Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: Frobisher and sons
 Chapter II: A stormy sky
 Chapter III: A hasty flight
 Chapter IV: A friend among...
 Chapter V: At the prison gate
 Chapter VI: After the storm
 Back Cover

Group Title: Victory series
Title: The story of a coral necklace
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00065483/00001
 Material Information
Title: The story of a coral necklace
Series Title: Victory series
Physical Description: 64 p. : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hardy, Robina F
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1889
Subject: Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Exiles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children and death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kindness -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cruelty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Loyalty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- France -- Revolution, 1789-1799   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1889   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1889
Genre: Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Robina F. Hardy ; with illustrations.
General Note: Added title page, engraved.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00065483
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002231174
notis - ALH1542
oclc - 06683784

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Half Title
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Table of Contents
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Chapter I: Frobisher and sons
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Chapter II: A stormy sky
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Chapter III: A hasty flight
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Chapter IV: A friend among foes
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Chapter V: At the prison gate
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Chapter VI: After the storm
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

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IT was one of the finest shops in London
-" Frobisher and Sons, Goldsmiths to the
Queen "-just at the south end of Regent
Street, and it was no uncommon sight to
see fine carriages and fine ladies alight
there. But on one particular day in early
spring an old family carriage blazoned with
a coronet drove up to the door, and Mr.
Frobisher himself hastened forward to
receive the orders of the Dowager-Coun-
tess of Ravenswood.
A pale, thin, elderly woman in wrappings


of velvet and ermine, her ladyship was
conducted to the farther end of the mag-
nificent showrooms, took a chair, and
began to give her orders.
She was attended on this occasion by a
prettily dressed young lady, who was evi-
dently the mother of the sweet little dark-
eyed girl led by her ladyship's own hand.
These two were French, as might easily
be known by their exquisite taste in dress
and their quick, lively manners. They
spoke English well, yet not without a dis-
tinctly foreign accent.
"Madame l'Estrange," said the countess,
"you must give me the benefit of your
counsel in this matter. I have to choose
a dessert service for my nephew's wedding
gift, and my old eyes are not to be alto-
gether relied on now-a-days."
Madame 1'Estrange smilingly assured
her that nothing could give her more
pleasure; and Mr. Frobisher and his as-
sistants busied themselves in displaying
the most tempting of their wares. Gold,



silver, and crystal, in matchless combina-
tions, glittered before them on the long
narrow tables covered with dark blue vel-
vet. It was no easy matter to choose where
every dessert service seemed to excel an-
other in graceful shape or skilful design.
While the two older heads were fully
occupied in this manner little mademoiselle
sat gazing about the shop from her high
cane chair. It was beautiful, she thought,
to watch all those great pieces of gold and
silver plate under their big glass shades
in almost countless multitude. And then
there were jewels of every colour glisten-
ing and glowing under the glass frames
just below the shelves.
"Louise," said her mother to her in
French,-" Louise, my child, you are
dreaming; a dream of fairyland too, I
daresay. Did you not hear Lady Ravens-
wood speaking to you ?"
The little girl jumped from her seat at
once and ran forward to the countess, say-
ing in very careful English,-



"Pardon me, dear godmother. I have
been so-so enchante'e with all around me
that I did not hear you speak."
She was a pretty child of seven or eight
years, with dark brown eyes and richly
curling hair of a still darker hue. Her
smile was very bright and winning, her
voice was sweet and musical.
The wedding gift had been chosen, and
some other orders of the countess had been
duly received by Mr. Frobisher; only one
trifling purchase remained to be executed.
"My little Louise," said the old lady
kindly, I want to give you a souvenir of
this visit to England--something that will
remind you of your old godmother when
you are far away from her. What shall it
be ?"
Louise's bright eyes flashed with plea-
sure at this announcement. She clasped
her hands, and looked round with rap-
ture at the glittering array-the crowded
shelves, the tall glass cabinets. But her
native politeness forced her to say,-



Page Iz.



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ii ;I




Ah, but I do not need any souvenir to
remind me of you, dear godmother. Be-
sides, I have so many already. I have still
the silver mug you gave me with my name
upon it, my beautiful doll's-house, and my
You are a little chatterbox," cried the
old lady, laughing as she interrupted this
catalogue. Mr. Frobisher is going to
show you some nice necklaces for little
girls like you, and you must choose a
pretty one to wear very often-as often
as you wish to think of England."
"Ah, that will be tous les jours!" cried
the child, with all her usual vivacity.
The new souvenir did not take very long
to choose. Mr. Frobisher handed to the
county a box full of beautiful coral neck-
laces, which she at once declared to be the
most suitable for her purpose.
The child is too young for jewels," she
said; coral is simple and childlike. By
all means let us have one of those.-Now,
Louise, there are more than a dozen in



