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REVISED EDITION WITH HELPS TO STUDY

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SHORT STORIES
EDITED FOR SCHOOL USE
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HARRY

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SCHWEIKERT

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL,

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LOUIS, MO.

FORESMAN AND COMPANY
CHICAGO
NEW YORK
SCOTT,

Copyright 1913, 1920

By

oCott^ Foresman and

Company

OEC -8 1920

ROBERT

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EDITION BOOK

LAW COMPANY
MANUFACTURERS

CHICAGO. U.S.A.
©CU604634

1918. Special acknowledgments are due to Mr. but in all of them there has been a preponderance of English and American stories. Louis LaCroix. Numerous texts have been prepared to meet this new tendency. use. Miller and Mr. ceived much help and stimulation from the He has also re- many recent books on the art of the short story. especially in that of our Allies. both of the Mercantile Library of St. The present war has greatly stimulated interest in con- Of all The high tinental literature. C. Mr. April. The editor wishes to make a general acknowledgment . Louis. collection of of his indebtedness to all previous editors of collections of short stories which included the French. . R. and to the editor's friend and colleague. these none is richer in its fiction than France.C. St. for their many courtesies. 3 H. artistic excellence of the French short story has long been recognized and the more important French writers are well known everywhere but up to the present no representative French short stories has been made for school This volume aims to present such a collection. E.. Mo.PREFACE w In late years constantly increasing attention has been given to the study of the short story in our schools and colleges. Alpiser.. The few foreign some of the stories included in collections implied a scant recognition of the fact that there were excellent stories in literatures other than those in the English language. Acknowledgments to publishers will be found in connec- tion with the stories themselves.S. Louis.A.

.

274 . The Short Story of Antiquity II. \ 2S2 of Notre Dame . 5 84 . The Short Stpry in Modem France 7 • 12 15 Pronouncing Glossary IS Balzac 19 An Episode of the Eeign of Terror The Atheist Colonel 's 21 Mass 45 Chabert 67 Merimee 143 Mateo Falcone 144 Musset 159 • Croisilles 160 Maupassant 192 The Necklace The Wreck 194 205 Fright 219 Two 227 Friends The Hand 235 Daudet 243 The Last Lesson The Pope 's Mule The Reverend Father Gaucher 247 251 's Elixir 262 Coppee A 273 Piece of Bread Fraxce The Juggler .CONTEXTS PAGE Preface 3 Introduction The Short -Story Today I. III.

CONTENTS 6 PAGE Bazin The Birds 291 in the Letter-Box 292 Claretie 300 301 Boum-Boum Lemaitre The Siren 309 310 Appendix Helps to Study The Short Story Form Plan for the Study of a Short Story ' Stories in This Volume Chronological Table of Short Stories ^ '320 321 321 329 .

In France his stories had the good fortune to be translated by Baudelaire (1856-1865). and the short story is as old as However. when the modern novel began to shape itself. both in poetry and prose. especially in England. romance. subject to special laws of its own. and in 1842 he wrote his famous review of Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales. until today the terms novel. his first story. and Russia. For many centuries looseness in the matter of construction was characteristic of the long story and the short. and short story have come to mean something fairly distinctive. comparatively modern times to give close attention to the definition of the literary forms now included in the general term prose fiction. and with such remarkable fidelity and exquisite style did the Frenchman perforin his task that the stories ranked practically as original work. But looseness of structure was not definitely attacked until about the middle of the last century when Poe. by precept and practice. Both the Tales and the critique are landmarks in the development of the short story. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Germany. and. He published Berenice. proclaimed the short story as something new and distinct in fiction. the short story gradually began to emerge as a separate variety. it has been left to the art of narration itself. more care was bestowed on the question of form. 7 . Poe's influence in this development can hardly be over-emphasized.INTRODUCTION The Short Story Today Fiction in its most comprehensive sense is coeval with the beginnings of literature. as the art of fiction progressed. in 1835. Poe became equally popular in other countries.

and writers have not been slow therefore. education is almost common property. action has become more and more specialized. In the last fifty years It is of life. Besides. want created in large part by the conditions of modern life." says Prof. "The subject-matter with which prose fiction deals." fiction writers "all have something to say about And again. fills a natural in taking advantage of this demand for brevity. has become more complicated. as well as the fundamental elements of construction. have imposed restrictions on leisure for reading.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 8 an ancient truism to say that literature is a reflection but the idea has special application in a consideration of the development of the short story. life. In the earlier magazine^ more particularly in England." That . a surpris- number of these stories find their way into book form. "is human life itself. In a general way the material is the same for both. A concomitant factor in the popularization of the short story is the stupendous growth of the magazine as a medium of jDublication. especially in America.inevitably suggests a contrast with the novel. This insistent and constantly growing demand has not only stimuingly large lated production. under countless conditions of existence. however. so that today a hundred readers find time for a short story to one life who can devote himself to a The long novel. short story. short stories were used mainly as "fillers. the experience of the race." while today the bookstands everywhere fairly groan with magazines which loudly proclaim themselves as containing short stories only. assuring them a greater degree of permanency.. the field of human thought and endeavor has widened. A study of the short story. These very conditions. Bliss Perry. and reading a universal habit. it has also been responsible for greater merit in the stories themselves. Even the more conservative of the older periodicals do not hesitate to call special attention to their short stories.

