The grey cloak

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Grey Cloak, by Harold MacGrath, IllustratedbyThomasMitchellPeirce ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net Title:TheGreyCloak Author:HaroldMacGrath Illustrator:ThomasMitchellPeirce ReleaseDate:June11,2005[eBook#16041] Language:English Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE GREY CLOAK*** E-textpreparedbyAlHaines Frontispiece [Frontispiece] THEGREYCLOAK BY HAROLDMACGRATH AUTHOROF THEPUPPETCROWN THEILLUSTRATIONSBY THOMASMITCHELLPEIRCE GROSSETANDDUNLAP PUBLISHERS,NEWYORK 1903 MAY LIKESTEVENSON SHELOVESASTORYFORTHESTORY'SSAKE SOIDEDICATETHISBOOKTOHER WHOSEBEAUTYIADMIRE ANDWHOSEHEARTANDMINDILOVE MYCOUSIN LILLIANA BALDWIN CONTENTS Chapter I THEMANINTHECLOAK II THETOILETOFTHECHEVALIER III THEMUTILATEDHAND IV ANAENEASFORANACHATES V THEHORNOFPLENTY VI ANACHATESFORANAENEAS VII THEPHILOSOPHYOFPERIGNY VIII THELASTROUT IX THEFIFTYPISTOLES X THEMASQUERADINGLADIES XI THEJOURNEYTOQUEBEC XII ABALLADEOFDOUBLEREFRAIN XIII TENTHOUSANDLIVRES XIV BRETONFINDSAMARKER XV THESUPPER XVI THEPOETEXPLAINS XVII WHATTHESHIPBRINGS XVIII THEMASTEROFIRONIES XIX APAGEFROMMYTHOLOGY XX AWARRANTORACONTRACT XXI ANINGENIOUSIDEA XXII MADAMEFINDSADROLLBOOK XXIII AMARQUISDONSHISBALDRIC XXIV ADISSERTATIONONCHARITY XXV ORIOLESANDPREROGATIVES XXVI THESTORYOFHIAWATHA XXVII ONONDAGA XXVIII THEFLASHFROMTHEFLAME XXIX AJOURNEYINTOTHEHILLS XXX BROTHERJACQUES'ABSOLVOTE XXXI THEHUNTINGHUT XXXII AGALLANTPOET XXXIII HOWGABRIELLEDIANELOVED XXXIV ABSOLUTIONOFPERIGNY XXXV BROTHER! LISTOFILLUSTRATIONS Frontispiece Shepressedherhandsagainsthermadlybeatingheart TheVicomtebowedjestingly Shewasdreamingwithunclosedeyes NOTE The author has taken a few liberties with the lives of various historical personages who pass through these pages; but only for the story's sake He is also indebted to the Jesuit Relations, to Old Paris, by Lady Jackson, and to Clark'sHistoryofOnondaga,thelegendofHiawathabeingtakenfromthelast namedvolume THEGREYCLOAK CHAPTERI THEMANINTHECLOAK A man enveloped in a handsome grey cloak groped through a dark alley whichledintothefashionabledistrictoftheRuedeBéthisy Fromtimetotime he paused, with a hand to his ear, as if listening Satisfied that the alley was deserted save for his own presence, he would proceed, hugging the walls The cobbles were icy, and scarce a moment passed in which he did not have to struggle to maintain his balance The door of a low tavern opened suddenly, sending a golden shaft of light across the glistening pavement and casting a brilliantpatchontheoppositewall Withthelightcamesoundsoflaughterand quarrelingandringingglasses Themanlaidhishandonhissword,sworesoftly, and stepped back out of the blinding glare The flash of light revealed a mask which left visible only the lower half of his face Men wearing masks were frequently subjected to embarrassing questions; and this man was determined thatnooneshouldquestionhimto-night Hewaited,hidingintheshadow Halfadozenguardsmenandmusketeersreeledout Thehostreviledthemfor apackofrogues Theycursedhim,laughing,andwenton,tobeswallowedupin thedarknessbeyond Thetaverndoorclosed,andoncemorethealleywashued withmeltinggreysandpurples Themaninthecloakexaminedthestringsofhis mask,tiltedhishatstillfartherdownoverhiseyes,andtestedtheloosenessof