Book the Second - the Golden Thread
24. XXIV. Drawn to the Loadstone Rock
In such risings of fire and risings of sea--the firm earth shaken by
the rushes of an angry ocean which had now no ebb, but was always on
the flow, higher and higher, to the terror and wonder of the beholders
on the shore--three years of tempest were consumed. Three more
birthdays of little Lucie had been woven by the golden thread into
the peaceful tissue of the life of her home.
Many a night and many a day had its inmates listened to the echoes in
the corner, with hearts that failed them when they heard the thronging
feet. For, the footsteps had become to their minds as the footsteps
of a people, tumultuous under a red flag and with their country declared
in danger, changed into wild beasts, by terrible enchantment long
Monseigneur, as a class, had dissociated himself from the phenomenon
of his not being appreciated: of his being so little wanted in France,
as to incur considerable danger of receiving his dismissal from it,
and this life together. Like the fabled rustic who raised the Devil
with infinite pains, and was so terrified at the sight of him that he
could ask the Enemy no question, but immediately fled; so, Monseigneur,
after boldly reading the Lord's Prayer backwards for a great number of
years, and performing many other potent spells for compelling the Evil
One, no sooner beheld him in his terrors than he took to his noble heels.
The shining Bull's Eye of the Court was gone, or it would have been
the mark for a hurricane of national bullets. It had never been a
good eye to see with--had long had the mote in it of Lucifer's pride,
Sardana--palus's luxury, and a mole's blindness--but it had dropped
out and was gone. The Court, from that exclusive inner circle to its
outermost rotten ring of intrigue, corruption, and dissimulation, was
all gone together. Royalty was gone; had been besieged in its Palace
and "suspended," when the last tidings came over.
The August of the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two was
come, and Monseigneur was by this time scattered far and wide.