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Sketches of Annette multiplied every hour. ' The artist found her figure so graceful and picturesque, and it gave such a charm to his drawings, that he was never tired of copying it; and sooth to say, Annette, with all her simplicity, had enough of woman's vanity in her heart, to be pleased, if not proud of the artist's evident admiration of her.
At this time, too, the young painter, who sometimes amused himself in the composition of simple songs, addressed the following one to Annette, and this piece of rustic gallantry excited the jealousy of her lover into still greater violence.
“ Beautiful maiden, as pure as the snow
On thine own native mountains, wherever I go,
When distant thy sweet face no more I can see.” One evening when Michel returned to the chalet, he found the stranger platting the long tresses of Annette, who was innocently laughing at the awkwardness with which he performed the operation. Michel had, from her infancy, always reserved this task as a labour of love for himself; and his feelings could not have been more wounded had he discovered her in the arms of the stranger.
“ How, faithless girl !” exclaimed he, “and is it come to this? Is all shame gone, that you let a stranger touch those tresses, that my hands alone have heretofore pressed? And you, ungrateful man ! is it thus you repay me for having saved your life? But I will fly from you both for ever !” And so saying, he rushed from the chalet with the frantic haste of a maniac.
The stranger, alarmed by his violence and impetuosity, the cause of which he for the first time clearly discerned, and deeply pained that he should have furnished the occasion for the development of a passion which now raged with such fury, fled in pursuit of Michel, leaving Annette overwhelmed with surprise and grief. Dreadful were the sufferings of the poor girl, as hour after hour elapsed, bringing with them no tidings of her lover or his pursuer. At early dawn, after a night of such wretchedness as she had ever previously been a stranger to, she stood in front of the chalet, straining her eyes in the hope of discerning her lover; when her young sister descried a figure in the distance, and pointed it out to her. The most fearful apprehensions filled her breast, for there was but one figure to be seen, and that with the quick sight of love she discerned was not his.
Alas! the fears of Annette were but too well founded. Durand, the young artist, only returned to prepare for the reception of the corse of the illfated Michel, which, after a long search, was discovered, owing to the barking of his dog, in the very spot whence, but a few days before, he had rescued him who was the innocent cause of the groundless jealousy that led to his own destruction. Whether the unhappy youth had wilfully precipitated himself into the yawning gulf, or that in the rapidity of his flight he had overlooked his vicinity to it, and so had accidentally fallen in, was never ascertained. The charitable-minded of the few persons collected from the neighbouring hamlets were disposed to adopt the latter supposition, while those less goodnatured, declared their convietion that the deceased, driven to madness by jealousy, had thrown himself into the chasm, where his mutilated remains were found—a belief in which they were strengthened by the frantic self-accusations of the wretched Annette, who, with piercing cries, declared herself to be the cause of all. Fearful was the picture presented at the two chalets, so lately the scene of peace and content. The poor old mother of Michel Bauvais, rendered nearly insane by this last terrible atfliction, sat by the corse of her son, and, gazing fondly on the pale face, murmured, from time to time, “ Yes, there he lies, as his father did before him, twenty years ago. Gone from me, without a parting word—a single embrace. These cold lips, that never uttered a word of unkindness to me, cannot return the kiss that I imprint on them. Ah, my son! never before did they receive the touch of mine without returning the pressure. How often in my dreams have I seen you as you now lie, cold, speechless, without life, and I have awoke in agony, to bless God that it was but a dream! But now! oh! my son, my son, who will close the weary eyes of your wretched mother, who will lay her in the grave! The wicked spirits of these dreary mountains first envied me the possession of my poor Claude, and snatched him from me, and now they have torn away my son. Often have I seen a light too bright for mortal ken, shine into his room, when he slept, as if the moon itself had entered his casement, and cast all its beams around his head, just as it used to do around that of his poor father. I ought to have known it boded no good, but I dared not think that my child would be taken from me. I have heard such sighs and whispers, too, in the night, when the wind has shook the chalet, and the snow has been drifted against the windows with a violence that has dashed them to pieces. Ah! I ought to have known that even then the evil spirits that haunt these wild mountains were planning his destruction !"
So raved the poor woman, in all the incoherence of a grief that unsettled her reason, until some of the inhabitants of the nearest hamlet came to remove the corse for interment, when, uttering a piercing shriek, and clasping it in her arms, she fell senseless on the coffin ; and when raised, was found to be dead. Annette had lost all consciousness of the misery around her, in a brain fever, which kept her hovering between life and death during many days. When health once more began to tinge her pale cheek, it was discovered with sorrow by Durand, who had watched over her with unceasing solicitude and unwearying care, that reason reassumed not its empire in her brain. Perfectly harmless and gentle, she did all that she was told to do, with the docility of the most obedient child, but was utterly incapable of the least reflection or of self-government. Durand, considering that he was the cause, though the innocent one, of the afflictions that had befallen these poor families, insisted on becoming their support for the future. He prevailed on the helpless old Martin Vignolles to accompany him, with his two daughters, to Paris, where, having established them
in his home, he left nothing undone to promote their comfort. Fortune, too, favoured the worthy young man who so religiously fulfilled his self-imposed duties; for his pictures, justly admired, produced such high prices, that, after a few years, he secured a handsome competence, and became the happy husband of the pretty Fanchon, the sister of poor Annette, to whom he had given an education that rendered her in every way suitable to be the companion of a person with a cultivated mind. Old Martin Vignolles lived to see the marriage of his Fan. chon, and died blessing his children. And poor Annette still survives, innocent, gentle, and fondly beloved by her sister and Durand, with whose little children she delights to play, offering subjects for his pencil, the representation of which often draw crowds of admirers round them in the gallery of the Louvre.
