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From Royal Palace To Lowly Hut
by [?]



During those unhappy times when the Empire of France was overthrown and a number of the richest people were plunged into the deepest misery, a very wealthy family, named Berlow, lived in a palace in Paris.

Count Berlow was a high-minded, honorable man, and his wife was good and charitable. Their two children, Albert and Marguerite, were the exact counterpart of their parents.

Just as those revolutionary times broke forth, Count Berlow, with his family, moved from Paris to his mansion in the suburbs. Here he lived quietly, surrounded by orchards of fruitful trees, free from the turmoil of the noisy city. His family rejoiced at having him constantly in their midst and he was glad at the opportunity of being the instructor of his children, particularly in music.

One gloomy winter evening, the family was gathered in the brilliantly lighted music room. Count Berlow had composed a pretty little poem, and had fitted it to music. Albert had with difficulty mastered the playing of it, but Marguerite could sing the song remarkably well. The children had practised this piece faithfully and diligently and purposed to surprise their mother by singing and playing it that very evening. After the Count and Countess had sung several operatic selections, the father turned to his children, saying: “Let us hear what you can do.” Albert seated himself at the piano and played, while Marguerite modestly sang in a sweet tone.

The Countess was delighted over this, their first song. She embraced both the children affectionately, and praised them for their efforts and the pleasure which they had afforded her.

Suddenly, the door was thrust open, and armed soldiers crowded into the room. The leader presented an order in which the Count was declared a friend of the King and an enemy of freedom and equality, and in consequence he was to be conducted to prison. Although the Countess, weeping and lamenting, threw her arms about her husband’s neck to hold and guard him, and his children clung to his knees, the soldiers rudely tore him from their embrace. The cries of the mother and children were heart-rending.

The unhappy wife did everything in her power to save her dear husband. She hastened to the city and appeared before the magistrate, to prove the Count’s innocence. She called upon all her neighbors to bear testimony to her husband’s quiet, retiring life, and to the fact that he had taken no share in the affairs of his country, and had talked with no one concerning them. But everything was in vain, and she was informed that in a few days her husband would be sentenced to death.

After an absence of several days, the Countess returned to her country seat and found her home occupied by soldiers, who had ransacked it and reduced it to a common tavern to which admittance was denied her. Her two children were nowhere to be found, and all her servants had been driven away. It was late at night, and she knew not what to do next.

As she turned, she met Richard, her old, true and faithful servant, who said to her: “My dear, good Countess Berlow, you, too, stand in danger of suspicion this very minute, for you have been heard to speak of the injustice and cruelty of the government. There is no escape for you, except by secret flight. You cannot save your husband, and your presence here will only bring trouble upon your own head. Your children are both in one of the out-houses with my wife. Follow me there. My brother, John, the old fisherman, has been notified, and I will take you to him to-night. He will conduct you and your children across the river to safety. In this way you will at least save your lives.”

She entered Richard’s house, but there a new trouble awaited her, for Marguerite had become suddenly ill from the fright and the shock, and lay unconscious, sick with a high fever. The Countess wished to nurse her child back to health, but the doctor would not hear of it, and advised her immediate flight. Richard and his good wife promised to care for the sick child, as if it were their own.