this box, all different colours or shades.
You shall choose which you will."
Louise's choice being thus narrowed, she
confined her attention solely to the box,
pondering over each necklace in turn.
There were corals of delicate rose-pink, of
tawny gold, and of clear pearly white, and
one only of bright scarlet, and at last the
little lady set her tiny fingers on that and
"This one !"
Louise was in ecstasy when Mr. Fro-
bisher handed her the necklace, laid care-
fully in dainty white wool and tissue paper,
and in a pretty little case of red morocco
leather. There were six strings of the
coral beads, fastened by a handsome gold
Mr. Frobisher having escorted his cus-
tomers to the door with all due respect,
watched the carriage as it rolled away
towards the park, and congratulated him-
self on having made rather a good sale in
respect to the gold and silver dessert ser-



vice. He hardly cast a thought on the
little necklace perhaps, and yet it was to
have its share in more exciting dramas
than any likely to be enacted round the
great dinner-table in Hawkshaw Hall,
which was the ancestral residence of Lady
Ravenswood's nephew.





IN the great cathedral of Notre Dame in
Paris a grand and interesting ceremony of
the Romish Church was taking place. It
was what is known as la premiere com-
munion, and about two thousand boys
and girls occupied the central portion of
the nave, while bishop and priests in
gorgeous vestments, attended by a long
retinue of white-robed acolytes, filled
chancel and choir, the rest of the vast
building being thronged with parents,
guardians, friends, and strangers. In front
were ranged the girls, all dressed in pure
white from head to foot, and crowned with
wreaths and veils like mimic brides. Be-
hind them were placed the boys in more




ordinary dress, but with a white scarf
heavily fringed at each end, sometimes
with silver, bound round the left arm.
All bent their heads devoutly as the ser-
vice went on, and each group was kept
watch over by its own particular pastor.
A few here and there might be more
occupied by the novelty of the scene or
by the gay dresses and splendour around
them, but generally speaking there was
every appearance of devotion and rever-
ence in the young worshippers. Many of
the bright faces bent over the white-bound
prayer-book or silver rosary were sweet
and thoughtful at that moment; and the
muttered prayers from many of the older
spectators proved how much sympathy
and parental love went with their children
in this their first communion.
Among the girls knelt Louise l'Estrange,
a tall blooming girl now of fifteen, while
her only brother Maurice had his place
among the boys. Maurice was scarcely
twelve. His sister's appearance at this



ceremony had been delayed, and his own
had been hastened as much as possible, in
order that they might share it together.
Madame l'Estrange and her husband, a
tall, military-looking man, were in one of
the transepts watching with eager eyes
and throbbing hearts this new step in
their children's lives. Time had dealt
gently with Madame l'Estrange. She was
still a handsome, pretty woman, and in
the flush of the present excitement looked
almost as young as she had done that day
seven or eight years ago in Mr. Fro-
bisher's shop.
Louise had worn the coral necklace
many and many a day, but on this occa-
sion everything she wore was of spotless
white, and she had no ornament except
her rosary, which was a string of pearls
securing a little silver crucifix. There was
a grave, earnest expression on her face,
which otherwise still resembled the bright,
sunny countenance of the little girl in
Frobisher's shop so many years ago.



The solemn ceremony was over, and the
long rows of children slowly trooped from
the great cathedral back to their homes,
giving the streets a gay and festive ap-
pearance as they wended their several
ways. For many of them handsome car-
riages were in waiting, but the greater
number were led in a sort of triumph by
their parents, visiting the houses of their
friends to receive congratulations and gifts
suited to the day.
Among the former were Louise and
Maurice; for their parents, though not
wealthy, were of the old French aristoc-
racy, and the carriage of the Abbe de
Norville, a near relative, was placed at
their service for the day.
My dear children," exclaimed Madame
1'Estrange, kissing the bright faces of
Louise and Maurice as they sprang to
meet her, "how glad I am to see this
day. I have seen you both dedicated to
our holy Church and received as her chil-
dren. Be brave and true, my children, in



the great fight of faith. Believe me, you
will need all the strength and all the com-
fort you have received to-day to strengthen
you for what must come."
Their mother's words were not perhaps
fully understood just then, not at least by
Maurice. Louise gave one quick glance
upwards, as if half guessing something she
had left unsaid, but only answered by a
warmer caress.
It was a handsome enough but old-
fashioned residence in the Rue Richelieu
to which they repaired, a house which had
long been in the family of Monsieur
1'Estrange Pierre and Babette, his old
and confidential servants, received the
children with extreme delight and evident
affection. This being a sort of gala day
the rooms were gaily decorated with
flowers, and a little feast was being laid
out in the salle a manger.
Already a great many little gifts had
been sent for the children by kind friends
and neighbours, and presently, as the cus-



tom was, various relatives or acquaintances
dropped in to see them in their festal
array, and to join in the general rejoicing.
It was a happy day, and one that Louise
never in after-life forgot. Maurice was
the centre of a little group of boy-cousins
and friends eager to examine his presents
-a beautifully bound breviary, an image
of St. Joseph, a box of bon-bons, a mimic
cannon, and so forth; while Louise had
also her special circle of companions, who
helped her to unfold various tempting
little parcels, and to admire the lace hand-
kerchief, the silken gloves, and the em-
broidered scarf, which were her share.
But at a signal from Madame l'Estrange
the two children left at once their com-
panions and came forward to offer refresh-
ments to the numerous guests nowgathered
in the salon. These consisted of light
wines, cakes, and sweetmeats. They served
these round with much grace and courtesy.
After an hour or two of pleasant con-
verse most of the guests took leave, and



Page zS.


