Изображения страниц

in his labours to the extent of his strength Claude, in a voice tremulous with emoand abilities. They all three followed tion, “for none knew her worth as well the path which wound along the hill.side, as I did.” and soon came in sight of their own little “And the worst of it is, that she has cabin, situated half-way between Rose- been the means of your losing a good auvel and the citadel of Kelern. When place with Mr. Lenoir. How the plague the eyes of Claude rested on the lowly did you come to neglect your work there thatched roof, lighted up by the setting for eight days ?” sun, he felt his heart bowed down with " It was necessary that I should do so grief. Recollections of former days came to take care of Cat

ne." across him, though he strove to banish “ Catherine! Catherine! You might them from his thoughts; the days when have left her with the children. Besides, he used to hear the voice of Catherine in you knew that there was no hope." the distance, announcing to the children “One never feels sure of that when one his approach, and the joyous laugh of loves those who are dying, sir," replied Peter as he hastened forward to meet Claude, with a deep and naïve expression him, leading Rénée by the hand. Now of feeling ; “so long as she spoke to me, all was silent, deserted ! Death had and looked at me, I never could believe visited the cabin-life and joy had de- that she was going to leave us!" parted from it!

Mr. Royer made an inpatient moveClaude heaved a half-suppressed sigh, ment with his head. grasped his two children by the hand, and “You see what it has all ended in, you drew them closer to his side. Hence - fool! she is dead, and died eight days too forth they must be his strength and con- late ; for Mr. Lenoir, who could not wait, solation.

has got another workman from Brest for At the turning of the road, however, his brick-kiln! Where will you find work and just as he had arrived in front of the now ?" cabin, he perceived Mr. Royer seated on “I will go and offer myself every. a stone

bench by the door, waiting for where," replied Morvan. him. This Mr. Royer, formerly a pub. " And you will be received nowhere,” lican in Brest, had lately retired to Rose continued the former publican ; "you auvel, where he had bought small farms, know as well as I do that it is the dead op one of which was situated the little season-more hands than work; and, cottage now inhabited by Morvan. He moreover, you owe me a quarter's rent!" dwelt not far from the village, at a half- “I have not forgotten it, sir,” said ruined manor; the lands of which he cul. Claude, “and I will pay you." tivated in an unproductive and niggardly “Is it with the pig you sold to buy way. Among his neighbours he bore the medicine for the deceased? or with your character of an avaricious and cruel man. furniture, which all went to pay for her Two or three times he had been sum. funeral, and the cross which you planted moned before a justice of the peace, on on her grave ?" sternly inquired Mr. account of his ill-treatment of those who Royer, “as if you could not be satisfied were employed in his service.

with a pauper's funeral and a hole in the As our new acquaintances approached cemetery for your wife!" him, Claude Moryan took off his hat, and “Alas, sir," replied Morvan, “it was the little boy followed his father's ex- the last thing I shall ever be able to do ample. Mr. Royer remained seated, and for her. These are ideas one cannot get did not even return their salutation. rid of. If I had not done for her what

“Well, so your wife is dead,” he said, is done for others, I should have felt as with that tone of cold indifference the if I had insulted her memory. She who foolish and the hard-hearted often affeet had spent her life for us, had she not a towards their inferiors'; “ do you know right that we should honour her in death? that is a great misfortune for you ?” With the cross there, we shall at least

"I ought to know it, sir;" replied: not forget where her poor body lies, and


we shall know where to kneel down to "I will not go to the manor,” said pray for her."

Peter, equally terrified. Royer shrugged his shoulders, and “ What is this! what is this I hear !" muttered to himself, “Yet one more de- exclaimed Royer, seizing the latter by the graded victim of superstition ! no matter. ear, “you are going to play the rebel, are The result is that now you are ruined, you ? You shall come where I choose to and have, I suppose, no means left to pay take you, you young scoun:\rel !" Is it not so ?”

“Excuse me, sir,” interrupted Morvan, “At this moment-it is true—that I who drew his son towards him, “but I could not manage” faltered out Mor- cannot part with these poor little creavan, hesitatingly.

tures." “Well, then you may seek a lodging “ You refuse to give them to me, elsewhere,” replied the publican. “I have then !” exclaimed the publican. found another tenant, and you must turn “I like better to keep them with me,” out to-morrow, seeing that I am offered replied Claude, somewhat embarrassed ; an increase of two crowns in the rent." they are accustomed to be at home

Although Claude was not prepared for and they would be unhappy any where so hasty an ejection, he offered no resist- else.” ance, and showed no ill-humour.