long or short. the novel is more expansive in theme and more elastic in treatment. some of the points just made apply to the short story as well. of course. Opportunity for the portrayal of is is given for leisurely narration.INTRODUCTION 9 surely is broad enough to include both novel and short story. . however. and plot. But has become the fashion to discriminate between the novel and the short story and much has been written in this it connection. In the novel there an elaborate plot. In every story. In some such way the ideals of the novel may be summarized. what Rules have been formulated as to what is and not a short story. In general. as will not obscure the description — which the writer wishes to create. and. reproduce a larger phase of life than the short story. setting. frequently supported by one or more sub-plots which help to create the complication in which much of the interest of the story is embodied. In order to bring out these distinguishing is features of the short story as it is now concerned it may not be irrelevant to give a brief synopsis of the fundamental elements of prose fiction. one involving more characters and greater variety of incident. with considerable emphasis on the idea that a short story is more than a story that simply happens to be brief. In other words. often relieved by incidental only such. or involves them in a definite catastrophe. there are characters. especially the older variety. In order to achieve purpose artistically the novelist arranges the incidents effect his and episodes as to lead way in the lives of his characters in such a up to the climax which permanently affects the destiny of the important characters at least. there are certain persons or characters who do something amid certain surroundings. and affording a more extended range human emotion. and usually does. The characters are described by direct statement of the author. it can. Yet there are differences.

the beggar. The one trait common to all is singleness of effect. while the short story is of simple form. and in novel employs these elements with greater elaboration. pathos. for description. although in the short story there has always been a marked fondness for local color effects because of the air of realism which they impart. the appeal may lie in the type of character. rbr example. devotion. courage. the athlete. It is not unusual for In the writers to combine two or more of these motives. both in range of subject-matter and method of treatment. The rest is usually quite secondary. The contrast with the looser and more leisurely manner of In the ideal short story there is little Action is the word. friendship. or horror. for in this book all three forms are represented.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 10 or by what they do and say as the story progresses. self-sacrifice. The and episodes being artistically story. The field of the short story is almost unlimited. humor. of necessity Many attempts have been made in recent years to give more precise and exact definition to the term short story as distinguished from the mere tale or sketch. or again. by compactness of construction and swiftness of movement. jealousy. present volume nearly all of the elements just mentioned the novel room is obvious. The most successful stories of all times have always been those which appealed to the deep-seated emotions common to humanity. the soldier. implies action. such as love. but it does not seem essential to the present purpose to contribute to this discussion. as suggested in a previous paragraph. and sometimes the appeal is in the effect only. . setting of a story includes its location in time The plot gives incidents life to the it The place. the criminal. revenge. the which the characters are involved arranged to lead to some certain end. hate. secured by repression in the use of material and by concentrating the interest upon some one character or some one incident.

The modern devotion to hurry and speed has helped to popularize the very short form. and so successful were they that all the world seems inclined to follow them. reasons for this have already been indicated. after they have read a story. his material in order to secure it. by means of which they created the single impression sought. and readers will find 11 it a pleasant what effect has been produced upon them and how the author managed exercise to note. and Tolstoi. as well as the longer of the short stories by Among the few more recent writers who wrote as Balzac. imitation. At the present moment no form of writing is more in" vogue than the short story. It is natural that an author can build better if he is not cramped for elbow-room. they pleased rather than fit their stories into the space Some day. They prefer to print half a dozen stories by different authors rather than one or two longer ones which might actually have a higher claim to literary distinction. Two of the foremost modern writers of the short story practiced the very short form Maupassant and O Henry and they did it surpassingly well.INTRODUCTION may easily be detected. Readers who have not Balzac. allotted by the magazines was Henry James. but at least one other may be mentioned. already done so should not fail to read Turgenev's A Lear of the Steppes. There is more and more of a Several tendency to place the emphasis on the short. Turgenev. They followed Poe in pointing the way for the type of stoiy that limited itself to the sharply-drawn photographic detail. and the newspapers and magazines are doing their best to foster this type. — — . Narrative art with them meant the focussing of the attention on some one character or some one trait or some one incident. and this is exemplified by some of the older writers born before brevity became an altar on which all Among them are such writers as else must be sacrificed.

the hero-tale.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 12 when it is no longer a popular literary sport to cast slurs upon that great literary figure. thereby helping to create the myth. were enriched by that element of wonder instilled in the savage breast by the mysteries of a world which he could not explain but of which he nevertheless felt himself a part. added to. some of which have lately become accessible to English readers. Perhaps the oldest known short stories arc those which have been preserved on the papyri of ancient Egypt. handed down orally from one before the of history primitive generation to another. One of these. The Shipwrecked Sailor. Stories were told. printed in Canby's Book of the Short Story. man must have found delight in talking about his success in the hunt or his prowess in the fight. dates back to the twenty-fifth . These early tales of adventure. In the course of time narratives of personal adventure tended to be combined with attempts to explain the powerful forces of nature. In some such way as this we may imagine the art of story-telling in its beginnings. II The Short Story Of Long all of Antiquity the arts that of story-telling dawn is surely the oldest. but eventually were given some sort of rude shape by the professional story-teller who seems to have been common to all peoples and all literatures at some early stage in their development. until at last the art of writing made it possible to preserve them with a certain degree of permanency. the reading public will wake up to the fact that it has been most unjustly neglecting one of the foremost writers of the short story in English. re-told. remolded. These stories no doubt were crude and formless enough at first. the legend. His imagination soon taught him when to drop superfluous facts and when to add details in order to make a good story. and the folk tale. doubtless.

