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"You find me in a state of disturbance," said she, with a slight degree of embarrassment, "it seems that we are going to have war and that our troops have entered Italy. Have you any news of Claudet?" Julien started. This was the last remark he could have expected.

In the opposite angle of the chimney-place, a lad of twenty-four years, no other than Claudet, called by the friendly nickname of the grand chasserot, kept company with the notary, while he toyed, in an absent fashion, with the silky ears of a spaniel, whose fluffy little head lay in his lap. Behind him, Manette Sejournant stood putting away her shawl and prayerbook in a closet.

A few days afterward, during the unpleasant coolness of one of those mornings, white with dew, which are the peculiar privilege of the mountain-gorges in Langres, the bells of Vivey tolled for the dead, announcing the celebration of a mass in memory of Claudet. The grand chasserot having been a universal favorite with every one in the neighborhood, the church was crowded.

The pale, slight youth, buttoned up in a close-fitting, long frock-coat, which gave him the look of a priest, looked so unlike any of the Buxieres of the elder branch that it seemed quite excusable to hesitate about the relationship. Claudet maliciously took advantage of the fact, and began to interrogate his would-be deposer by pretending to doubt his identity.

He remembered then the promise he had made the young huntsman; and faithful to his word, although with rage and bitterness in his heart, he raised his hat, and with effort, waved it three times above his head. At this signal, the forerunner of good news, Claudet replied by a triumphant shout, and disappeared from the window.

He knew he had done nothing to provoke any coolness; on the contrary, he had set his wits to work to show his gratitude by all sorts of kindly offices. By dint of thinking the matter over, Claudet came to the conclusion that perhaps Julien was beginning to repent of his generosity, and that possibly this coolness was a roundabout way of manifesting his change of feeling.

"Good-morning, Claudet. I came to meet you because I wish to speak with you on matters of importance, and I preferred not to have the conversation take place in our house. Shall we walk as far as the Planche-au-Vacher?" He stopped short, astonished at the proposal and also at the sad and resolute attitude of his betrothed.

So you must not be offended if I do not behave exactly as others might, and rest assured that it will not prevent me from being a good wife to you, when we are married." "Well, now," thought Claudet, as he was returning despondently to Vivey: "I can't help thinking that a little caress now and then wouldn't hurt any one!"

When he once feels we are necessary to his comfort, and that some reliable person, like the curate, for example, were to whisper to him that you are the son of Claudet de Buxieres, he would have scruples, and at last, half on his own account, and half for the sake of religion, he would begin to treat you like a relative." "No;" said Claudet, firmly, "these tricky ways do not suit me.

He again beheld the silken treasure of her tresses, gliding playfully around her shoulders, the clear, honest look of her limpid eyes, the expressive smile of her enchanting lips, and with a sudden revulsion of feeling he reflected that perhaps before a month was over, all these charms would belong to Claudet.