: :
I i


only a family party of more intimate
friends and relations remained for a
greater entertainment in the evening, to
which, after loitering about in the quaint
old garden at the back of the house for
some time, they were ceremoniously con-
ducted by Pierre, the old butler or maitre
At that dinner-table Louise and Maurice
took their places for the first time as
regular members of the social circle, being
considered to have taken a new step in
life, and to be able to share in the con-
versation and pursuits of their seniors in
quite a different degree from that of nur-
sery days. They were indeed about to
share in a life of which they had as yet
no experience, and from which their fond
parents would gladly have shielded them
had it been possible to do so.
Over the gay city of Paris that day
there darkly hung the blood-red skies of
revolution, anarchy, and massacre. Even at
the palace doors one heard muttered hoarse



cries of Liberty, fraternity, equality;"
"I bas le roi!"--down with royalty-
" a bas les aristocrates !" And the gloomy
shadow of the guillotine was in the mind
though not yet in the eyes of the
The L'Estrange family were of course
fully aware of all this, though on the
happy occasion just described they had
endeavoured to forget fear and anxiety for
a while, and even to shut their eyes to
closely impending danger. That day at
least must be bright and cloudless, they
said. It was sacred to their innocent
children, and to their hour of hallowed
joy. No gloomy cloud that they could
avert must overshadow it.
Yet that very evening, while Louise
glided here and there through her mother's
salon, a richly gilded room with old family
portraits on the oak panels of the walls,
and furnished in the heavy but handsome
style of Louis XIV., she could not help
overhearing whispered remarks and allu-



sions which made her young heart tremble
and her cheek grow pale.
Her father too looked troubled as he
stood in one deep window embrasure con-
versing with the Abb6 de Norville and
some older men. It was no common mis-
fortune which could make him look like
Monsieur l'Estrange held the office of
one of the king's private secretaries, and
as such was liable to share in the dangers
of his royal master.
At last the door opened again to admit
another guest, one with wild terror de-
picted in his white face and disordered
Messieurs," he said in a low tone, I
have come to warn you. Save yourselves
while there is time. The threatened out-
break has been made. The palace is
empty-the king and queen have fled.
The mob is armed, and cry loudly for our
blood. Fly while yet there is time !"
It would be impossible to describe the



consternation and horror which followed,
or the agitated council which took place
now in that previously gay salon of the
Rue Richelieu. Suffice it to say that
while Monsieur l'Estrange and some of
the other gentlemen went out to reconnoitre
and make sure regarding this alarm, his
wife made some hurried preparations for
flight or concealment, while the others
slunk back to their respective homes as
best they might.
It was a dark ending to so bright a day.



LOUISE assisted her mother and old
Babette in their hasty preparations. It
was with trembling hands and fainting
hearts that they hastily gathered together
all the valuables belonging to the house,
and bestowed them about their own persons
or in curious places of concealment likely
to escape the notice of an infuriated mob,
such as they might expect soon to rifle
and ransack the houses of the hated
aristocrats. In this manner the silver
services and heavier articles-old family
heirlooms many of them-found a dark
retreat in Babette's coal-cellar, while a
large eight-day clock was forced to give
shelter to some smaller pieces of plate.


Louise did not forget her own little
treasures. She thought, first of all, of the
things given to her that day, and wrap-
ping them carefully in tissue paper, hid
them about her dress, while she helped
Maurice to do the same with his. The
red coral necklace lay safe in its morocco
case in her tiny jewel-box. It would be
safest, she decided, fastened round her
neck, and had just secured it so when her
father returned with still more alarming
news than any they had yet heard. He
bade them follow him softly, one by one,
from the house, which was already marked
as the dwelling of an aristocrat. They
were to follow secretly and at some dis-
tance from one another, so as not to excite
attention, and at a certain point in the
Champs Elys6es he would meet them
with a carriage, and convey them, if pos-
sible, to a place of safety.
Maurice was sent first, as the boy was
the least likely to be observed at that
late hour; then Louise, dressed in the



