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"Your father has grave subjects of anxiety, my children," said Mme.

Favoral: "you may believe me, - me, who for twenty years have beentrying to guess our fate upon his countenance."But the political events were sufficient to explain any amount ofanxiety. It was the second week of July, 1870; and the destiniesof France trembled, as upon a cast of the dice, in the hands of afew presumptuous incapables. Was it war with Prussia, or was itpeace, that was to issue from the complications of a childishlyastute policy?

The most contradictory rumors caused daily at the bourse the mostviolent oscillations, which endangered the safest fortunes. A fewwords uttered in a corridor by Emile Ollivier had made a dozen heavyoperators rich, but had ruined five hundred small ones. On allhands, credit was trembling.

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Until one evening when he came home,"War is declared," said M. Favoral.

It was but too true; and no one then had any fears of the resultfor France. They had so much exalted the French army, they hadso often said that it was invincible, that every one among thepublic expected a series of crushing victories.

Alas! the first telegram announced a defeat. People refused tobelieve it at first. But there was the evidence. The soldiers haddied bravely; but the chiefs had been incapable of leading them.

From that time, and with a vertiginous rapidity, from day to day,from hour to hour, the fatal news came crowding on. Like a riverthat overflows its banks, Prussia was overrunning France. Bazainewas surrounded at Metz; and the capitulation of Sedan capped theclimax of so many disasters.

At last, on the 4th of September, the republic was proclaimed.

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On the 5th, when the Signor Gismondo Pulei presented himself at RueSt. Gilles, his face bore such an expression of anguish, that Mlle.

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Gilberte could not help asking what was the matter.

He rose on that question, and, threatening heaven with his clinchedfist,"Implacable fate does not tire to persecute me," he replied. "Ihad overcome all obstacles: I was happy: I was looking forward toa future of fortune and glory. No, the dreadful war must break out."For the worthy maestro, this terrible catastrophe was but a newcaprice of his own destiny.

"What has happened to you?" inquired the young girl, repressing asmile.

"It happens to me, signora, that I am about to lose my belovedpupil. He leaves me; he forsakes me. In vain have I thrown myselfat his feet. My tears have not been able to detain him. He is goingto fight; he leaves; he is a soldier!"Then it was given to Mlle. Gilberte to see clearly within her soul.

Then she understood how absolutely she had given herself up, and towhat extent she had ceased to belong to herself.