Mr. Royer stood up, crimson with rage. “Every one is master of his own pro- Ah! I did not expect this, I must say," perty," replied he, “and since you can said he. “I offer him the means of clearget a higher rent, sir, I would not be the ing off his debt without even drawing his means of hindering you from doing so. purse-strings, and by taking a heavy I have in the bay of Dinant a cousin, charge off his hands, and he refuses ! and who will not, I hope, refuse me a shelter, for what reason, I should like to know? and I will set off to-morrow with my Is it because they ask to stay with you ? children.”

And do they even know why they wish “Wait a moment, if you please,” said it? Let us see, now, you young rascal, the landlord, rising from his seat. "When what reason have you to give ?” once you are off, you carry my receipt on I wish to ent when I am hungry; and the soles of your shoes ; we must settle at the manor one cannot have bread when our accounts before you go.”

one wishes for it," answered Peter. “I thought I had told you, sir,” re- “What is that you dare to say ?" said plied Claude, with much embarrassment, Mr. Royer, lifting his hand. * that I was at this moment literally “I do not wish to be beaten, and peowithout a penny.”

ple are beaten at the manor," continued “ Very likely,” said Mr. Royer, “but the child, resolutely. you are not without children; give them The publican tried to seize and chas. both to me, to take care of my cattle, and tise him for the boldness of these accusaI will consider you quit of your debt.” tions, which unfortunately were too well

On hearing this unexpected proposal, justified by facts, and fully known to Peter and Rénée, who had until now lis. the whole parish. Claude arrested his tened to the conversation with the in- hand. difference natural at their age, suddenly “Ah! this is the way you bring up raised their heads, and were all attention. your children ! cried Royer, almost be.

“It will be all clear gain on your side," side himself; "you teach them to insult continued the landlord, " for you will get their master, and to eat lies. But I rid of these two little brats, whom I will will be even with them yet. Woe be to teach how to labour, and make them them, if ever I meet with them !” selves useful.”

“ It is just to avoid that, that I keep The two children pressed closer to thom with me,” said Morvan, with some their father's side.

emotion. “Nobody has ever yet raised “I will not go with him!” cried Rénée, a hand on them, and nobody ever shall with an expression of fear.

raise one while I can prevent it."


[ocr errors]

“You dare to threaten me, do you !" were each moment assuming a replied the furious landlord, "this is the threatening aspect-heavy clouds swept reward of my patience, or rather of my across the neighbouring downs, and just folly-you shall not abuse my kindness as our travellers reached the beach which any longer. Pay me at once the back separates Kelern from Camaret, the rents, or I will turn you out this evening storm burst over their heads with fearful - this very moment."

violence. Claude anxiously drew his Morvan shuddered—“You will not do children towards him, and looked around that, sir !"

for a shelter, but there was no house near “No!” replied Royer exasperated, enough for them to have a chance of " that remains to be proved—Will you reaching it. At length, he happily repay me at once ?"

membered the “Pierced Grotto,” and has“Alas ! you know that it is not in my tened to seek its shelter, bearing along power to do so."

with him his two children. This name In that case,” said the landlord, “I of “ Pierced Grotto,” had been given to will exercise my right,” and snatching a conical rock, whose interior, hollowed the key from the door of the cabin, he out by the hand of nature, communicated turned hastily away, and quickly dis- by a sort of chimney at its summit with appeared amidst the windings of the road. the external air. Oftentimes it served The peasant remained at first petrified as a place of refuge to the fishermen, with surprise, then, carried away by his shepherds, and children of the neighindignation, he darted forward in pursuit bourhood. It was beyond the reach of of the publican, but the cries of his the waves, and where the spring-tides frightened children suddenly arrested his barely reached its entrance. Here Člaude steps. He remembered what would be and his children found the remains of a the consequences of a struggle against fire which had been lighted during the the power of this man—a lawsuit, per- day, and some fragments of wood which hapsa prison. Peter and Rénée left had been collected on the beach to keep it without a protector. This thought soon alive. Some large stones formed a rude quelled his irritation. He returned to hearth, around which others had been the two children, took them by the hand, placed, so as to serve for seats. A heap and stood irresolute for some moments of dried sea-weed occupied the corner of before the closed door of his cabin. Should the grotto, and might be used in case of he return to Mr. Royer, and attempt to necessity to feed the flame. Morvan remove him from his purpose ? or should he kindled the dying embers, made the chilgo straight to his cousin ? Aftor a few dren sit close to the fire to dry their clothes, minutes reflection, he decided on the lat- and took out of the basket some provisions ter course.