although their present form is compara- In ancient Hebrew Literature a number of short stories may be found. whose Trimalchio's Dinner is readily accessible in Professor Peck's In the Noctes Atticae of Aulus admirable translation. and may be the oldest short story in existence. including such fine examples as the Book of Ruth. In Greek and Roman literature there is very little that can properly be called prose fiction. With the barbarian invasions of the fifth century and Roman Empire classical For almost a thousand years the the consequent disintegration of the literature came to an end. as well as stories whose origin was less remote. Gellius is found that charming story. the myths and legends. in his Metatively modern. of both Greece and Rome. -The existing synopses of the so-called lost Tales of Miletus indicate that these were stories written primarily to entertain. This is one of which at least might be called a short story. The more important Roman prose writers rarely introduced anything resembling the short story.INTRODUCTION 13 century before our era. The first is Petronius Arbiter. c. morphoses. the story of Polycrates and his ring. re-tells in sprightly fashion many of the old stories. who. all of them belonging to the first century of our era. and the fact that they seem to have been popular suggests that there may have been other collections of which no trace exists. in the Metamorphoses of Apuleius. b. The stories contained in the Arabian Nights are also very old. in the third book. notably Ovid. . In Roman literature some of the best short stories are found among the poets. Androcles and the Lion. and the Prodigal Son.) are popular to this day. Of the minor writers at least three may be mentioned. Of extant Greek stories the Fables of Aesop (sixth century. Probably the best short story in Latin is Cupid and Psyche. In the history of Herodotus a number of anecdotes and stories are introduced.

the earliest writing. One of the most fascinating chapters in the history of story-telling Age is that which pertains to the literature of the Romance. a collection of tales of all sorts from every imaginable source. and closely related to the allegories so popular at that time. and it was not until about civilization of to different the end of the thirteenth century that forms of the short story began once more to receive special attention. . As far as the history of the short story is concerned the most significant work of the new era was the Gesta Romanorum (Deeds of the Romans). depending upon a Their greatest significance of the life of that day. indicates. as elsewhere. It also served to make more widespread the idea of gathering stories into collections. as the name were of a religious nature. both highly important in the rise and development of the short story. is lies in their realistic The commonly trick for its point. This connects itself particularly with There. the most famous example being the Decameron of Boccaccio (1313-1375). and in America Longfellow used it in his Tales of a Wayside Inn. This work became exceedingly popular and was used as a source-book by the story-writers of the Middle Age and after.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 14 Europe was adjusting and readjusting itself modes and ideals of life. or songs of great deeds. sons de gestes. while in England it was adopted by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales. written in Latin. The scheme was also frequently employed in France. portrayal contes devots. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries the troubadours went from place to place chanting their chanof France. obviously didactic. Often an added interest was given to these collections by linking the stories into a more or less connected series. Side by side with these were the fabliaux and the contes devots. This was especially true in Italy. In the fabliaux of the Middle Ages the story of a humorous nature. was in poetic form.

special char- romance was the element of wonder. set mannerisms of an earlier day. Its special feature . There were stories of grim giants. in character. highly artificial. As representative of this changed spirit Chateaubriand became the first important attitude of the writer. In the eighteentli century it became essentially a reflection of the manners of the time. magic swords. Analogues to this type of story may be found in nearly every great literature. pales 15 when placed in romance proper. Ill The Short Story in Modern France Between the fourteenth and the eighteenth centuries there was nothing of note in the development of the French short story. was largely the was revolt. Absolutely nothing seems to have been barred which might help to secure the desired effect. a breaking away from tradition and the hard. enchanted castles. that is to say. and plot. but in the metrical romance there was something more. and this attitude result of the influence of Rousseau. During the period of the French Revolution and the years immedi- much fiction was produced and a new note This new note was Romanticism. This was the general attitude of chivalry an unselfish devotion to ideals. It was indicated not so much in the form and material used as in the ately following was struck. acteristic of the metrical beautiful enchantresses. and marvelous deeds involving superhuman strength and endurance. imprisoned damsels to be rescued. setting. The French novel had enjoyed its first period of popularity in the age of Louis XIV. horrible dragons.INTRODUCTION But the importance of juxtaposition with the all these metrical chansons de gestes made at least fact. The some pretense to actual and that constitutes their chief difference as far as the material is The outstanding concerned. magicians.

the one chiefly through his disciple. then in fiction. retained many of the earmarks of Romanticism. In a literary movement. there is which developed rapidly during the years surrounding 1850. Maupas- . based upon his experiences with the American Indians. while men like Balzac and Merithey nevertheless used much of its material methods. cal. For tive political quiet Flaubert and Gautier are the two pioneers of this new Realism which.in modern French fiction. nevertheless. His Atala (1801). It was also an age of unexampled advance in all the phases of human endeavor. This its m movement there was already a swaying in the opposite direction due mainly to the conditions of life after the middle at least two decades there was comparaand a general material prosperity. the short story are Balzac and Merimee. and adopted effects. however. showed a marked inclination to moderate the eccentricities and extravagancies of the Romantic school. especially in their local color effort at local color struck the keynote for a new realism quite different from the artificialities thought realistic the preceding century. and all this tended to produce a satisfaction witli life as it was. The Romantic movement of the latter part of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries was the natural outcome of the general social unrest in all the highly civilized countries of Europe. They were both intimately connected with the short story. It was Victor Hugo. This is generally true of the period under discussion. The Romantic idea was paramount. and. more particularly in science. who became the great champion of Romanticism. It will be noted then that at the height of the Romantic mee scoffed at it. but the short story. marked the turning-point for the new movement. Among the French novelists of this period who won distinction in.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 16 name. of the century. first in poetry and the drama. as in a politia tendency to go to extremes.