cloak and hood of one of the younger
servants. Madame l'Estrange, terrified
for her children's fate, followed them as
quickly as she dared; while Babette,
bearing a large market basket ostenta-
tiously on her arm, shouldered her way
through the crowded streets, keeping up a
bold pretence of being on her usual shop-
ping expedition. Late as it was the shops
were doing a brisk trade. Flaring lights
attracted the eye to butchers' and fish-
mongers' stalls; while loud chaffering about
prices went on between venders, in blue
blouses and white aprons, and a stream
of thrifty housekeepers and idle stragglers
constantly passing and repassing.
Ma foi !" exclaimed Babette, holding
up her hands in well-feigned amazement;
" three francs for that miserable lobster ?
No indeed, Nicolas Bourron; I must cast
my net in other waters than thine."
Again at the fruit-merchant's she carried
on the same jesting converse for a minute
or two.



Indeed, indeed, Mother Grosgrain,
you mean me to take that musty old
melon! And let me see your apricots.
Why, one would think you had grown
them in your own back court there-
more like green gooseberries, I declare,
than anything else."
These witticisms seemed to please the
bystanders in the market, among whom
Babette was a well-known figure; and
thus she passed on from stall to stall un-
challenged, though all the talk around
her was of the rising expected among the
people and the downfall of the aristocracy.
At the end of that crowded street
Babette darted quickly down a narrow
lane, and reached the place of rendezvous
almost as soon as her mistress. The
children were there already when Madame
l'Estrange with trembling haste arrived
at the spot, and her husband waited with
the carriage as he had arranged to do.
A silent and hurried drive brought
them in a few hours to the borders of


Page ,I.


Loiret, a province still peaceful and quiet,
and in which Monsieur l'Estrange owned
a small property, inherited from a distant
It was an old, half-ruined chateau in
which they now found themselves en-
sconced, only too thankful to be in safe
shelter of any kind until the sad calamities
overhanging their old home should pass
Monsieur l'Estrange had to return to
Paris as soon as his family were settled.
Loyalty alone demanded that he should
be at the service of his unhappy king; and
much as Madame l'Estrange loved her
husband, she would not have said one
word to keep him from a duty so sacred.
And so before many days were past his
last affectionate farewells were said, and
he turned away from the dear faces of the
children he was to see again no more.
Little as Louise and Maurice thought
of coming evils now, when they played
among the vineyards round their old
M 3



chateau, the time was fast drawing near
when the guillotine was to reap its bloody
harvest of the best and bravest of the
land, and that among its first victims
their dearly-loved father was to follow
his royal master even unto death.
While the weary weeks of agonizing
suspense, of fluctuating hope, and ever-
increasing fear went slowly on, Madame
l'Estrange tried bravely to control her
own emotions, and to let her children
enjoy what happiness yet remained to
them. She helped Babette, too, in their
little housekeeping cares, by which means
she kept herself from brooding too con-
stantly over her misfortunes; and Babette
herself bravely struggled through many
little difficulties, and kept a degree of
comfort about the family which only such
clever hands as her own could possibly
have done in that empty ruin, with its
bare walls, gaping windows, and general
want of even the necessaries of life.
Time passed, and one after another the


terrible events of the Revolution took
place. Early in 1793 Louis XVI., the
gentle and amiable young monarch, died
upon the scaffold; and autumn of the
same year saw his beautiful but unhappy
queen, Marie Antoinette, lay her head
upon the block. These were followed by
a long train of cruel and bloody executions,
chiefly of persons of noble birth and high
rank; yet there were many of more ordi-
nary station, such as Monsieur l'Estrange,
who only incurred the fury of the Revolu-
tionists on account of Government offices
held by them under the late reign.
One evening late in autumn a messenger
arrived from Paris with bad news for the
L'Estrange family. Their place of hiding
had been discovered; they must again go
forth to seek an asylum from Republican
fury and fanaticism; worse still, the
husband and father was said to be a
prisoner in the gloomy walls of the Bastile,
from which the letter said there was small
prospect of his ever coming out, save to die.




STRANGELY enough it was in the very
heart of Paris that Madame l'Estrange
sought shelter in this her second flight.
The overwhelming desire to see her hus-
band once more, even if it were but to
bid him a last farewell, conquered every
fear of detection; so she secretly repaired
with her children back to the metropolis,
and by the aid of Babette succeeded in
finding a humble lodging in one of the
lowest quarters of the city. How terribly
altered that gay city was even since they
had left it. Barricades had been erected
in many of the principal thoroughfares,
which were guarded night and day by the
soldiers of the Republic-most of them


rude, ruffianly fellows, eager to show off
their newly-gained authority and to tor-
ment or harass any women and children
who showed traces of noble birth or gentle
bearing. Coarse and violent women,
thoroughly demoralized by the revolution-
ary scenes in which they had taken part,
went about the streets in gangs, adding
their bitter taunts and low invectives to
the oaths and brutality of the soldiers.
Rumours of bloodshed and fresh horrors
filled the air from day to day. The more
respectable citizens skulked about in by-
streets and at dusk or dawn, as if terrified
to be seen; and, in fact, Paris at that
moment might have been taken as a
picture of some haunt of demons.
The churches had been ransacked and
ruthlessly destroyed; in many cases they
were closed and their priests arrested.
The very name of God was only men-
tioned in blasphemy, so terrible was this
oft-described Reign of Terror.
Madame l'Estrange, having made many



vain attempts to see her husband, was at
last permitted to do so in an unexpected
manner. Wandering about the doors of
the gloomy old prison in which he was
confined, she was one evening saluted
by a young officer of the Republican
"Madame," he said, bowing respect-
fully, "permit me to remind you of my
name. I see you do not recognize in me
the little fellow to whom you were so kind
many years ago at Dieppe--"
"Victoire St. Hilaire!" interrupted
Madame 1'Estrange eagerly. Is it really
so ? And have you recognized me after
all these changes ?"
"Ah, madame,' said the young officer,
"it is easy for the unfortunate to remem-
ber the face of a benefactress. I was a
homeless, friendless boy, weeping at my
father's grave and deserted by my own
mother, when you interposed to save me
from a tyrant's cruelty. Do you remem-
ber all the story how you took me


r __-


Pag' 3s.


from that wicked old harbour-master and
placed me at the military school at
Amiens ? From that I have risen step
by step till I am as you see-a lieutenant
in the Republican army."
Madame 1'Estrange sighed. She could
have wished her old protege in a different
service, yet here at least was some hope
in this evil hour. Briefly yet frankly she
revealed to this grateful youth her trying
circumstances, and appealed to his gener-
osity to help her if he could.
Young St. Hilaire was deeply touched
by the story, though indeed it was no
uncommon one. He promised to do all
he could to obtain for her the interview
she desired; but said it must be some
hours before any influence he had could be
brought to bear on the prison authorities.
Meantime he begged her to speak on
indifferent matters, and to pass on as
carelessly as if they were almost strangers.
"Citoyenne !" he then said aloud,
"could you send one of your children



to-morrow here, about this time ? I may
find an errand or two, you know."
"Well, I may, Citizen St. Hilaire,"
replied the lady, assuming the same care-
less tone, and nodding to him as she
turned away.
"Stay," he said, recalling her. How
shall I know the child ? Quick, decide."
Quick as lightning the lady decided,
and said carelessly, "A red coral neck-
That was all, and then without further
sign or look or word this singular inter-
view came to an end.
Madame 1'Estrange hurried home, a
new hope beating high in her heart. She
told Louise all the story, who caught
eagerly at the idea of being helpful in her
mother's plans even to so small a degree.
Little as madame liked the thought of
sending her daughter on such an embassy,
and among so many dangers, there was
no alternative for her. Maurice, always
a delicate boy, had been so completely



exhausted by recent exposure and fatigue
that he lay in his poor truckle-bed in their
dimly-lighted cellar utterly unable to walk.
Louise was strong and wiry; also she was
possessed of much sense and quick intelli-
gence. Yes, Louise must be the mes-
senger., Her mother would go as far as
might be to guard her and to point out
the appointed place, but that was all;
Louise must do the rest.
It was a peasant's cloak in which Louise
wrapped herself next evening at sundown
before setting out on her mission. Its
deep hood hid the fair face and soft curling
tresses to a great extent; only the bright
dark eyes looked out like shining stars
from their hiding-place, and a flush of ex-
citement tinging the beautiful cheeks with
rose-colour made itself visible in spite of
her care to conceal it. Madame l'Estrange
left her to go her way alone after they
had passed the last barricade, and re-
mained there to pray for her success and
her safe return.



Again the young lieutenant was going
his rounds. As he did so he seemed to
be intently studying the features of every
passer-by. At last his eye caught the
slender red signal carried in Louise's
trembling hand, and he paused, almost as
much agitated as herself.
You are Mademoiselle l'Estrange ; is
it not so ?" he whispered. "Take this
letter. Alas! it is both joy and sorrow
for you, my poor child."
Louise started at these doubtful words;
and in her eagerness to secure the letter
he handed to her, allowed her cloak to fall
back somewhat, and St. Hilaire saw that
this was no mere child, but a beautiful
and noble looking maiden who stood
trembling to receive his missive. He
was young and impressionable-he never
forgot that moment. Indeed, he felt that
the sweet, sad countenance of Mademoiselle
l'Estrange could never fade from his
memory again.
Louise, on her part, was touched by



the evident sympathy and kindness of
this comparative stranger, and expressed
her thanks earnestly in her own graceful,
winning way. But there was no time for
delay. St. Hilaire himself warned her
by a signal to depart without further
parley; and Louise, grasping the letter,
darted off like a gazelle, and soon reached
her mother's side.



THE letter Louise brought was no other than
a permit, signed by the bloodthirsty Robes-
pierre himself, to the effect that Madame
l'Estrange might, if she wished it, share
the captivity of her husband, whose exe-
cution must take place shortly. On no
other terms could she be allowed to see
him. Her own life would be secure if she
chose to do this; but no prayers nor en-
treaties were to be listened to regarding
the life of her husband and his aristocratic
With many tears and yet with much
thankfulness the poor lady accepted this
crumb of consolation. Early next morn-
ing saw her leave her children in the care


of the faithful Babette, and set off for the
dark gloom of that prison which was still
illumined for her by her husband's pre-
With what joy these two faithful hearts
met again, even in that dark prison, and
with the full knowledge that they were
soon to part for ever on earth!
For some reason or other a number of
executions were delayed for several weeks,
amongst them that of Monsieur l'Estrange,
and during that time no message ever
reached his children, who were dragging
out a wretched existence in their cellar-
like home. All that Babette could do for
them was done. She worked hard and
fared scantily that they might live. And
so well did she succeed that even the sickly
Maurice grew strong and well again, and
was able to go out on little errands for
Babette or for the neighbours.
Ma foi !" Babette would often exclaim;
"to think that my master's son would
ever be glad to make an honest sou like



any gamin of the gutter Yet so it
A feeling of shyness kept Louise from
haunting the gate of the Conciergerie at
the time St. Hilaire would be there. She
had not mistaken the young officer's look
of admiration, respectful though it was,
and she shrank from the thought of asking
another favour from him now that it only
concerned herself and her brother. At
other hours-early in the morning, for
instance-she would take her stand at
some little distance, gazing eagerly at
every window in turn, wondering which
room held the dear ones who seemed lost
to her for ever now, and hoping always
that by some happy chance they would
look out and see her.
One day, venturing to pass close by the
prison gate, she observed a little stir going
on among a number of persons gathered
round one of the jailers. He was a dark,
bronzed, cruel-looking man, and seemed to
be bandying words of no very gentle kind



with his auditors. But these evidently
took all he said in good part, and were
rather bent on propitiating him if possible.
"No, no, my friends," exclaimed this
grim warder at last, as if tired of the
discussion. "You must be off, or, by my
faith, I will have you all arrested as
disturbers of the peace."
"Peace! where is that to be found ?"
muttered one poor old man as he tottered
away. If I might only see my brave
Vincent once again, I would seek peace
willingly in my grave."
From these words Louise at once learned
that these people had been trying to obtain
interviews with their imprisoned friends.
The idea seized her that she also might
try to win the favour even of this unlikely
Good morning, monsieur," she said to
him pleasantly, as she stopped to look up
at the old iron gate, the gloomy front of
which hid from her so much that was



"Humph !" growled the jailer; "that
is just as one finds it, my dear. For me,
it is a very tiresome morning. I have to
keep all these good folks at bay while
the prisoners have their exercise in the
courtyard. They think their tears and
sighs will move Jules Grison. Ha, ha!
they are mistaken. It is the silver key
alone that can turn old Grison's locks,
I can tell you. And these miserable
wretches haven't a son a piece, it seems.
Bah !"
Louise caught his meaning at once.
"Alas, monsieur !" she said frankly,
" I am as poor as the others. I have not
a franc in my pocket. But if I find one
to-morrow, will you let me enter for a
minute while the prisoners are exercised?"
With breathless eagerness she waited
Grison's reply.
I go off' duty to-morrow," he answered.
"Whom do you wish to see ?"
Louise whispered her parents' name.
Grison started.





To-morrow will be too late," he mut-
tered. "You aristocrats had plenty of
jewels and treasures in your hey-day.
What has become of them all ? "
"Alas, alas, monsieur! I have none--
not one diamond or pearl in all the world,
or I would bring it," cried poor Louise,
bursting into tears and wringing her hands
piteously. Then putting her hand by
accident up to her throat she felt the
familiar string of red coral still hidden
there, and without a moment's pause drew
it quickly off and offered it very doubtfully
to the old jailer.
Monsieur does not count this pre-
cious ?" she asked in a sort of forlorn
hope. "It is pretty, but not of precious
stones, oh no! Yet it might be sold for-"
For half a franc, I daresay laughed
Grison, interrupting her. Well, a pot of
beer is better than nothing, I suppose.
Here, give it to me. It will be of no use to
you now, my little citizeness. You are no
longer a fine lady, and, by my faith, there


are red marks enough about the aristo-
crats' necks now-a-days without this poor
bauble. Ha, ha, ha "
Grison laughed heartily at his own
brutal jest, and was echoed by the two
soldiers in command under him, who
seemed quite accustomed to the sort of
bribery practised so boldly at the prison
I go now to see if the prisoners' drill
is over," announced Grison. Follow me,
citizeness, and if your friends are in the
yard you may speak to them for five
minutes, that is all. Now look sharp,
and remember what I have told you."
In a glow of rapture and gratitude
Louise promised implicit obedience, and
prepared with a beating heart to enter
that awful doorway so soon as Grison
should turn his huge key in the lock.
Some minutes passed minutes which
seemed an age to her-and then the turn-
ing of a heavy door, a sudden push from
Grison, and Louise found herself in a.



large open court, surrounded on all sides
by dark walls with barred windows, while
the clang of the closing door behind her
told her that she was now fairly within
the prison bounds. She stood still and
terrified for a moment; then set herself
eagerly to search among the groups of
prisoners who were compelled to march
up and down in the courtyard for exercise
at this hour, for the forms and faces she
so longed to behold. But all of these pale
sad faces looked strange to her. And the
girl's heart died within her as she realized
the failure of her hopes. She turned
sadly back to the door to ask some ques-
tions of Grison, but ere another step was
taken she found herself clasped in her
mother's arms, and held to her bosom
with a fervour no words could have
Madame 1'Estrange had at that very
moment been led out along with the last
detachment of female prisoners for the
doleful exercise prescribed by prison law.



How changed her appearance was Her
beautiful hair had been shorn, and a
coloured handkerchief bound the few re-
maining tresses instead of a cap. The
raiment she wore was coarse and soiled,
having belonged to various prisoners in
turn for years past. Her face was fur-
rowed with many anxieties and sorrows,
yet even through all this there shone a
noble tranquillity, a spiritual beauty which
suffering and shame only rendered more
0 mother, mother! wailed Louise.
What else could she say ? What need
was there of words between these two ?
My child whispered Madame
1'Estrange. Be calm, be strong. God
has not forsaken us. 'Though he slay us,
yet will we trust in him.'"
At this instant Grison approached.
He shook Louise roughly. "I must
return to my post," he said. "Come,
little citizeness."
"0 mother, must I go ?" sobbed Louise.



"Yes, my poor child, go, and support
your brother. I will rejoin you very soon
now. I will take your adieux to your
father. To-morrowo he follows his king.
Maurice and you will pray for him at the
hour of noon; ay, and for me, too, who
must see him go. Adieu, my beloved
child. Kiss Maurice for me. Fare-
Madame 1'Estrange's last words were
almost inaudible from emotion, but Louise
understood them well. No longer time
was allowed. She found herself hurriedly
pushed out of the courtyard and back to
the pitiless street before she could gather
her cloak around her. Blinded by tears
she hastily made her way back to where
she knew Maurice would be waiting for
her. She stumbled against some one who
was lingering near the Port Neuf, and
started to find that it was the young
officer who had been so friendly to her
mother and herself-Victoire St. Hilaire.
"Pardon, mademoiselle," he exclaimed,



"but I am so glad to have met you. I
have watched for you so often. Have
you been yonder ? "
"Yes, yes! I have seen my mother,"
said Louise, greatly agitated still. "But
oh, monsieur, to-morrow! "
I know," he said, gently laying his
hand upon her head as if she had been a
child. "But you will be brave, for he is
brave. It is noble to die as he will die.
It is as if he died a soldier's death."
Louise tried to compose herself. She
would need all her strength, she knew, to
uphold the fragile and timid Maurice.
"Adieu, monsieur," she said. "I go
to tell my brother."
One word, mademoiselle," returned St.
Hilaire eagerly. You were allowed into
the yard ? Is it not so ?"
"Yes, by the old jailer, who was stand-
ing beside the sentinels."
For pity's sake ? inquired the officer
with a dubious expression.
Louise coloured. She could not betray



even old Grison, mercenary and cruel as
he had been.
It was only for five minutes," she
said, evading his question. "And oh,
monsieur! they seemed but five seconds.
But I must hasten to poor little Maurice."
Adieu, mademoiselle," said St. Hilaire,
bowing respectfully; and so they parted.



NEXT day, as the hour of noon approached,
two slight youthful figures might have
been seen advancing with timid, hurrying
steps towards the great cathedral of Notre
Dame. There were angry sounds and tu-
mult in the streets; there were gloom and
terror lurking in the thunder-laden air.
It was one of the frequent execution days,
when noble blood would be shed in shame-
ful slaughter, and brave men must die
like criminals at the guillotine. But in
the quiet shade of the cathedral, under its
lofty arches and in its silent aisles, there
was peace. And there two young hearts
sorely needed some such balm. They had
stolen away quietly to pass an hour in


devotion, kneeling in spirit by the side of
a dying father, since they were forbidden
to approach the scaffold and minister to
him in his last sufferings.
How like a dream now seemed that
long-gone bright May-day when they
had been received into the Church visible,
amid all that could make life glad and
happy-friendship, love, sympathy. It
was a terrible contrast-that day and this.
Yet even now there was a sense of rest
and calm within these hallowed walls which
they could find nowhere else.
As the heavy strokes of noon resounded
from an adjacent clock tower, Louise
1'Estrange drew near to her brother, and
putting her arm lovingly round him drew
him closer to herself. He was sobbing
bitterly as he knelt there upon the marble
pavement before an altar dedicated to St.
Stephen. A fine painting above it showed
the first martyr calmly awaiting his sharp
and cruel death, while the glory of heaven
already transfigured his pale and bleeding



countenance, and a band of angels waited
to bear his soul away.
"Maurice," said his sister in a low
voice, "our dear father is as safe, as
blessed as St. Stephen was. The angels
are waiting for him too. Let us be brave
as he is, and be ready to comfort our poor
Maurice tried hard to suppress his
emotion, and presently became more calm.
Even in that dim retreat of theirs, where
massive walls seemed to shut out the
world completely, a loud, hoarse wave of
sound swept through the aisles; and they
shuddered as it passed, because they knew
it was the reverberation of that cry of
demon-like triumph and execration that
had hailed their father's death.
"He is in heaven, Maurice," whispered
Louise again. We shall go to meet him
there one day. Do not grieve for him;
rather rejoice that his sufferings are over."
In this way the brave girl consoled and
comforted the fragile young boy, who was



now almost entirely dependent upon her;
and after a little time of quiet rest and
prayer she led him gently away to their
poor home, where Babette awaited them
with much anxiety. She had been at the
place of execution, and had witnessed the
noble bearing and heroic fortitude of her
master in the last trying moments. Ba-
bette mingled her tears freely with those
of the children, as she narrated all that
had come under her own observation.
While they were yet speaking the door
opened softly, and a pale, spectral-like
woman glided softly to their side. It was
Madame 1'Estrange, but they hardly recog-
nized her, so sadly changed was her aspect.
Madame l'Estrange had been released
immediately after the execution of her
husband, and by the kindness of St.
Hilaire had been conducted in safety and
privacy through the seething streets to
the home of her children.
There were still many dark days in
store for unhappy France. But while



the great mass of her people were still to
wade through scenes of blood and terror
on their way to order and tranquillity, it
was the happier lot of no inconsiderable
number to find a refuge on the safer
shores of England. Among these last
were Madame 1'Estrange, her children,
and the faithful Babette. Lord Lynd-
hurst, nephew of their old friend the
Countess of Ravenswood, sent a secret
message to Madame l'Estrange, giving
her the warmest welcome to his house,
and minute instructions as to her escape
thither. A very few weeks, then, after
her husband's death, the afflicted lady
found herself securely sheltered under the
hospitable roof of Hawkshaw Hall-that
very house for which the handsome dessert
service had been purchased so many years
ago in Frobisher's shop. Here she re-
covered in great measure the natural
brightness and sunshine of her disposition;
here Maurice became strong and hand-
some as his father had been, and Louise



grew into a beautiful and accomplished
young lady.
One evening, as they all gathered round
Lady Lyndhurst's tea-table on the lawn,
a young French officer made his appear-
ance, requesting to see Madame l'Estrange.
He was courteously received, and then
warmly welcomed as their old friend,
Victoire St. Hilaire. It was a long and
deeply interesting conversation which en-
sued. Lady Lyndhurst insisted on the
young officer remaining as their guest at
Hawkshaw Hall for some days at least,
and in spite of political prejudice and
divided interest, the friendship' thus re-
newed rapidly grew into one of the closest
and warmest.
Before, however, that first evening was
over, Victoire St. Hilaire had drawn from
his bosom a little packet, carefully sealed
and secured. He laid it almost reverently
in the lap of Mademoiselle 1'Estrange,
I have great joy, mademoiselle, in



restoring this trinket which you sacrificed
in so dear a cause. The ruthless villain
who took it from your hands has suffered
some punishment for his fault, though
sans doute not half enough. And I too,
mademoiselle," he continued with a smile,
and showing the mark of a knife-wound
on his wrist-" I too have suffered some-
what in consequence of his deed; but I
would gladly suffer far more than this, if
I might only be of service to you."
Surprised beyond all expression, Louise
opened the little parcel with trembling
fingers, and to the astonished eyes of the
whole party revealed that long-lost gift
of the good old countess, the red coral
necklace !
How many dark and thrilling scenes it
had shared with its owner since the day
it left Frobisher's shop. How it would
hereafter be associated with all that was
most remarkable and most touching in the
history of her family.
It will not be considered an unlikely



occurrence if we add that Louise 1'Estrange
found by-and-by a means of quite atoning
to Victoire for any loss he had sustained in
her cause, and that in after-years a little
girl named Louise St. Hilaire received
one birthday from her loving parents a
gift very precious in their eyes, and THE
CORAL NECKLACE was worn for many a
year in happier times than those to which
our story belongs.



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