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 Spring, gentle spring, had thrown aside the funeral of winter, and earth awoke again to vigorous life. Grinselhof reappeared in all the of its wild, natural scenery; its oaks displayed their , its roses bloomed as sweetly as of old, elder-blossoms filled the air with delicious odor, butterflies fluttered through the garden, and every was with the song of birds.  
Nothing seemed changed at Grinselhof: its roads, its paths, were still , and sad was the silence that in its shadows. Yet immediately around the house there was more life and movement than . At the coach-house two were busy washing and polishing a new and fashionable coach; while the neigh of horses from the stable. A trim waiting-maid stood on the door-sill laughing and joking with the , and a respectable old butler looked knowingly on the group.
Suddenly the clear silvery ring of a bell was heard from the , and the waiting-maid ran in, exclaiming, "Good Heavens! there's Monsieur ringing for his breakfast, and it is not ready yet!"
A few moments she was seen mounting the staircase with a rich silver salver covered with breakfast-things; and, entering the parlor, she placed them silently on a table before a young gentleman who seemed absorbed by his own thoughts, and then instantly left the room without a word.
The young man began his meal with a careless, indifferent air, as if he either had no appetite or did not know what he was about. The furniture of the apartment in which he sat presented odd and striking contrasts to an observer. While some of the articles were for the richness and of their modern style, there were chairs, tables, and cabinets whose sombre and elaborate denoted an of several centuries. On the walls were numerous pictures, dimmed by smoke and time, encased in frames that had lost half their and . These were portraits of , statesmen, priests, and prelates. In the dim corners of the canvas armorial bearings of the house of De Vlierbeck might be seen, and many of the articles of furniture were with the same blazonry.
We were told a while ago that a public sale at Grinselhof had among a crowd of competitors every thing that belonged to Monsieur De Vlierbeck. How has it come to pass that these portraits have returned to their old nails on walls which they seemed to have abandoned forever?
The listless youth rose from the table, walked slowly about the room, stopped, looked mournfully at the portraits, recommenced his walk, and approached an antique casket placed on a bracket in the corner. He opened it with apparent and took out some simple jewelry,—a pair of ear-rings and a coral necklace. He gazed long at these objects as he held them in his hand; a few tears fell on them, a deep sigh escaped from his , and he then replaced the jewels in their casket.
Quitting the room, he to the court. Waiters and servant-maids as he passed: he acknowledged their civility by a silent nod and went to the most parts of the garden. Stopping at the foot of a wild chestnut-tree, he threw himself on the ground, where he sat long in reverie until aroused by the ringing voice of Bess, who approached him with a book in her hand:—
"Here, sir, is a book which Mademoiselle Lenora used to read. My goodman went yesterday to market, where he found the farmer who bought it at the sale. After market was over John accompanied the peasant home, and would not leave him till he had bought the book back again. I suppose it is an excellent book, as Mademoiselle used to love it so; and neither gold nor silver could ever get it from me if it wasn't for you, sir. Husband says it is called LUCIFER'!"
While she was running on, Gustave seized the book eagerly and ran over its pages without paying attention to what she said. "Thank you, thank you for your kind attention, mother Bess!" said he. "You can't think how happy I am whenever I find any thing that belonged to your mistress. Be assured that I will never forget your goodness." After offering this expression of his thanks to the farmer's wife he opened the book again and began to read without her further. But the good woman did not go away, and soon interrupted him with a question:—
"May I ask, sir, if you have any news yet of our young lady?"
Gustave shook his head. "Not the least of news, mother Bess. My search has been fruitless."
"That is unlucky, sir. God knows where she may be and what she is suffering. She told me before she went away that she meant to work for her father; but one must have learned to work very early in life to earn a living by one's hands. My heart almost breaks when I think of it. Perhaps that good, sweet young lady is reduced to work for other people and like a slave to get a mouthful of bread! I have been a servant, sir, and I know what it is to work from morning until night for others. And she,—she who is so beautiful, so clever, so kind! Oh, sir, it is terrible! I can't help crying like a child, thinking of her life!"
Gustave was overcome by the simple of the poor woman, and remained silent.
"And ............
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