the Realist tried to portray life as it was the Naturalist saw life as something to dissect and . . The writers of the short story in France have consciously given much attention to the way their stories are told. This is due to several reasons. It lends itself to a precision and conIn conseciseness of statement that is positively unique. likewise is best short stories ever produced. and their critics have openly maintained that style is perhaps the most essential feature in a work of art. with a keen sense for the beautiful. the French have always been conspicuous for style. with Zola its greatest exponent. and one of the criticisms made by those who do not share the French point of view is that in French stories there is often too much art and too little matter. giving us thereby the psychological novel. there were extremists. the French are an art-loving people. tained such high artistic excellence as deal with them. the French are conventional in their art as well as in their life. Form counts for a great short story. These various tendencies just sketched may be summa- scientific rized as follows: The Romanticist tried to see life as he would like it to be. analyze. especially those method over into fiction. came known as Naturalism. In the first place. and the selections in this volume will enable the reader to judge for himself whether or not the contention can be upheld that the French have written the perfection of their short stories. the other by stories of his 17 In this movement also who tried to carry This phase of Realism be- own. and that helps to account for the technical The French language an important factor in the creation of an unrivaled technique. Outside of France this view is not always accepted. The introductory sketches to the various authors indicate the important landmarks in the development of the French In no other literature has the short story atit has in that of France. quence. Furthermore.INTRODUCTION sant.

ran-pon-no' D'Assoucy. fa-ge' Tistet Vedene. kra-be-yon' Murat. del-bek' Robespierre de. iir-no' Balzac. varn-yo'. lan-zhe' Lemaitre. briin-tyar' Mathilde. tis'te ve-den' Ferraud.PRONOUNCING GLOSSARY Arnaud. shel Claretie. god'shal Beluguet. ma'teld Chabert. se-mon-an' Desroches. be-an-shon' Boucard. joo-sep'pa Godeau. de-plan' or ro'bs-pyar Sauvage. ro'bes-per' de Desplein. fran-swii' Gaucher. or bal'zak Giuseppa. mo-lyar' Coppee. flo'bar' Forestier. kan-ke' Cuvier. bal-zak'. kii-vya' Ramponneau. mo-ris-so' Crebillon. du-g<~-klfin' Talleyrand. tal-e-ran' Faguet. le-ma'tr' Bianchon. da-soo-ei' Daudet. boo-zha' Boutin. boo-caV Marquis be-lii-ge' Bourgeat. so-viigh' Simonnin. boo-tan' Broussais. go-she' Gautier. broo-se' Loisel. k5-pa' Morissot. or vor- . ba-zan' Godeschal. ti-bo' Tolstoi. tol-stoi' Turgenev. f3-res-tya/ Francois. mo-pa-san' de Merimee. ber-mu-tya' Langeais. toor-gen'yef Vauquer. eo-tya' Thibault. kru-ta' Quinquet. do-de' Delbecq. klar-te' Moliere. Bermutier. mii-se' Croisilles. vo-ke' Vergniaud. cha-bar' Maupassant de. mii-ra' Musset. ma-ta'o fal- co'ne Brunetiere. mar- ke' de bo-se-an' Mateo Falcone. ma're-ma' Chelles. fer-ro' Flaubert. lwa-zel' de Beauseant. krwii-zeT Crottat. da-rush' Du Guesclin. go-do' Bazin.

by drinking coffee excessively. He was sent to school first at Vendome and completed his education at Paris. in fact. his father withdrew all support. His parents intended him to be a lawyer. He . and often longer. Balzac was a man of tremendous physical vigor and boundless energy. His rugged perseverance enabled him to leave his garret af ten ten years but he never achieved any great financial success because of his erratic ideas on the . He worked steadily and according to fixed methods. But when he was offered an excellent opportunity to practice he refused to consider it. subject of money. By basing his stories on actual observations of real life Balzac made himself the father of modern realism. always with an eye to possible material for stories. Thoroughly disgusted. He took a very serious view of his work. observing people. and Balzac entered upon a career of struggle and poverty while endeavoring to make his way as a novelist. he kept himself at work until noon of the following day. the houses in which they lived. retiring at six in the evening and rising at midnight then. and the indefatigable energy which he employed in original creation was equaled by the painstaking method with which he prepared his copy for publication.BALZAC (1799-1850) Honore de Balzac was born at Tours in 1799. the streets . their modes of dress and habits of living. which might be of use in the devising of his stories. and he dutifully followed the course prescribed for entrance to that profession. everything. having early in life determined to be a writer. 19 . His afternoons he spent walking about Paris. re-writing and revising up to the final proofs.

the stories selected for this volume. The Atheist's Mass. : of (1) Private Life. At times he loved to revel in the grim and sordid. and An Episode of the Reign of Terror. He classified the first two as Scenes of Private Life. quite in character with himself and his subject matter. no small distinction in a writer who produced as much as Balzac. but the great bulk novels. One must indeed recognize in the great realist a highly romantic strand of temperament. (5) Military Life. the other as Political. (6) Country Life. He himself grouped his stories as follows Scenes thing. anyings. of which a few are short stories. Balzac's style is forceful and vigorous. and profound. Most of his . (2) Provincial Life. (3) Parisian Life. (4) Political Life. In the twenty years of his literary career Balzac wrote over a hundred stories. in fact. Almost as prominent that in as Balzac's love of actuality is his love of the exceptional This led him frequently into extravaganza and situation. It is interesting to note the contrast in method between Balzac and Maupassant in this connection. these. Colonel Chabert. solid. comprise nearly all of his stories. he carried out this idea with such prolixity acters. some passages the reader tends to be bored. and in such stories his method of detail is apt to make the But he result brutal and revolting to English readers. with (7) Philosophical Studies. melodrama. I am which would add color to his stories. and to the whole he gave the title La Come die Humaine." He had a passion for the shadowy. the mystic. the chicanery of secret societies. Often it is somewhat rough and lacks the artistic finish of many later French writers. show Balzac at his very best. rarely failed to make his story interesting. He said of himself: "I love exceptional be- one of them.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 20 had the trick of being able to create the effect of truth by sheer mass of small things in the environment of the charIn fact. His purpose always was to present a detailed picture of the French life of his day in all its phases.

Balzac remained a bachelor for fifty years. volumes of them may now be had in the Everyman Library. firm tread of a It occurred to her that this sound. When she had passed the Rue des Morts she thought she man walking behind her. Snow had fallen so heavily all day long that hardly a footfall could be heard. He returned to Paris and to his work. several stories. 1793. Fears that the silence around naturally enough inspired were increased by all the terror under which France was then groaning. made rule. so that it is difficult to locate them. with whom he had been acquainted for many years. She went on bravely all alone in the midst of this solitude. 1. That period it it It lasted . did not enable her to distinguish far off by the light of the street lamps some passers-by. but in 1850 he went to Russia and there married Madame Hanska. as if her age were a talisman that could be relied on to preserve her from any mishap. The streets were deserted. which had long been failing. woman was coming down the sharp descent of the Faubourg Saint-Martin that ends in front of the church of Saint-Laurent. AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR By About an aged 1 HONORE DE BALZAC eight o'clock on the evening of January 22nd. but the feverish activity with which he had worked so many years at last wore him out and he died August 18.. 1850. was not the first time she had heard She was alarmed at the idea that she was being perceived the heavy. So the old lady had thus far met with no one else. moving like scattered shadows in the huge thoroughfare of the Faubourg. 1793. 1794. of the French Revolution when the faction in power a principle to execute every one considered hostile to their from March.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR 21 short stories are scattered through volumes containing longer However. Her sight. to the fall of Robespierre in July.

she began to run as if she could possibly get away from a man who must necessarily be much more agile than herself. for she no longer doubted that she had been followed by the stranger from the first step she had taken outside her lodging. who was busy with some embroidery. in which the old lady was wrapped. . The longing to escape from a spy gave her strength. "Wherever have you put away . and she tried to walk faster in order to reach a fairly well-lighted shop. as if her visitor were one of those there was no pleasure in seeing. rather than sat.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 22 followed. Without being able to think of what she was doing. if was not only by her manner and the look on her face young woman showed she was anxious to get rid of the stranger without delay. down upon — a chair that stood in front of the counter. Even while she was raising the creaking latch. but. As soon as she was within the circle of light projected horizontally by the shop-front. and called her husband. a young woman. Then. who at once made his appearance. After running for a few minutes she reached a confectioner's shop. in the hope that. she turned suddenly from the counter. besides this. she quickly turned her head and caught glimpse of a human form in the foggy darkness. and fell. This vague glimpse was enough for her. and through the small panes of the half-window in the shop door recog- nized the old-fashioned violet silk mantle. without looking at the lady. She tottered for a moment under the shock of terror that overwhelmed her. She hurriedly opened a drawer as looking for something she was to hand over to her. went toward the back shop. ?" she asked of . she would be able to put to the test the suspicions that had taken possession of her. entered it. she It that the allowed an expression of impatience to escape her on finding that the drawer was empty. . in the light it gave. raised her eyes.

trimmed with bows of violet ribbon. In these old times the manners and habits of people of quality were so different from those of other classes of society. * "Madame . but calling his attention to the old lady with a glance of her eyes. Although the confectioner could see nothing but the immense black silk bonnet. the shopwoman turned and approached her. stately look. Her features had a grave. perhaps not unmingled with curiosity." she said to her with involuntary was now forbidden. . as if she could distinguish some respect. an ex-aristocrat. She kept her eyes fixed on the window of the shop. and that she had belonged to the court. . . . to say. that formed the strange visitor's headgear. So the young woman felt convinced that the stranger was a ci-devant. . and as she looked at her she felt herself inspired with an impulse of compassion. with an air of m} r 23 stery without finishing her question. "Do you think that I would leave that in ?" your counter Surprised at the motionless silence of the old lady. forgetting that such a title fearful object in that direction. . "What is the matter. The complete absence of ornament lent to her person an air of religious severity. Although the woman's complexion showed an habitual pallor. he left the shop again. Her headdress was so arranged as to conceal her hair. No doubt it was white with age. like that of one who makes a practice of secret austerities. after having cast at his wife a look that seemed. it was easy to see that a recent emotion had brought an unusual paleness to her face. The old lady did not reply. that it was easy to distinguish one of noble birth. citizeness ?" asked who had returned almost immediately. for there were no marks on the upper part of her dress to show that she used hair powder. the shopkeeper.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR him.

The red cap was tin- symbol of revolution radicals. citizeness. began by trying to satisfy their consciences with words: " "But. In her dress there were traces of old magnificence. taking a lonis d'or 3 from her pocket. It was of worn-out silk. "Nothing. which made the stranger blush.*4. hesitating between sympathy and self-interest. In a word. Then. you have betrayed me!" The young woman and her husband replied by a gesture of horror at the thought. There is a poverty that the poor readily recognize. cutting her husband short." she said. ::. while both formed one common thought. perhaps with pleasure. silently to give turning each other's attention to the old lad}'. she offered it to the confectioner: "Here is the price we agreed on. Her mantle was neat though threadbare. she looked at it with a sadness that had no avarice in it. a gold <(»in worth . you seem to be very weak "Would Madame like to take something?'* said the woman. my friends/' she answered in a sweet She raised her eyes to the confectioner's face as if voice. Starvation and misery were as plainly marked on her face as the lines that told of fear and of habits of asceticism.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 24 And reverie the citizen-confectioner roused the lady from her by offering her a little cardboard box wrapped in blue paper. •_'. anil was worn l»y the . it was a case of wealth the worse for wear. with some carefully mended lace upon it. but she seemed to realize the full extent of the sacrifice she made.oo. perhaps at having suspected them. The lady's hands trembled as she offered the piece of money. The people of the shop." she added. but seeing the red cap 2 on his head. him a look of thanks. nothing. The confectioner and his wife looked at one another. This lonis d'or must be her last. with childlike gentleness. she uttered a cry: "Ah. "Pardon me.

took his hat. her. as in so many more.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR 2h "We have some very good soup/' added the confectioner. "Well." said the young woman excitedly. But his wife had had time to reflect. if there were some he were a spy? Don't go. the good fellow offered at once to escort the old lady. ." "We are not as black as the devil!" exclaimed the con- fectioner. whispered in the ear of the confectioner by sudden courage that had inspired him. sort of gratitude that finds its . Perhaps Madame has had a chili so cold tonight. the confectioner's wife tried to pull him by the skirt of his coat and stop him. "wait a citizeness. These words. if . and reappeared as an armed man. "I am afraid he is. and rid you his wife. belted on his sword." gave the louis d'or to his wife. "It seems that the man the citizeness is afraid of is still prowling about in front of our shop. Anxious and fearful of seeing her husband involved in some bad business. But obeying his own charitable feelings. He man in the red cap. and that she was afraid to go back alone to her lodgings. "What plot? . reflection closed the open hand of benevolence." put in the lady naively. I'll just say a few words to him.. he went and put on his National Guard's uniform. way . Then moved into the heart of a dealer when he has got an exorbitant price for some merchandise of trifling value. "Is that all?" replied the little. froze the . the lady let them know she had been followed by a stranger. Won by the tone of kindness that found expression in the words of the charitable shopkeepers. by that . In her heart.. and take back that box from . while walking? But you can rest here and warm yourself "It is for a while.

She rushed to the door. He stopped." exclaimed the shopkeeper. making the snow crackle as he crushed it with his heavy tread. or even to look at him it might be on account of the fear that had seized upon her. sat down again on the chair. or because she could not think what to say. of — As soon was outside she started off at a But her strength soon began to desert her. and she heard the spy. and don't let us see you again. She had to stop. who had so pitilessly followed her. He seemed to be the very shadow of the old woman. But hardly had his bold hands touched her dress. and vanished from the sight of wife and husband as they stood trembling and astonished. naturally ruddy enough and further reddened by his oven fire. and don't reckon on my supplying you with materials for your plots !" As he ended. The good shopkeeper was soon back. He was a prey to such terror that his legs shook and his eves looked like those of a drunken man. show us your heels. "Do you want to get our heads cut off. She did not dare to address him. you wretch of an aristocrat?" he cried out in a fury. as he opened the door and slipped hurriedly out. than the stranger preferring to risk herself amid the perils of the street without any other protector but God. regained all the agility of youth. o'clock struck as the silent pair once church of Saint-Laurent. the confectioner made an attempt to take back from the old lady the little box which she had put into one of her pockets. rather than to lose what she had just bought. had suddenly become pallid. The old lady.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 26 him soon enough. Then she went on again walking slowly. passive as a child and almost stupefied by her fear. Nine more passed by the . His face. "Come. opened it briskly. as the stranger rapid walk. — The man also slackened his pace so as to remain always just at the distance that enabled him to keep her in sight.

scattered about this almost uninhabited valley. The man. . which leads to the Pantin barrier. full of thought. or rather the cottages. even of the weakest. all eagerness in the pursuit of this poor creature. He stood still. who thought she saw something of evil omen in the looks of the stranger. she now went on with a firm step into the upper part of the Faubourg Saint-Martin. So the stranger. She summed up in her mind the circumstances that had attended the appearance of the stranger. and took advantage of the seeming hesitation that had brought the man to a standstill attitude. on his part a friendly rather than an evil purpose. Even at the present day the neighborhood is still one of the loneliest in all Paris. as if seeking for some plausible motives for and was then satisfied to recognize this consoling opinion. was inclined to see in him some unknown friend who was anxious all to protect her. seemed struck by the spectacle that presented itself to his gaze. Forgetful of the alarm. for if our organism has its limits. in which the enclosures were formed of fences built up of earth and old bones. After walking for half an hour she came to a house situated near the point where the street. which this man had so short a time ago caused the confectioner. the struggling Fear seemed to sharpen the sight of the old lady. branches off from the main line of the I'aubourg. She felt her terror reawakening. in the feeble light of a street rays of which could hardly penetrate the fog. in a hesitating lamp. to any violent agitation. finding that her supposed persecutor did her our feelings are infinite.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR It is a part of the nature of all to find a feeling of calm succeed 27 minds. A northeast wind blowing over the Buttes Chaumont and Belleville whistled between the houses. The desolate place seemed to be the natural refuge of misery and despair. no harm. who was so bold as to traverse these silent streets in the night.

our doings are known. rotten with the action of the sun. to slip The unknown man. alarm. damp and warped by in a heap There were and their frames. woman climbed the rough ascending which one had to lean on a rope that took the place of a handrail. "Is there anything new then?" asked another old woman who was seated near the fire. while they showed on their faces signs of serious Of the three the old man was the least agitated. The lonely house looked like some old tower that time has forgotten to A feeble gleam lit up the warped and crooked window-sashes of the garret window. in "Hide yourself we ! Hide yourself !" she said to him. while all the rest of the house was in complete darkness. suggested that the cold must penetrate freely into the rooms. kept his eyes fixed on the house. Not without and clumsy difficulty the old stair. without moving from where he stood.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 28 through a shadow to the door of a solitary house. who has been prowling round the house si net sterda} followed me this evening. three windows to each floor. She gave a low knock at the door of the garret room and hurriedly took her seat on a chair. our steps art- spied upon. she pushed back a spring latch and disappeared in an instant like a ghost upon the stage. "though so seldom go out. the appearance of which was fairly typical of that of the wretched dwelling places of this suburb of Paris. destroy. \ t 7 . . At these words the three inmates of the hovel looked at each other. The tumble-down hovel was built of bricks covered with a coat of yellow plaster. that showed up the roof of this poor edifice. "That man. which an old man offered to her. so full of cracks that one feared to see the whole fall down of ruins before the least effort of the wind.

Under the weight of a great misfortune. An order of monks originally organized on Mt. "I hear footsteps on the stairs All three listened. their it counts each day as one more victory women fixed upon this easy to see that he was the one object of keen anxiety. in order to come here for the letters I have written to the Due de Langeais and the Marquis de Beauseant. "Do . a brave man begins. An abbey founded dispersed in the early 660." said the priest. it was no doubt to preserve me for some destiny that I must accept without a murmur. asking them to see what can be done to take you 4. but full of fervor." — she cried out. It is of yourselves. and not of me. "what are our lives compared to that of a priest?" "Once I saw myself outside of the Abbey of Chelles/ I considered myself as a dead woman. and He can dispose of them according to His will. not be alarmed. that we must God.." said one of the two nuns the one who had remained in the house. 4 If He willed that I should be saved from that butchery.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR 29 perhaps because he was the most in danger." "No. by making the complete sacrifice of himself. lose our trust in voice low. . offering the little box to the priest. 5." said one of the old women. "But . depend must by A person on whose good faith we can have taken all necessary steps to this time cross the frontier. or under the pressure of persecution. !" The sound ceased. think. in and the inmates .. Carmel in Pales- tine." said the other. "Here are the altar breads.. who had just come in. so to say. It was pillaged days of the Revolution. God guards His own. "if some one tries to get to see you. "Why my sisters ?" he said in a sang His praises in the "we midst of the cries of the murderers and of the dying at the convent of the Carmelites. . He won looks of the two man made old The over fate.

when three knocks at the door made both the good women start. that are so used to the air of a hothouse. One morning their cloister had been broken open. "My place is where there are still victims/' was the priest's simple reply. in the deep silence. Separated from the world for some forty years. they were like plants. and the suffering and death that await you here. Unable to reconcile the mental habits of the cloister with the difficulties of life. The priest with some difficulty huddled himself into a kind of cupboard." from the Lord's Prayer. The priest was hardly hidden away. They were exchanging looks of inquiry without daring to utter a word. and the nun threw some old clothes over him. re-echoing on the stairs that were rough with lumps of hardened mud. "Thy will ho done. and they had shuddered at finding themselves free. Both seemed to be about sixty years of age. . and not fully under"Sister Martha/' he said. it was easy to catch the sound of the footsteps of some man. This time. and with a look of something like despair.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 30 away from this wretched country.' "There is some one on the stair !" exclaimed the other nun and she opened a hiding-place constructed in the roof. It is easy to imagine the state of nervous weakness the events of the Revolution had produced in their innocent minds." "You are not going with us then?" exclaimed the two nuns in gentle protest. that they die if one takes them out. nun who had gone envoy of ours should answer 'Fiat voluntas* to the password 'Hosanna. addressing the to get the altar breads. "this '' G." he said in a smothered voice. "You can shut the door. Accustomed as they were to the life of the convent they had no idea of anything else. They were silent and gazed at their protector with reverent admiration.

There was a very small fire in the grate. they were like children of whom every care had been taken till now. The individual. and making inquiries about them. knowing of no other defense but Christian resignation. So face to face with the danger which they now saw before them. The man who had asked for admittance interpreted this silence in his own way. and a round loaf of bread. Three chairs. three knives. The two nuns shuddered as they recognized the man. covered with a coat of very old paint. two boxes. suddenly deprived of their mother's care. and slowly cast his eyes round the room he had entered. rescued no doubt from the sack of the Abbey of Chelles. The man was tall in stature and heavily built. he kept quite still. and who. who for some time had been prowling around their house. looking at him with the anxious curiosity of untaught children who stare in silence at a stranger.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR 31 standing the circumstances in which they were placed. or the expression of his face. his general appearance. A reliquary. There was a table in the middle of the room. One could see that the roof was in a bad state. A few pieces of wood heaped up in a corner were a further sign of the poverty of these two recluses. They remained motionless. were stained with brown streaks that showed where the rain had leaked through. pray instead of weeping. served as an ornament to the mantelpiece. But there was nothing in his attitude. Two straw mats unrolled on the floor served for beds for the nuns. some plates. for the walls. Like the nuns. and there stood on it a brass candlestick. who had in such an alarming way introduced himself to this poor household. and a shabby chest of drawers completed the furniture of the room. to suggest that he was a bad character. A door near the fireplace suggested that there was a second room beyond. had soon taken mental . He opened the door and suddenly appeared in the room. they remained silent and passive.