The evening was only just which supplied them with a frugal meal. beginning to close in; by hastening his The storm, so far from diminishing, seemed steps he might yet arrive at Dinant, every moment to gain fresh strength, the before the door was closed for the night. wind whistled through the crevices of He took out a basket which had fortu- the rock, and the sea roared as it foamed nately been left in a little outhouse, and over the pebbles on the beach ; torrents which contained a few remnants of pro- of rain, swept along by the wind at one visions, then encouraging Peter and moment beat against the grotto, and the Rénée, whose spirits had begy to flag, next fell in streams upon the sand. he once more turned his steps towards Claude was sufficiently well acquainted the promotory of Kelern, which lay with the character of these ocean storms between him and Dinant.

to know that this one would last at least The presence of his children obliged throughout tbe night, and that it was him to walk slowly along, and being useless to think of quitting their asylum absorbed in his own mournful reflections before the morning dawn. He therefore - he gave but little heed to surrounding spread the dry sea.weed on the floor of objects. In the meantime, the heavens | the cavern to make a bed for the children,

and having covered them with his own account, and pursue his former avocation coat, returned to seat himself by the fire. of lime-burner with profit to himself. The tranquil breathing of the little ones Ah! if he only possessed money enough soon showed him that they slept. Satis- to construct a furnace and to buy the fied on this point, he rested his elbows on broom and furze needful for fuel. But his knees, and, leaning his head upon his all he possessed was a hearty good will hands, tried if he could not also himself and unfeigned confidence in God! To obtain some repose.

But the remem- Him he addressed a fervent prayer for brance of Catherine, and of his two help and counsel, and doubtless his prayer orphan children, kept him wakeful against was heard. his will. He asked himself how he could The earliest dawn of day, having ever replace to these poor little ones the lighted up the interior of the grotto, good and self-denying mother they had Claude was struck with its form, and lost; how he should preserve them from quickly perceived that it could easily be cold and from hunger; where, in fact, he turned into a natural furnaee. He reshould ever find work to enable him to solved at once to make the attempt. support both himself and them ? The Having brought Rénée and Peter to words of Mr. Royer recurred to his me. Dinant, and left them to the care of his mory, and he was forced to acknowledge cousin, who promised to take charge of that they were but too true.

them for some days, he returned to the First employed at Brest as lime-burner, grotto, bringing with him a certain quan. at Roseauvel as brickmaker, he was in. tity of flint stones, chosen on the beach, capable of guiding either a boat, a plough, collected as much dried sea-weed as he or a team, and had, in consequence, but could find, arranged all in the order to little chance of occupation in a country which he was accustomed, and set it on whose chief employments consisted in fire. The first attempt was not entirely agriculture and navigation. These re- successful, but it was sufficiently so to flections contributed to cast a yet deeper induce a neighbouring farmer to supply gloom over his spirits, aud at last, he was him with a cartload of furze and beath, almost beginning to regret that he had with the help of which he produced refused Mr. Royer's proposition, when some excellent lime that quickly found a suddenly his attention was arrested by sale. the appearance of the stones which served At the end of a few years, Claude as hearth to the fire now blazing at his Morvan was rich enough to build a kiln feet. Calcined by the flame, they were at about two hundred paces from the becoming white, and had begun to assume “Pierced Grotto," which had become too all the appearance of lime. Morvan confined for his operations. A little later looked at them more closely, drew them might be seen, near the kiln, a small from the hearth, rolled them up to the white house with a pretty garden in entrance of the cave, that he might submit front, surrounded by a green paling, and them to the action of the water, and soon here an old man used to pace up and acquired the certainty that they were down, leaning on a young man and a actually turned into lime. This discovery blooming girl, clad in the garb ordi. was like a flash of lightning across his narily worn by the rich artisans of the darkened path. If even a part of the town. This was Claude Morvan, with pebbles on the beach were calcareous, then Peter and Rénée, who, by their gratitude there lay within his reach an inexhaus- and tender care, fully repaid all his for. tible mine of wealth. Every tide would mer anxieties. bear upon its bosom some loads of this The “ Pierced Grotto" is always precious material ready for the furnace. pointed out to strangers as the origin of This idea took possession of Claude's an establishment which has proved, a mind, and for that night sleep was source of productive indastry to the banished from his eyes. He began to con- country round, as well as the means of sider how he could turn this discovery to enriching a poor and worthy family.