Queen Bess will take the air to-day, with her princes and her peers,
We'll see this youth who thus would mar gay mantles for our sake;
NIMROD IN FRANCE.*
“Nimrod in France" having attracted more attention than was anticipated, and the subject affording more scope than it was at first thought it would allow, the writer has been induced to resume it; and it is his intention in the series of papers under the above title, to make his readers acquainted with every thing worthy of remark in the doings of our pleasant neighbours across the channel, that has, or may come, under his observation.
THE TRADE OF CALAIS AND SUNDRY OTHER PARTICULARS.
Few persons, perhaps, on the other side the water, are aware of the extent of trade carried on between Calais and London, and other parts of England. In 1838 the amount of tonnage of English vessels which entered the port—not including mail-packets, or what are called passenger steam-boats—amounted to 28,170 tons ! It must be admitted that the recent permission to export English coals has, to a certain extent, swelled this aggregate amount; but, twenty years back, who would have contemplated such an interchange of commerce in one small French port? And a word more touching the said port. It has been in contemplation with our post-office to remove the mails to some other French port. I think the advisers of that measure would rue the day it was put into practice, and the following may be taken as a fair comparison of the facility of approachCalais affords, in bad weather, over Boulogne. During the late tempestuous weather, one of the London and Calais steam-boats, on her passage to Calais, passed, off Margate, two London and Boulogne steam-boats, bound for Boulogne, but they were unable to proceed on their voyage. The Calais boat made her passage, took in a fresh freight, and, on her return to London, found the Boulogne steamers still lying off Margate.
Great improvements are threatened to be made in Calais harbour, and no sailor who knows it but acknowledges the necessity for them to make it complete, by preventing the changes that occur on the bar by the prevalence of certain winds. It is to be lamented that the French are so tardy in these matters of necessity; and even in trifling matters, their want of a little English energy is much against them in a pecuniary point of view. I will adduce Calais and its vicinity as an instance.
I have already observed that, from its locality, to such of the English as wish to reside in France, and are content or compelled to live without the great and active pleasures of life, there is no place in the kingdom to be compared to Calais. But, what say the English who land at Calais, and feel inclined to tarry there, or in its neighbourhood ? Why, they naturally first of all ask, “ Where are we to live? We can find no house equal to afford us the conveniences we require. But is it not extraordinary,” they as naturally resume, “ that where so many opportunities present themselves-sound and dry commons, for example, which, if planted and improved would form excellent sites for the pur
• Continued from No. ccxxx., page 204.,
pose, neat and convenient houses, after our villa or cottage ornée fashion, are not erected, inasmuch as they would instantly find English tenants ?” All this is true. I have already spoken of the acknowledged salubrity of the air here (there is a noble family, indeed, now in Calais for the sole advantage of it), and it is easily accounted for. In all air there is more or less of that principle which is essential to life and health ; but the air which, as is the case here, passes over an immense tract of ocean, is of all others the purest ; better calculated, generally for the purposes of breathing in weakly persons, at all seasons of the year; and from being refrigerated or cooled as well as purified, the bad effects of the sultry heats of the summer months are at once counteracted by it. Then what a noble expanse of sands for the enjoyment of horseexercise ! “ Admitted,” say all who make a trial of Calais as a residence; " but change of scene is essential, both in a physical and mental point of view; we get tired of the sands, day after day, and we want some object in view in our rides and drives.” We want some pretty villages within our reach, in which there are clean little inns, to afford us the opportunity of making some country excursions, and refreshing ourselves and our horses as we do in our own country. We go to the garden of roses—a beautiful exhibition we admit, of at least fifteen hundred sorts of the queen of all flowers, but only visible during one month of the year. We drove to Pont Sanspareil, one of the wonders of the present age; but the wonder is, that at neither of these places, nor on Guines forest -classic ground—is there a house which a decent person can enter. Were such places of amusement and recreation within similar distances of any English town, which might be the resort of strangers, there would be the sign of “The Rose without the Thorn” at the first ; the “ Hotel Sanspareil” at the second ; and the “ Field of Gold Cloth” at the third ;-all clean little inns, at which refreshments might be had, or in which those brought by parties-à la pic-nic-might be enjoyed with some degree of comfort, which is out of the case as things are hereby all such at least who are not deprived of the senses of smell and vision. Neither is the little town of Guines unworthy of the notice of the inquisitive traveller, by reason of there being now extant some remains of the chapels or temples made use of by that class of protestants called Huguenots, and which are to be seen on application to a gentleman residing in the town, who has preserved several of their relics for the inspection of the curious.
Perhaps I may scarcely obtain credit with many of my countrymen, when I state the following fact. Such things, they will say, cannot be in the year 1840: There is, within less than three miles of Calais, a most abundant spring of water, of the purest quality. “Of course," my countrymen will say, “it supplies Calais with water.” Such is not the case, although I should imagine four thousand pounds would accomplish the desirable object. Calais is supplied by water-carts, from a spring of very indifferent quality a mile from the gates, but chiefly with rain-water, falling into tanks from the roofs of the houses, mixed, of course, with what filth there may be (and there always is filth, from cats, &c.) on the said roofs. * And why are not the neighbouring marshes drained ?" an Englishman would naturally inquire. The reason is, it would require the application of the steam-engine to effect this object; and here the want of energy and of spirit, and perhaps of money, in matters of this nature is apparent. However, it may not be