List Of Contents | Contents of Marquise de Ganges, by Dumas, Pere
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was nine years old.  Such a proposal was a stroke of fortune for the
abbe de Ganges, and he did not dream of refusing it.

The abbe de Ganges was one of those men who have great mastery over
themselves: from the moment when he saw that his interest, nay, the
very safety of his life required it, he concealed with extreme care
whatever bad passions existed within him, and only allowed his good
qualities to appear.  He was a tutor who supervised the heart as
sharply as the mind, and succeeded in making of his pupil a prince so
accomplished in both respects, that the Count of Lippe, making use of
such wisdom and such knowledge, began to consult the tutor upon all
matters of State, so that in course of time the so-called
Lamartelliere, without holding any public office, had become the soul
of the little principality.

The countess had a young relation living with her, who though without
fortune was of a great family, and for whom the countess had a deep
affection; it did not escape her notice that her son's tutor had
inspired this poor young girl with warmer feelings than became her
high station, and that the false Lamartelliere, emboldened by his own
growing credit, had done all he could to arouse and keep up these
feelings.  The countess sent for her cousin, and having drawn from
her a confession of her love, said that she herself had indeed a
great regard for her son's governor, whom she and her husband
intended to reward with pensions and with posts for the services he
had rendered to their family and to the State, but that it was too
lofty an ambition for a man whose name was Lamartelliere, and who had
no relations nor family that could be owned, to aspire to the hand of
a girl who was related to a royal house; and that though she did not
require that the man who married her cousin should be a Bourbon, a
Montmorency, or a Rohan, she did at least desire that he should be
somebody, though it were but a gentleman of Gascony or Poitou.

The Countess of Lippe's young kinswoman went and repeated this
answer, word for word, to her lover, expecting him to be overwhelmed
by it; but, on the contrary, he replied that if his birth was the
only obstacle that opposed their union, there might be means to
remove it.  In fact, the abbe, having spent eight years at the
prince's court, amid the strongest testimonies of confidence and
esteem, thought himself sure enough of the prince's goodwill to
venture upon the avowal of his real name.

He therefore asked an audience of the countess, who immediately
granted it.  Bowing to her respectfully, he said, "Madame, I had
flattered myself that your Highness honoured me with your esteem, and
yet you now oppose my happiness: your Highness's relative is willing
to accept me as a husband, and the prince your son authorises my
wishes and pardons my boldness; what have I done to you, madame, that
you alone should be against me? and with what can you reproach me
during the eight years that I have had the honour of serving your

"I have nothing to reproach you with, monsieur," replied the
countess: "but I do not wish to incur reproach on my own part by
permitting such a marriage: I thought you too sensible and reasonable
a man to need reminding that, while you confined yourself to suitable
requests and moderate ambitions, you had reason to be pleased with
our gratitude.  Do you ask that your salary shall be doubled?  The
thing is easy.  Do you desire important posts?  They shall be given
you; but do not, sir, so far forget yourself as to aspire to an
alliance that you cannot flatter yourself with a hope of ever

"But, madame," returned the petitioner, "who told you that my birth
was so obscure as to debar me from all hope of obtaining your

"Why, you yourself, monsieur, I think," answered the countess in
astonishment; "or if you did not say so, your name said so for you."

"And if that name is not mine, madame?" said the abbe, growing
bolder; "if unfortunate, terrible, fatal circumstances have compelled
me to take that name in order to hide another that was too unhappily
famous, would your Highness then be so unjust as not to change your

"Monsieur," replied the countess, "you have said too much now not to
go on to the end.  Who are you?  Tell me.  And if, as you give me to
understand, you are of good birth, I swear to you that want of
fortune shall not stand in the way."

"Alas, madame," cried the abbe, throwing himself at her feet, "my
name, I am sure, is but too familiar to your Highness, and I would
willingly at this moment give half my blood that you had never heard
it uttered; but you have said it, madame, have gone too far to
recede.  Well, then, I am that unhappy abbe de Ganges whose crimes
are known and of whom I have more than once heard you speak."

"The abbe de Ganges!" cried the countess in horror,--"the abbe de
Ganges!  You are that execrable abbe de Ganges whose very name makes
one shudder?  And to you, to a man thus infamous, we have entrusted
the education of our only son?  Oh, I hope, for all our sakes,
monsieur, that you are speaking falsely; for if you were speaking the
truth I think I should have you arrested this very instant and taken
back to France to undergo your punishment.  The best thing you can
do, if what you have said to me is true, is instantly to leave not
only the castle, but the town and the principality; it will be
torment enough for the rest of my life whenever I think that I have
spent seven years under the same roof with you."

The abbe would have replied; but the countess raised her voice so
much, that the young prince, who had been won over to his tutor's
interests and who was listening at his mother's door, judged that his
protege's business was taking an unfavourable turn; and went in to
try and put things right.  He found his mother so much alarmed that
she drew him to her by an instinctive movement, as though to put
herself under his protection, and beg and pray as he might; he could
only obtain permission for his tutor to go away undisturbed to any
country of the world that he might prefer, but with an express
prohibition of ever again entering the presence of the Count or the
Countess of Lippe.

The abbe de Ganges withdrew to Amsterdam, where he became a teacher
of languages, and where his lady-love soon after came to him and
married him: his pupil, whom his parents could not induce, even when
they told him the real name of the false Lamartelliere, to share
their horror of him, gave him assistance as long as he needed it; and
this state of things continued until upon his wife attaining her
majority he entered into possession of some property that belonged to
her.  His regular conduct and his learning, which had been rendered
more solid by long and serious study, caused him to be admitted into
the Protestant consistory; there, after an exemplary life, he died,
and none but God ever knew whether it was one of hypocrisy or of

As for the Marquis de Ganges, who had been sentenced, as we have
seen, to banishment and the confiscation of his property, he was
conducted to the frontier of Savoy and there set at liberty.  After
having spent two or three years abroad, so that the terrible
catastrophe in which he had been concerned should have time to be
hushed up, he came back to France, and as nobody--Madame de Rossan
being now dead--was interested in prosecuting him, he returned to his
castle at Ganges, and remained there, pretty well hidden.  M. de
Baville, indeed, the Lieutenant of Languedoc, learned that the
marquis had broken from his exile; but he was told, at the same time,
that the marquis, as a zealous Catholic, was forcing his vassals to
attend mass, whatever their religion might be: this was the period in
which persons of the Reformed Church were being persecuted, and the
zeal of the marquis appeared to M. de Baville to compensate and more
than compensate for the peccadillo of which he had been accused;
consequently, instead of prosecuting him, he entered into secret
communication with him, reassuring him about his stay in France, and
urging on his religious zeal; and in this manner twelve years passed

During this time the marquise's young son, whom we saw at his
mother's deathbed, had reached the age of twenty, and being rich in
his father's possessions--which his uncle had restored to him--and
also by his mother's inheritance, which he had shared with his
sister, had married a girl of good family, named Mademoiselle de
Moissac, who was both rich and beautiful.  Being called to serve in
the royal army, the count brought his young wife to the castle of
Ganges, and, having fervently commended her to his father, left her
in his charge.

The Marquis de Ganges was forty-two veers old, and scarcely seemed
thirty; he was one of the handsomest men living; he fell in love with
his daughter-in-law and hoped to win her love, and in order to
promote this design, his first care was to separate from her, under
the excuse of religion, a maid who had been with her from childhood
and to whom she was greatly attached.

This measure, the cause of which the young marquise did not know,
distressed her extremely.  It was much against her will that she had
come to live at all in this old castle of Ganges, which had so
recently been the scene of the terrible story that we have just told.
She inhabited the suite of rooms in which the murder had been
committed; her bedchamber was the same which had belonged to the late
marquise; her bed was the same; the window by which she had fled was
before her eyes; and everything, down to the smallest article of
furniture, recalled to her the details of that savage tragedy.  But
even worse was her case when she found it no longer possible to doubt
her father-in-law's intentions; when she saw herself beloved by one
whose very name had again and again made her childhood turn pale with
terror, and when she was left alone at all hours of the day in the
sole company of the man whom public rumour still pursued as a
murderer.  Perhaps in any other place the poor lonely girl might have

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