that the carpet was beaten on purpose to NEIGHBOURS' QUARRELS.

spite her, and give her trouble. As it is Most people think there are cares Mrs. Tibbets and Mrs. Williams hate one enough in the world, and yet many are another with a perfect hatred. very industrious to increase them:-One Neighbours ! Neighbours ! bear with of the readiest ways of doing this is to one another, we are none of us angels, quarrel with a neighbour. A bad bargain and should not, therefore, expect those may vex a man for a week; and a bad about us to be free from faults. debt may trouble him for a month, but a They who attempt to out-wrangle a quarrel with his neighbours will keep quarrelsome neighbour, go the wrong him in hot water all the year round. way to work; a kind word, and still

Aaron Hands delights in fowls, and his more a kind deed, will be more likely to cocks and hens are always scratching up be successful. Two children wanted to the flower-beds of his neighbour, William pass by a savage dog, the one took a stick Wilkes, whose mischievous tom.cat, every in his hand and pointed it at him, but now and then, runs off with a chicken. this only made the enraged creature The consequence is, that William Wilkes more furious than before. The other is one-half the day occupied in driving child adopted a different plan, for by away the fowls, and threatening to screw giving the dog a piece of his bread and their long ugly necks off; while Aaron butter, he was allowed to pass, the subHands, in his periodical outbreaks, in dued animal wagging his tail in quietude. variably vows to skin his neighbour's cat, If you happen to have a quarrelsome as sure as he can lay hold of him. neighbour, conquer him by civility and

Neighbours! Neighbours! Why can kindness, try the bread and butter sysyou not be at peace? Not all the fowls you tem, and keep your stick out of sight. can rear, and the flowers you can grow, That is an excellent Christian adınonwill make amends for a life of anger, ition. “A soft answer turneth away hatred, malice, and uncharitableness. wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.'' Come to some kind-hearted understanding - Prov. xv. 1. one with another, and dwell in peace. Neighbours' quarrels are a mutual re

Upton, the refiner, had a smoky chim- proach, and yet a stick or a straw is ney, that sets him and all the neighbour. sufficient to promote them. One man is hood by the ears. The people around rich, and another poor; one is a churchabuse him without mercy, complaining man, another a dissenter; one is a Conthat they are poisoned, and declaring servative, another a Liberal; one hates that they will indict him at the sessions. another because he is of the same trade, Upton fiercely sets them at defiance, on and another is bitter with his neighbour the ground that his premises were built because he is a Jew or a Roman Catholic. before theirs, that his chimney did not Neighbours! Neighbours ! live in love, come to them, but that they came to his and then while you make others happy, chimney.

you will be happier yourselves. Neighbours! Neighbours ! practice a That bappy man is surely blest. little more forbearance. Had half a dozen Who of the worst things makes the best;

Whilst he must be of temper curst, of you waited on the refiner in a kindly

Who of the best things makes the worst. spirit, he would years ago have só altered

" Be ye all of onè mind,” says the his chimney, that it would not have an

Apostle, “having compassion one of anMrs. Tibbets is thoughtless, if it were courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or

other; love as brethren, be pitiful, be not so she would never have had her railing for railing, but contrariwise bless, large dusty carpet beaten, when her ing." – 1 Pet. iii. 8. 9. To a rich man I neighbour, who had a wash, was having would say, bear with and try to serve those her wet clothes hung out to dry. Mrs. who are below you; and to a poor oneWilliams is hasty and passionate, or she would never have taken it for granted

Fear God, love peace, and mind your labour ;
And never, never quarrel with your neighbour,

noyed you.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »