Mary's Convent, and was adding other instructions, when suddenly the pug- dog, who had growled savagely when the sisters took their seats in the coach, began to bark with fury. The cause of this anger was clear enough; Spoil-sport, until now unperceived, had with one bound entered the carriage. The pug, exasperated by this boldness, forgetting his ordinary prudence, and excited to the utmost by rage and ugliness of temper, sprang at his muzzle, and bit him so cruelly, that, in his turn, the brave Siberian dog, maddened by the pain, threw himself upon the teaser, seized him by the throat, and fairly strangled him with two grips of his powerful jaws- -as appeared by one stifled groan of the pug, previously half suffocated with fat. All this took place in less time than is occupied by the description. Rose and Blanche had hardly opportunity to exclaim twice: "Here, Spoil- sport! down!" "Oh, good gracious!" said Mrs. Grivois, turning round at the noise. "There again is that monster of a dog--he will certainly hurt my love. Send him away, young ladies--make him get down--it is impossible to take him with us." Ignorant of the degree of Spoil-sport's criminality, for his paltry foe was stretched lifeless under a seat, the young girls yet felt that it would be improper to take the dog with them, and they therefore said to him in an angry tone, at the same time slightly touching him with their feet: "Get down, Spoil-sport! go away!" The faithful animal hesitated at first to obey this order. Sad and supplicatingly looked he at the orphans, and with an air of mild reproach, as if blaming them for sending away their only defender. But, upon the stern repetition of the command, he got down from the coach, with his tail between his legs, feeling perhaps that he had been somewhat over-hasty with regard to the pug. Mrs. Grivois, who was in a great hurry to leave that quarter of the town, seated herself with precipitation in the carriage; the coachman closed the door, and mounted his box; and then the coach started at a rapid rate, whilst Mrs. Grivois prudently let down the blinds, for fear of meeting Dagobert by the way. Having taken these indispensable precautions, she was able to turn her attention to her pet, whom she loved with all that deep, exaggerated affection, which people of a bad disposition sometimes entertain for animals, as if then concentrated and lavished upon them all those feelings in which they are deficient with regard to their fellow- creatures. In a word. Mrs. Grivois vas passionately attached to this peevish, cowardly, spiteful dog, partly perhaps from a secret sympathy with his vices. This attachment had lasted for six years, and only seemed to increase as My Lord advanced in age. We have laid some stress on this apparently puerile detail, because the most trifling causes have often disastrous effects, and because we wish the reader to understand what must have been the despair, fury, and exasperation of this woman, when she discovered the death of her dog--a despair, a fury, and an exasperation, of which the orphans might yet feel the cruel consequences. The hackney-coach had proceeded rapidly for some seconds, when Mrs. Grivois, who was seated with her back to the horses, called My Lord. The dog had very good reasons for not replying. "Well, you sulky beauty!" said Mrs. Grivois, soothingly; "you have taken offence, have you? It was not my fault if that great ugly dog came into the coach, was it, young ladies? Come and kiss your mistress, and let us make peace, old obstinate!" The same obstinate silence continued on the part of the canine noble. Rose and Blanche began to look anxiously at each other, for they knew that Spoil-sport was somewhat rough in his ways, though they were far from suspecting what had really happened. But Mrs. Grivois, rather surprised than uneasy at her pug-log's insensibility to her affectionate appeals, and believing him to be sullenly crouching beneath the seat, stooped clown to take him up, and feeling one of his paws, drew it impatiently towards her whilst she said to him in a half-jesting, half- angry tone: "Come, naughty fellow! you will give a pretty notion of your temper to these young ladies." So saying, she took up the dog, much astonished at his unresisting torpor; but what was her fright, when, having placed him upon her lap, she saw that he was quite motionless. "An apoplexy!" cried she. "The dear creature ate too much--I was always afraid of it." Turning round hastily, she exclaimed: "Stop, coachman! stop!" without reflecting that the coachman could not hear her. Then raising the cur's head, still thinking that he was only in a fit, she perceived with horror the bloody holes imprinted by five or six sharp fangs, which left no doubt of the cause of his deplorable end. Her first impulse was one of grief and despair. "Dead!" she exclaimed; "dead! and already cold! Oh, goodness!" And this woman burst into tears. The tears of the wicked are ominous. For a bad man