I derive my family title from the noble old castle in which my father and mother lived.
The chateau possessed battlements, solid walls, towers black with age, and of undoubted historic interest,—but it was not a cheerful residence all the same.
My father was lord of the small town of Pontgibaud, and a good number of parishes round, and united in his own person all the feudal rights of lay and clerical patronage,—for he nominated the curés of most of the neighbouring villages. The Comte and Comtesse de Chaliers lived amongst their vassals, who were all dependent on their bounty. No one in the district knew anything about the rights of man, but all did know, and practise, the duties of gratitude and respect. It is a fact that whenever my mother went out, the women and children fell on their knees, and called for heaven's blessing on their lady, and the men, even the oldest, took off their caps when they saw their master and mistress coming, and set the church bells ringing. What harm was there in