur Dorvigny, step in." "Do you remeinlier," said the latter, as they drove on, "tho day I lpft your servico, because, as you told mo youwere no longer rich onough to keep a servan t? 1 tried my fortuno in several situations but did not find a master as lenient as you; so as a last resource, I enlistcd in a regiment) and by dogrees and tho fortune of war, roso to the rank I now oocupy. Dorvigny was installed by the General in a pleasant apartinent next. his own, and for some time the old inun enjoyed all the comforts and luxuries of life. At length his friend received an order to set out for llusRia. Dnrlng the tírst threo mont.hs of the campaign, General Dnliois sent letters and remittances to his former master, but then they suddnnly ceased and one morning, trom the columns of a newspapor, Dorvigny leamed tliat his friend had fallen at Moscow. He w8 forced to leavo his pleasant lodgingp, and take rpfuge in an attio in an obscure part of Paris. Thero, after selling tho coat off his back, overwhelmed with ago and Ülness, he went to tho jroprietor of tho Theater des Varieties, whose fortune he had made, nnd beggcd tor a small weekly pittance. It was refused. A short time afterwards, Barba happened to heat that in a mean lodging in tho line Grenetat was lying, unolaimed and unknown, the corpse. of an old man. With a Bad p-csentiment he hastened thither. It was indeed Dorvigny dead from cold and Inniger, nnoared ioi-, alike in lifo and death.


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