to weep, he must have suffered much; and, with him, the reaction of suffering, instead of softening the soul, inflames it to a dangerous anger. Thus, after yielding to that first painful emotion, the mistress of My Lord felt herself transported with rage and hate--yes, hate--violent hate for the young girls, who had been the involuntary cause of the dog's death. Her countenance so plainly betrayed her resentment, that Blanche and Rose were frightened at the expression of her face, which had now grown purple with fury, as with agitated voice and wrathful glance she exclaimed: "It was your dog that killed him!" "Oh, madame!" said Rose; "we had nothing to do with it." "It was your dog that bit Spoil-sport first," added Blanche, in a plaintive voice. The look of terror impressed on the features of the orphans recalled Mrs. Grivois to herself. She saw the fatal consequences that might arise from yielding imprudently to her anger. For the very sake of vengeance, she had to restrain herself, in order not to awaken suspicion in the minds of Marshal Simon's daughters. But not to appear to recover too soon from her first impression, she continued for some minutes to cast irritated glances at the young girls; then, little by little, her anger seemed to give way to violent grief; she covered her face with her hands, heaved a long sigh, and appeared to weep bitterly. "Poor lady!" whispered Rose to Blanche. "How she weeps!--No doubt, she loved her dog as much as we love Spoil-sport." "Alas! yes," replied Blanche. "We also wept when our old Jovial was killed." After a few minutes, Mrs. Grivois raised her head, dried her eyes definitively, and said in a gentle, and almost affectionate voice: "Forgive me, young ladies! I was unable to repress the first movement of irritation, or rather of deep sorrow--for I was tenderly attached to this poor dog he has never left me for six years." "We are very sorry for this misfortune, madame," resumed Rose; "and we regret it the more, that it seems to be irreparable." "I was just saying to my sister, that we can the better fancy your grief, as we have had to mourn the death of our old horse, that carried us all the way from Siberia." "Well, my dear young ladies, let us think no more about it. It was my fault; I should not have brought him with me; but he was always so miserable, whenever I left him. You will make allowance for my weakness. A good heart feels for animals as well as people; so I must trust to your sensibility to excuse my hastiness." "Do not think of it, madame; it is only your grief that afflicts us." "I shall get over it, my dear young ladies--I shall get over it. The joy of the meeting between you and your relation will help to console me. She will be so happy. You are so charming! and then the singular circumstance of your exact likeness to each other adds to the interest you inspire." "You are too kind to us, madame." "Oh, no--I am sure you resemble each other as much in disposition as in face." "That is quite natural, madame," said Rose, "for since our birth we have never left each other a minute, whether by night or day. It would be strange, if we were not like in character." "Really, my dear young ladies! you have never left each other a minute?" "Never, madame." The sisters joined hands with an expressive smile. "Then, how unhappy you would be, and how much to be pitied, if ever you were separated." "Oh, madame! it is impossible," said Blanche, smiling. "How impossible?" "Who would have the heart to separate us?" "No doubt, my dear young ladies, it would be very cruel." "Oh, madame," resumed Blanche, "even very wicked people would not think of separating us." "So much the better, my dear young ladies--pray, why?" "Because it would cause us too much grief." "Because it would kill us." "Poor little dears!" "Three months ago, we were shut up in prison. Well when the governor of the prison saw us, though he looked a very stern man, he could not help saying: "It would be killing these children to separate them;" and so we remained together, and were as happy as one can be in prison." "It shows your excellent heart, and also that of the persons who knew how to appreciate it." The carriage stopped, and they heard the coachman call out "Any one at the gate there?" "Oh! here we are at your relation's," said Mrs. Grivois. Two wings of a gate flew open, and the carriage rolled over the gravel of a court-yard. Mrs. Grivois having drawn up one of the blinds, they found themselves in a vast court, across the centre of which ran a high wall, with a kind of porch upon columns, under which was a little door. Behind this wall, they could see the upper part of a very large building in freestone. Compared with the house in the Rue Brise-Miche, this building appeared a palace; so Blanche said to Mrs. Grivois, with an expression of artless admiration: "Dear me, madame, what a fine residence!" "That is nothing," replied Madame Grivois; "wait till you see the interior, which is much