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 A few days , as De Vlierbeck had predicted, the public sale of all their property was inserted in the papers and placarded over the city and neighborhood. The affair made some noise, and every one was astonished at the ruin of a person whom they considered rich and miserly.  
As the sale was stated to be in consequence of his departure from the country, the gossips would have been unable to discover the genuine if the news had not come from Antwerp that De Vlierbeck had resolved to pay his debts and was wretchedly poor. The cause of his misfortune—that is to say, his liability for his brother—was known, though all the circumstances were not understood.
As soon as the publication was made, the poor old gentleman led, if possible, a more life than ever, in order to avoid explanations. Resigned to his fate, he quietly awaited the day of sale; and, although his feelings often strove to master his resolution, the constant care and encouragement of his noble-hearted daughter enabled him to encounter the fatal hour with a degree of pride.
In the mean while he received a letter from Gustave at Rome, containing a few lines for his child. The young man declared that absence from Lenora had only increased his affection, and that his only was the hope of future union with her by the bonds of marriage. But in other respects the letter was not encouraging. He said with pain that all his efforts to change his uncle's determination had, up to that time, been fruitless. De Vlierbeck did not from Lenora that he no longer had a hope of her union with Gustave, and that she ought to strive against this unhappy love in order to escape from greater disappointment. Indeed, since her father's poverty had become publicly known, Lenora was convinced that duty commanded her to every hope; yet she could not help feeling pleased and strengthened by the thought that Gustave still loved her, and that he, whose memory filled her heart, dreamed of her in his distant home and mourned her absence.
She kept her promises to him faithfully. How often did she pronounce his name in the of that garden! How often did she sigh beneath the catalpa, as if anxious to trust the winds with a message of love to other lands! In her lonely walks she repeated his tender words; and often did she stop at some well-remembered spot where he had blessed her with a tender word or look.
But poor De Vlierbeck was obliged to undergo additional pain; for, as if every misfortune that could him was to be accumulated at that moment on his head, he received from America the news of his brother's death! The unfortunate wanderer died of in the near Hudson's Bay. The poor gentleman wept long and bitterly for the loss of a brother whom he tenderly loved; but he was soon and roughly turned aside to encounter the of his own fate.
The day of sale arrived. Early in the morning Grinselhof was invaded by all sorts of people, who, moved by curiosity or a desire to purchase, overran every nook and corner of the house, examining the furniture and estimating its value.
De Vlierbeck had caused every thing that was to be sold to be carried into the most apartments, where, aided by his daughter, he passed the entire preceding night in dusting, cleaning, and polishing the various articles, so that they might prove more attractive to competitors. He had no personal interest in this ; for, his funded property having been sold some days before at great loss, it was certain that the sale of all his remaining possessions would not exceed the amount of his debts. It was a noble sentiment of honor and that compelled him to sacrifice his rest for his , so as to diminish as much as he could the amount of their losses. It was clear that De Vlierbeck did not intend to prolong his stay at Grinselhof after the sale; for among the articles to be offered were the only two bedsteads in the house, with their bedding, and a large quantity of clothes belonging to him and his daughter.
Very early in the day Lenora went to the farm-house, where she remained until all was over. At ten o'clock the saloon was full of people. Nobles and gentlefolks of both sexes were mixed up with and who had come to Grinselhof with the hope of getting bargains. Peasants might be seen talking together, in low voices, with surprise at Do Vlierbeck's ruin; and there were even some who laughed openly and joked as the auctioneer read the terms of sale!
As the salesman put up a very handsome wardrobe, De Vlierbeck himself entered the apartment and with the . His appearance caused a general movement in the crowd; heads went together and men began to whisper, while the bankrupt was stared at with curiosity or with pity, but by the greater part with or derision. Yet, whatever feeling existed in the assembly, it did not last long; for the firm and of De Vlierbeck was never on any occasion more instinct with that dignity which inspires respect. He was poor; fortune had struck him a cruel blow; but in his look and calm features there beamed a brave and independent soul which misfortune itself had been unable to crush.
The auctioneer went on with the sale, assisted in his description of the various articles by Monsieur De Vlierbeck, who informed the bidders of their origin, , and value. Occasionally some gentleman of the neighborhood, who, in better days, had been on good terms with Lenora's father, approached him with words of sympathy; but he always managed to escape from these indiscreet attempts at consolation. Whenever it was necessary for him to speak, he showed so much self-command and composure that he was far above the idle of that careless crowd; yet if his countenance was calm and , his heart was weighed down by absorbing grief. All that had belonged to his ancestors—articles that were emblazoned with the arms of his family and had been religiously preserved as heirlooms for several centuries—were sold at rates and passed into the hands of brokers. As each historical was placed on the table or held up by the auctioneer, the links of his illustrious race seemed to break off and depart. When the sale was nearly over, the portraits of the men who had borne the name of De Vlierbeck were taken down from the walls and placed upon the stand. The first—that of the hero of St. Quentin—was knocked off to a for little more than three francs! In the sale of this portrait, and the laughable price it brought, there was so much bitter that, for the first time, the agony that had been so long torturing De Vlierbeck's heart began to exhibit its traces in his countenance. No sooner had the hammer fallen, than, with downcast eyes and a sigh that was inaudible even to his nearest neighbor, the stricken nobleman turned from the crowd and left the saloon, so as not to witness the final sacrifice of ............
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