hissword "Thedrunkenfools!"hemuttered,continuing "Wellforthemtheycamenot thisway." WhenheenteredtheRuedeBéthisy,hestopped,searchedupanddownthe thoroughfare Farawaytohisrighthesawwaveringtorches,butthesereceded and abruptly vanished round a corner of the Rue des Fossés St-Germain l'Auxerrois Hewasalone Ahundredyardstohisleft,ontheoppositesideofthe street,stoodagloomybutmagnificenthôtel,oneofthefewinthisquarterthat wassurroundedbyawalledcourt Thehôtelwasdark Sofarasthemaninthe grey cloak could see, not a light filled any window There were two gates Towardthesmallerofthetwothemancautiouslydirectedhissteps Hetriedthe latch Thegateopenednoiselessly,signifyingfrequentuse "Sofar,sogood!" Anindecisivemomentpassed,asthoughthemanwerenervinghimselfforan ordeal of courage and cunning With a gesture resigning himself to whatever might befall, he entered the court, careful to observe that the way out was no moreintricatethanthewayin "Nowfortheladder Ifthatismissing,it'shorseandawaytoSpain,orfeel the edge of Monsieur Caboche Will the lackey be true? False or true, I must trusthim BernouinwouldsellMazarinfortwentylouis,andthatiswhatIhave paid MonsieurleComte'slackey Itwillbeaclevertrick Mazarinwillpayas manyastenthousandlivresforthatpaper ThatfatfoolofaGaston,toconspire athisage!Bah;whatamuddledassIwas,infaith!I,tosignmynameinwriting toacabal!Onlythedevilknowswhatyonderoldfoolwilldowiththepaper Let him become frightened, let that painted play-woman coddle him; and it's the block for us all, all save Gaston and Condé and Beaufort Ah, Madame, Madame,loveliestinallFrance,'twasyourbeautifuleyes Forthejoyoflooking intothem,Ihavesoiledafreshquill,tumbledintoapit,playedthefool!Anda silvercrownagainstagoldenlouis,youknownothingaboutpoliticsorintrigue, nor that that old fool of a husband is making a decoy of your beauty But my head cleared this morning That paper must be mine First, because it is a guarantyformyhead,andsecond,becauseitislikelytofattenmypurse Itwill besimpletoerasemynameandsubstituteanother's Andthiscloak!Myfaith,it isastroke TothedevilwithGastonandCondéandBeaufort;theirambitionsare nothingtome,sincemyheadiseverything." Hetiptoedacrossthestoneflags "Faith, this is a delicate operation; and the paper may be hidden elsewhere intothebargain Weventure,weloseorwewin;onlythisissomewhatoutofmy lineofwork Self-preservationisnottheft;letuseaseourconsciencewiththis sophism … Ha! the ladder Those twenty louis were well spent This is droll, goodheart Anonlookerwouldswearthatthisisanassignation Ehwell,Romeo wasasicklylover,andloppedaboutlikearoseinawind-storm Mercutiowas theman!" He had gained the side of the hôtel From a window above came a faint "Truthisnotmockery." "Away,lyingJesuit!" The priest stooped "Look well into my face, Monsieur; look well Is there notsomethingtheretoawakenyourmemory?"BrotherJacquesbroughthisface withinaspanofthemarquis's "Look!" "Theeyes,theeyes!…Margot,ason?…Whatdoyouwant?"Themarquis moistenedhislips "TomakeyourlasthoursomethinglikethemanyIhavelived Whereisthe womanyouwrongedandcastaside,mymother?" Themarquis'sarmsgaveway "Ah,butIhavewaitedforthishour!"saidBrotherJacques Alltheyearsof sufferingreturned andspreadtheir venomthroughhisveins "Ihavestarved I havebegged Ihavebeenbeaten Ihavesleptinfieldsandhavebeenbittenby dogs I have seen you feasting at your table while I hungered outside I have watched your coach as it rolled through the château gates One day your postilion struck me with his whip because I did not get out of the way soon enough Ihavecreptintoshedsandsharedthestrawwithbeastswhichhadmore pitythanyou Ithoughtofyou,MonsieurleMarquis,youinyourchâteauwith plentytoeatanddrink,andafiretoastingyournobleshins HaveInotthought ofyou?" "I am an old man," said the marquis, bewildered This priest must be a nightmare,anotherofthosephantomswhichwerecrowdingaroundhisbed "How I longed for riches, luxury, content! For had I not your blood in my veinsandwerenotmydesiresnatural?IbecameapriestbecauseIcouldstarve nolongerwithoutdying Ihaveseenyourtruesonintheforests,havecalledhim brother,thoughhedidnotunderstand Youcursedhimandmadehimanoutcast, wilfully I was starving as a lad of two My mother, Margot Bourdaloue, went outinsearchofbread Ifollowed,butbecamelost Ineversawmymotheragain; Icannotevenrememberhowshelooked Icanonlyrecallthestarvedeyes And youcursedyouracknowledgedsonandappliedtohimtheepithetwhichIhave bornethesetwentyyears Unnaturalfather!" "Unnaturalson,"murmuredthemarquis "Ihavesuffered!"BrotherJacquesflunghisarmsabovehisheadasiftohurl the trembling curse "No; I shall not curse you You not believe in God Heavenandhellhavenomeaning." "Ilovedyourmother." "Love?Thatisasacredword,Monsieur;yousoilit Whatwasityousaidthat night at Rochelle? … That for every soul you have sent out of the world, you have brought another into it? Perhaps this fellow is my brother, and I know it not;thiswomanmysister,andIpassherby." "Iwouldhaveprovidedforyou." To Brother Jacques it seemed that his sword of wrath had been suddenly twistedfromhishand Thesweatstoodoutonhisforehead "Ifyouwereturnedawayfrommydoor,itwasnotmyhandthatopenedit." "Iaskedfornothingbutbread,"saidBrotherJacques,findinghisvoice "Thirtyyearsago…Ihaveforgotten Margotnevertoldme." "Itwaseasytoforget Ihaveneverknown,whatloveis…fromanother." "HaveI?"withself-inflictedirony "Isoughtit;yourepelledit." "Iknewnothowtokeepit,thatwasall IfIshouldsaytoyou,'Myson,Iam sorry I have lived evilly I have wronged you; forgive me; I am dying'!" The marquiswasbreathingwiththatrapiditywhichforetellsofcomingdissolution "Whatwouldyousay,Jesuit?" BrotherJacquesstoodpetrified "Thatsilenceisscarcelessthanacurse,"saidthemarquis StillBrotherJacques'stonguerefuseditsoffices "Ah,well,Ibroughtyouintotheworldcarelessly,youhavecursedmeoutof it Wearequits Begone!"Therewasdignityinhisgesturetowardthedoor BrotherJacquesdidnotstir "Begone,Isay,andletmedieinpeace." "Iwillgiveyouabsolution,father." Thefierce,burningeyesseemedtosearchintoBrotherJacques'ssoul There was on that proud face neither fear nor horror And this was the hour Brother Jacqueshadplannedandwaitedfor!Forthismomenthehaddonnedtherobes, isolatedhimself,takenvows,sufferedphysicaltortures!Hehadcometocurse: hewasofferingabsolution "Hypocrite,begone!"criedthemarquis,seizedwithvertigo Hetriedtostrike thebell,buttheeffortmerelysentitjanglingtothefloor "Begone!" "Monsieur!" "MustIcallforhelp?" Brother Jacques could stand no more He rushed madly toward the door, whichheopenedviolently SisterBeniestoodinthecorridor,transfixed "My son?" she faltered A pathetic little sob escaped her Her arms reached outfeebly;shefell BrotherJacquescaughther,butshewasdead Herhearthad broken WithacrysuchasDanteconceivedinhisdreamofhell,BrotherJacques fellbesideher,insensible Themarquisstaredatthetwoprostratefigures,fumblingwithhislips Thencamethesoundofhurryingfeet,andJehan,followedbytheChevalier, entered "Jehan, quick! My clothes; quick!" The marquis was throwing aside the coverlet "Father!"criedtheChevalier "Jehan, quick! My clothes; quick!" the marquis cried "My clothes, my clothes!Helpme!Imustdress!" With trembling hands Jehan did as his master bade him The Chevalier, appalled,glancedfirstathisfather,thenatBrotherJacquesandSisterBenie He leanedagainstthewall,dazed;understoodnothingofthisscene "Myshoes!Yes,yes!Mysword!"rambledthedyingman,inthelastfrenzy "PaulsaidIshoulddieinbed,alone No,no!…Now,standmeonmyfeet… thatisit!…Paul,itisyou?Helpme!Takemetoher!Margot,Margot?…There ismyheart,Jehan,theheartofthemarquis …Takemetoher?AndIthoughtI dreamed!Takemetoher!…Margot?"Hewasonhiskneesbesideher,kissing herhandsandshuddering,shuddering "Margot is dead, Monsieur," said the aged valet The tears rolled down his leatherycheeks "Margot!" murmured the Chevalier He had never heard this name before Whatdiditmean?"Father?"Hecameswiftlytowardthemarquis "Dead!" The marquis staggered to his feet without assistance He swung dizzilytowardthecandlesonthemantel Hestruckthem "Awaywiththelights, fools."Thecandlesrolledandsputteredenthefloor "Awaywiththem,Isay!" Toward the table he lurched, avoiding the Chevalier's arms From the table he dashedthecandles "Awaywiththelights!TheMarquisdePérignyshalldieas helived…inthedark!" He fell upon the bed, his face hidden in the pillows When the Chevalier reachedhissidehewasdead CHAPTERXXXV BROTHER! FortwoweeksBrotherJacqueslaysilentonhiscot;laywithanapathywhich alarmed the good brothers of the Order He spoke to no one, and no sound swerved his dull gaze from the whitewashed ceiling of his little room in the college Onlyonemancouldsolvethemysteryofthisapathy,thesecretofthis insensibility,andhislipsweresealedassecurelyasthedoorofadonjon-keep: Jehan NoteventheChevalier could gatherasinglerayoflightfromthegrim oldvalet Hewassilenceitself Two weeks, and then Brother Jacques rose, put on his gown and his rosary andhisshovel-shapedhat Thesettlers,soldiers,trappersandseigneurssawhim walkalone,dayafterday,alongthenarrowwindingstreets,hischininhiscollar, hisshouldersstooped,hishandsclaspedbehindhisback Itwasonlywhensome childaskedhimforablessingthatheraisedhiseyesandsmiled Sometimesthe snowbeatdownuponhimwithblindingforceandthenorthwindscutlikethe lash of the Flagellants He heeded not; winter set no chill upon his flesh One morningheresolvedtogoforthuponhisexpiation Hemadeuphispackquietly Drawnbyanirresistible,occultforce,hewanderedintotheroomofthechâteau wherethetragedyhadoccurred …Theletter!Hefeltinthepocketofhisgown He drew a stool to the window which gave upon the balcony overlooking the lowertownandtheriver,andsatdown "To Monsieur le Marquis de Périgny, to be delivered into his hands at my death." Heeyedtheaddress,undecided Hewasweighingtheadvisabilityofletting the Chevalier read it first And yet he had an equal right to the reading He sighed,drewforththecontentsandread…readwithshakinghands,readwith terror,amazement,exultation,beliefandunbelief Herosequickly;theroom,it was close; he breathed with difficulty And the marquis had requested that he readit!Irony!Hehadtakenitupinhishandstwice,andhadnotknown!Irony, irony, irony! He opened the window and stepped out upon the balcony Above theworld,halfhiddenunderthespotlessfleeceofwinter,awhitesunshoneina pallidsky Brother Jacques's skin was transparent, his hair was patched with grey, his eyeswerehollow,butatthismomenthismienwaslordly Hispacklayonthe floorbeyond,forgotten Withhisheadhigh,hisnostrilswide,hisarmspressing hissidesandhishandsclenched,helookedtowardFrance Thesmoke,curling upfromthechimneysbelow,hesawnot,northetree-dottedIsleofOrléans,nor therollingmainshoreopposite Hisgazeinfancyhadtraversedmorethanthree thousand miles He saw a grand château, terraced, with gardens, smooth driveways,fountainsandclassicmarbles,crispgreenhillsbehindallthese,anda streamofrunningwater Périgny Helookedagainandsawagreathôtel,surroundedbyahighwall,alongthe topofwhich,ranacheval-de-frise Insideallwasgloomyandsplendid,richand ancient Magnificent tapestries graced the walls, famous paintings, rare cutglass,chasedsilverandfiligreedgold,andpaintedporcelain Rochelle Again;andinhisdream-visionhesawmightypalacesandmanylights,the coming and going of great personages, soldiers famed in war, statesmen, beautifulwomenwithsatinandjewelsandhumideyes;greatfeasts,music,and theloveliestflowers Paris His!Allthesethingswerehis Itwasempire;itwaspower,content,riches His!Hadhenotstarved,begged,suffered?Thesewerehis,allhis,hisbyhuman lawanddivine Thatletter!Ithadlainunderthemarquis'seyesallthistime,and hehadnotknown Thatwaswell Butthatfateshouldsounceremoniouslythrust itintohishands!Ah,thatwasallverystrange,obscure Thewind,comingwith agust,stirredthebeadsofhisrosary;andheremembered Hecastaglanceathis pack Couldhecarryitagain?Hecaughtuphisrosary Shouldheputthisaside? Hewasyoung;therewerelongyearsbeforehim Hehadsufferedhalfthespan ofaman'slife;needhesufferlonger? Heopenedtheletterandreaditonceagain "To Monsieur le Marquis de Périgny: A necromancer in the Rue Dauphin tells me that I shall not outlive you, which is to be regretted Therefore, my honored Marquis, I leave you this peculiar legacy When you married the PrincessCharlotteitwasnotbecauseyoulovedher,butbecauseyouhatedme wholovedher YoulaughedwhenIsworetoyouthatsomedayIwouldhavemy revenge Shortlyafteryouweremarriedatrustedservantofmineleftmyhouse toservemeinyours Andheservedmewellindeed,aspresentlyyoushalllearn TwodaysbeforeMadameleMarquisegavebirthtoyoursonandheir,acertain handsomepeasantnamedMargotBourdalouealsoenteredintotheworldason ofyourswhichwasnotyourheir ThinkyouthatitisMadamelaMarquise'sson who ruffles it here in Paris under the name of the Chevalier du Cévennes? I leaveyoutoanswerthis question,tosolvethispuzzle,orbecomemadover it Recollect,IdonotsaythattheChevalierisnotthesonofMadamelaMarquise; Isay,thinkyouheis?Monsieur,believeme,youhavemyheartiestsympathyin yourtrouble LOUISDEBRISSAC." "DeBrissac?" Brother Jacques's brows met in the effort to recall the significance of this name Ah! the Grande Madame whom the Chevalier, his brother, loved: his brother His brother Brother Jacques had forgotten his brother He raised his eyestowardheaven,asiftomakeanappeal;buthisgazedroppedquicklyand roved Somehow,hecouldnotlooktoheaven;thesunwastoobright Hesaw the figures of a man and woman who were leaning against the parapet The man's arm was clasped around the woman's waist, their heads were close together,andtheyseemedtobelookingtowardthesouth,asindeedtheywere Lovers,musedBrotherJacques Whynothe,too?Hadnotthemarquissaidthat he was too handsome for a priest? Why should he not be a lover, likewise? A lover,indeed,whentheonewomanhelovedwasatthisveryhourprayinginthe ConventoftheUrsulines!Presentlythemanbelowturnedhishead Itwasthe Chevalier …Thistime,whenBrotherJacquesraisedhiseyestowardGod,his gazedidnotfalter Hehadcursedtheauthorofhisbeing,whichwasveryclose tocursinghisGod Therewasbeforehim,expiation Hesmiledwanly His brother Slowly he tore the letter in two, the halves into quarters, the quarters into infinitesimal squares He took a pinch of them and extended his arm,droppingtheparticlesofpaperuponthecurrentofthewind Theyrose,fell, eddied,swam,androseagain,finallytofallontheroofsbelow Againandagain herepeatedthisact,tillnotasinglesquareremainedinhishand Hisbrother He re-entered the room, shouldered his pack, and passed from the château The dreamofempirewasgone;thedayofexpiationwasbegun Laterhewasseen makinghiswaytowardtheparapet The Chevalier and madame continued to gaze toward the south, toward the sceneofthegreatcatastropheoftheirlives Theyhadbeentalkingitoveragain: thejourneythroughtheforest,theconflictatthehut,thedayinthehills "Peace,"saidmadame "Peaceandlove,"saidtheChevalier "Andthatpoorfatherofyours!Butyouforgavehim?" "Yes." "AndJehanwillnottellyouwhoSisterBeniewas?" "No AndheappearssoterrifiedwhenImentionthematterthatIshallmake nofurtherinquiries." "AndBrotherJacques?" "Faith, he puzzles me It was like enough the reaction You recall how infrequently he spoke during that journey, how little he ate or slept Ah well, there are no more puzzles, questions, problems or hardships Peace has come WeshallreturntoFranceinthespring." "Ifthoufaintinthedayofadversity,"shesaid,takinghishandandpressingit lovinglyagainsthercheek "Iloveyou." "Here comes Brother Jacques," he said "He is coming toward us Ah, he carriesapack." TheChevaliergreetedhimgravely,andmadamesmiled "Whitherbound?"askedtheChevalier Brother Jacques pointed toward the forest "Yonder, where the beast is and thesavage." "Now?" "Even to-day." Then Brother Jacques placed a hand on the Chevalier's shoulderandlookedlongandsteadilyintohiseyes "Farewell,mybrother,"he said;"farewell."Heturnedandleftthem TheChevaliertookmadame'shandandkissedit "How strangely," she said, following with her eyes the priest's diminishing figure;"howstrangelyhesaid'mybrother'!" 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Clark'sHistoryofOnondaga, the legendofHiawathabeingtakenfrom the last namedvolume THE GREY CLOAK CHAPTERI THE MANIN THE CLOAK A man enveloped in a handsome grey cloak groped through a dark... Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE GREY CLOAK* ** E-textpreparedbyAlHaines Frontispiece [Frontispiece] THE GREY CLOAK BY HAROLDMACGRATH AUTHOROF THE PUPPETCROWN THE ILLUSTRATIONSBY... Allthatcanbeaddedisthatheworea grey cloak. " "A grey cloak, didyousay?"Herhandflewtoherthroatandhereyesgrew wildagain "A grey cloak? " "YesMadame;a grey cloak withasquarevelvetcollar." "Ah!" said the captain,
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