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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 132.djvu/368

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CONDITION OF THE LARGER PLANETS.

poor beggar woman, with a child in her arms, went by.

"For God's sake, my good gentleman," she said, in a supplicating tone, "give me something for this poor child!"

Vincent drew out his purse, and looked into it for an instant, as though he were searching for small coin. Finding none, he took a five-franc piece and gave it to the woman.

"Mercy!" she exclaimed, almost in a tone of fear. "How can I thank you, sir? May God preserve you and yours, and return to you in blessings what you have done for me!"

She moved on, and Vincent's eyes followed her. "Halloa! here, woman!" he called out, abruptly.

The beggar woman looked round and hesitated. She feared to turn back lest the banker should have made a mistake and wish to take back his alms.

"Come back, I say," repeated Vincent. "No one wants to harm you; an the contrary. But make haste; I have no time to lose."

The poor woman came up.

"Here," said Vincent, "take all," and he poured the contents of his purse into her hand. The woman was struck dumb with surprise for a few seconds. When she recovered her speech, and began to stammer forth her thanks, Vincent had disappeared.

Guerre, the coachman, had been waiting more than an hour. At last he grew impatient.

"Martha!" he cried, "is not monsieur up? It is nearly eight."

The servant went to the kitchen door and glanced up at the bedroom windows. The curtains were still drawn.

"This is very strange," she said, "for monsieur always gets up at six. I'll go up and see what has happened."

In a few minutes she came down again, scared, pale, and trembling.

"Guerre," she said, in a hoarse whisper, "come quick. Our master ———" She could say no more, but the old coachman understood that some misfortune had happened. He came into the house and ran up-stairs as fast as his old legs would carry him. Martha followed. The two servants stopped at the entrance of the sitting-room, and Martha pointed silently to the bedroom door. Guerre went in with faltering steps.

The bright sunshine lighted up the room in spite of the curtains and the blinds. On the table stood two candlesticks, in which the lights had burned down to the sockets. Between them, placed so as to catch the eye at once, Guerre saw a paper, on which a few lines were written; and in front of the hearth, lying in a pool of blood, the corpse of Casimir Vincent. Guerre picked up an open razor, smeared with blood, and placed it, with a shudder, on the table. He then took up the paper which he had noticed on entering the room, and read as follows: —

"Weary of life, I have sought death. My affairs are in good order. My will is in the hands of M. Vidal, the notary.
"Casimir Vincent."

The funeral took place quietly the next day. All the members of the "Cercle de l'Esplanade" attended. A portion of the banker's wealth went to distant relatives. René Sabatier, however, had a large legacy, and a still more considerable sum was bequeathed to the town of Lunel for the foundation of a charitable institution. The clergy offered no opposition to the burial of the suicide in consecrated ground; and René Sabatier, remembering the last remarks of his unhappy friend, caused a stone to be placed on his grave, with the following inscription: —

"A MAN, WEARY OF LIFE,
HAS SOUGHT REPOSE HERE:
PRAY FOR HIM!"




From The Popular Science Review.

CONDITION OF THE LARGER PLANETS.

BY RICHARD A. PROCTOR, F.R.A.S.

M. Vogel's recent researches into the spectra of the planets are regarded by him as affording evidence unfavorable to the opinion that the planets Jupiter and Saturn are still so intensely hot as to shine in some degree with inherent light. Although it is not at all necessary for the general theory which I have advocated respecting the condition of the larger planets that any portion of their lustre should be regarded as inherent, yet as Vogel's conclusion does bear to some degree on one of the arguments which have been urged in favor of this theory, the opportunity seems convenient for summing up these arguments and discussing briefly the considerations on which M. Vogel bases his objection.

I would remark at the outset that I do not by any means share the opinion of