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them down, please, M. Henri, and we'll stop
their pillaging."

The little viscount shook the bough lustily,
and the insects fell in swarms, many of them
dropping on his upturned face and bare neck;
he brushed them off with a cry of dislike, but
more fell next moment. The peasants, with
their wooden shoes, soon crushed the fallen
brood. A growl of thunder was heard afar off.
I called to the child to come down, but it was
not until he had gathered two of the apples that
he would obey. When he descended he was
flushed and trembling.

"Tiens, M. Kirby," said he, "can caterpillars
sting? I feel as if I had fallen among the
nettles, as I did last year. My neck smarts, and
so do my hands, and oh, how my face burns!"

To my surprise I found the child's face and
neck covered with dull red blotches, while his
little hands were hot and dry, and he trembled
like a leaf.

"My poor Henri, we must go home at once,"
said I, getting alarmed, while the quick natures
of those around us broke out into loud

The sky darkened fast, and a bright flash of
lightning gleamed across the horizon, followed
by the deep roll of advancing thunder. The
poor little boy was in much pain; he put his
weak little hand to his head, and moaned as he
lay in my arms. He was getting delirious, or at
least stupified with the rapid progress of fever.

"Quick!" I exclaimed. "Pierre, help me to
carry M. Henri home. The doctor must be
fetched at once."

A laugh, as harsh as the croak of a raven,
followed my words, and something red came
rustling and glancing through the bushes of the
nearest thicket.

"The Cape Rouge! The Mère Chardon!"
cried the peasants, huddling together. Sure
enough, the goblin face and dwarfish figure of
the malignant hag, in her frouzy red cape, and
leaning on her crutch, hobbled out from the
screen of embrowned leaves. Her grey hair
fluttered loose, and her eyes sparkled with hate
and cunning. She lifted her crutch as if it had
been the wand of a wicked fairy, and cried, in
an ear-piercing voice:

"Ah! evil race of the Vauxmesnils! Brood
of vipers with gilded skin! The curse works,
does it? You who oppress and scorn the poor:
you who robbed me of home and hope: you on
whose heads lie my son's blood and my daughter's
shame: you who even murder the little
birds of the forest, blight and wither, old and
young, till none of ye be left!"

Through the storm and through the rain and
the hoarse roar of the tempest, Pierre and I hastily
carried the helpless child home. As I looked
half timidly back amid the gathering blackness
and the fitful glare of the forked flashes, I could
still see the figure in the red cape, with streaming
grey hair and upraised staff, screaming out
unheard curses in the very rush of the tempest.
I have seldom seen so painful a sight as the
château presented, when the child was laid on
his little bed. The sorrow of the mother
was passionate and unrestrained, but I think it
was still more distressing to mark the anguish of
the stern proud father, callous to all the world
besides. M. Tonot was sent for and came in
haste, but could do nothing.

"If you will take my advice, M. le Marquis,
you will send to Lyons for advice at once, and
by telegraph. No ordinary physician will be
able to deal with such a case. Send for Dr.
Servans himself."

The marquis groaned, for the name of Servans
was associated in the department with the most
advanced principles in politics, and there had
been something like a personal antipathy
between the Legitimist noble and the Republican
doctor. But he meekly obeyed, and I myself
hurried to send off the message. A train left
Lyons within the hour, and, in a few minutes
after its arrival at Rochaigue station, the famous
physician stood knitting his grey eyebrows by the
bedside of the dying boy. He had never spoken
since we brought him in. His eyes were half
closed, and he did not know any one present:
not the nurse crying at the foot of the bed: not
the mother sobbing beside his pillow: not the
hard and haughty father, never haughty or hard
to him, who stood by, with unwonted tears in
his eyes.

It was piteous to see the imploring eagerness
with which the marquis scanned the face of
his old enemy the doctor, trying to read hope
there. Dr. Servans saw the pain and quivering
anxiety written on the ordinarily impassive face,
and his own shaggy brows twitched, and his
rough voice was unusually gentle, as he asked
the necessary questions.

"Had the child been stung by a snake?
Well, then, had he eaten any berry, or herb, in
the woods? Who was with him when it

"Mr. Kirby, the English tutor."

I gave a brief account of what had occurred.
Dr. Servans saw light amid the darkness.

"The caterpillaryou say you preserved one,
monsieurlet me see it!"

I drew out the tin box, and the doctor
pronounced the insect to be a specimen of the rare
and poisonous Bombyx processionea, whose
touch, or even smell, is well known by naturalists
to produce violent pain, inflammation, fever, and

Why prolong a sad tale? The great physician
could do nothing.

Three blouse-clad men then came up, carrying
on a hurdle something that lay still and shapeless,
something in a tattered Red Cape. There
was an awe-stricken look on the men's worn faces.

"Struck by lightning, you say?" cried the
doctor. "Ah! l can do nothing here, my