finer." When the coachman opened the door of the carriage, what was the rage of Mrs. Grivois, and the surprise of the girls, to see Spoil-sport, who had been clever enough to follow the coach. Pricking up his ears, and wagging his tail, he seemed to have forgotten his late offences, and to expect to be praised for his intelligent fidelity. "What!" cried Mrs. Grivois, whose sorrows were renewed at the sight; "has that abominable dog followed the coach?" "A famous dog, mum," answered the coachman "he never once left the heels of my horses. He must have been trained to it. He's a powerful beast, and two men couldn't scare him. Look at the throat of him now!" The mistress of the deceased pug, enraged at the somewhat unseasonable praises bestowed upon the Siberian, said to the orphans, "I will announce your arrival, wait for me an instant in the coach." So saying, she went with a rapid step towards the porch, and rang the bell. A woman, clad in a monastic garb, appeared at the door, and bowed respectfully to Mrs. Grivois, who addressed her in these few words, "I have brought you the two young girls; the orders of Abbe d'Aigrigny and the princess are, that they be instantly separated, and kept apart in solitary cells--you understand, sister--and subjected to the rule for impenitents." "I will go and inform the superior, and it will be done," said the portress, with another bend. "Now, will you come, my dear young ladies?" resumed Mrs. Grivois, addressing the two girls, who had secretly bestowed a few caresses upon Spoil sport, so deeply were they touched by his instinctive attachment; "you will be introduced to your relation, and I will return and fetch you in half an hour. Coachman keep that dog back." Rose and Blanche, in getting out of the coach, were so much occupied with Spoil-sport, that they did not perceive the portress, who was half hidden behind the little door. Neither did they remark, that the person who was to introduce them was dressed as a nun, till, taking them by the hand, she had led them across the threshold, when the door was immediately closed behind them. As soon as Mrs. Grivois had seen the orphans safe into the convent, she told the coachman to leave the court-yard, and wait for her at the outer- gate. The coachman obeyed; but Spoil-sport, who had seen Rose and Blanche enter by the little door, ran to it, and remained there. Mrs. Grivois then called the porter of the main entrance, a tall, vigorous fellow and said to him: "Here are ten francs for you, Nicholas, if you will beat out the brains of that great dog, who is crouching under the porch." Nicholas shook his head, as he observed Spoil-sport's size and strength. "Devil take me, madame!" said he; "'tis not so easy to tackle a dog of that build." "I will give you twenty francs; only kill him before me." "One ought to have a gun, and I have only an iron hammer." "That will do; you can knock him down at a blow." "Well, madame--I will try--but I have my doubts." And Nicholas went to fetch his mallet. "Oh! if I had the strength!" said Mrs. Grivois. The porter returned with his weapon, and advanced slowly and treacherously towards Spoil-sport, who was still crouching beneath the porch. "Here, old fellow! here, my good dog!" said Nicholas striking his left hand on his thigh, and keeping his right behind him, with the crowbar grasped in it. Spoil-sport rose, examined Nicholas attentively, and no doubt perceiving by his manner that the porter meditated some evil design, bounded away from him, outflanked the enemy, saw clearly what was intended, and kept himself at a respectful distance. "He smells a rat," said Nicholas; "the rascal's on his guard. He will not let me come near him. It's no go." "You are an awkward fellow," said Mrs. Grivois in a passion, as she threw a five-franc piece to Nicholas: "at all events, drive him away." "That will be easier than to kill him, madame," said the porter. Indeed, finding himself pursued, and conscious probably that it would be useless to attempt an open resistance, Spoil-sport fled from the court-yard into the street; but once there, he felt himself, as it were, upon neutral ground, and notwithstanding all the threats of Nicholas, refused to withdraw an inch further than just sufficient to keep out of reach of the sledge-hammer. So that when Mrs. Grivois, pale with rage, again stepped into her hackney-coach, in which were My Lord's lifeless remains, she saw with the utmost vexation that Spoil-sport was lying at a few steps from the gate, which Nicholas had just closed, having given up the chase in despair. The Siberian dog, sure of finding his way back to the Rue Brise-Miche, had determined, with the sagacity peculiar to his race, to wait for the orphans on the spot where he then was. Thus were the two sisters confined in St. Mary's Convent, which, as we have already said, was next door to the lunatic asylum in which Adrienne de Cardoville was immured.
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