Many refused and became . one of those who refused the oath. . and said to them to make in a voice that he tried as gentle as possible: "I do not come here as an enemy.7 and who had a miraculous escape from the massacrr at the 7. and whose manners seemed to indicate I . have a favor to ask of you. if any misfortune comes your way. . . for at last all the stranger realized the timidity and inexperience of the two poor creatures. and he cast a kindly look upon the two much embarrassed women. decree in 1790 compelled . A support refugees. as he understood this gesture. but before taking the chair he waited till both the worthy ladies were seated. that Sister Agatha. recovering himself.. . .FRENCH SHORT STORIES 32 note of all the contents of the little room. if if I am causing you pain. you can claim it from me without fear. . The stranger showed something of pleasure mingled with sadness. A feeling of pity could be traced upon his countenance. as if . now that there is no longer a king.ill the clergy t<« take an oath to the Revolutionary government. "You have given a refuge here. that in old times she had society known and had breathed the the splendors of festive air of the court — pointed with an alert movement to one of the chairs as if asking the visitor to be seated. but be assured that I am entirely devoted to you." They still kept silence. citizenesses He stopped. believe me have no part in it. say so freely and I will go away. she of the two nuns who belonged to the noble family of Langeais. that if there is any kindness I can do to you. There was such an air of truth in his words. and appeared to be at least as The strange silence that as they were. and that I am perhaps the only one who is above the law. three had kept so far did not long continue." he continued. and went on: "Sisters. "to a venerable priest. .1 . . "If I am troubling you.

and came out again into the room. and your own names. again and again. is we have no sir. and He said no more. that if I had had in my mind the horrible idea of betraying you." he said in a voice that seemed all sincerity. Sister. What do you want of me?" The holy confidence that showed of the priest. caused such excitement in this scene of resigned misery. "Don't be alarmed. gazed for a moment at the group formed by the three others . for the extraordinary emotion depicted on the faces of the two poor nuns made him fear that he had gone too far. . "I don't think that "But. interrupting the stranger." he said to the stranger. too. and I trust myself to you. you ought to be more careful and prudent. his name/' he replied. "I know the name of your guest." said Sister Martha. "Hosanna!" . the nobility of mind every look. priest here. "I could not possibly believe. would have disarmed The mysterious man. in her simplicity. and their eyes with tears. sir. as he stretched out his hand to the table and took a breviary from it. They were trembling. "that you were one of our persecutors. "You see. . eagerly. . Hearing these words. putting a finger to her lips. and for the last three days I have been aware of your distress and of your devoted care for the venerable filled Abbe de "Hush!" . and looking at him with anxious curiosity.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR Carmelites. 33 said Sister Agatha. "I don't suppose you know Latin." . whose coming had itself in his even assassins. "If that is so. the priest extricated himself from his prison. said Sister Agatha. I could have done so already. .'' answered the stranger in a gentle tone.

who was the stranger alluded. Between two chimney shafts that passed up through the room. The priest looked closely at the stranger. for the repose of the soul of one of a sacred personage. showing a kind of silent gratitude. that the eye could . ivory and ebony hung on the yellow-washed wall contrasting so strongly with surrounding bareness. did not yet understand to whom it . where everything had been made ready for the ceremony. who led him into the inner room of this poor place of refuge. After having respectfully saluted the priest and the two holy women. knocked softly at the door of the garret. he . faces turned toward the two who were speaking together.. I came to ask you to say a mass for the dead. The priest gave an involuntary shudder.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 34 was no longer any hesiaddressed the priest in these words: "Father. the antiquated outlines of which were hidden by a magnificent A large crucifix of altar frontal of green watered silk. About two hours after this scene the stranger returned. then. The nuns. . but it seemed that some deep and soothing satisfaction was triumphing over his secret sorrow. whose body will never be laid to rest in consecrated ground. which was understood by these three generous souls. he took his departure. and sat in their also of earnest entreaty. and we may be able to offer up in expiation for the crime of which you speak. "Well. "come back this evening at I shall be ready to celebrate the only rites for midnight. and was admitted by Mademoiselle de Beauseant. on whose face there was an unmistakable expression of anxiety." replied the priest. an attitude of curiosity. .. the nuns had placed the old chest of drawers. the dead that . their heads stretched forward. taking a tone in which there tation. The stranger started.

tiled floor and united their prayers with those of the priest. of poverty with noble sublimity of what was meant for profane uses with what . robed in his sacerdotal vestments. There was the contrast of littleness with immensity. the wine and water destined for the Holy Sacrifice stood ready in two glasses. illumination barely gave light to the rest of the room. and nevertheless there was perhaps never anything more solemn than this mournful ceremony. a token of royal munificence. who.profound silence. in which one could have heard the least sound uttered on the highway outside. An ordinary plate had been prepared for the washing of the hands. threw out a dim This feeble light that was hardly reflected by the wall. as is usual in garret rooms. The floor was damp. On each side of the altar the two aged nuns knelt on the without taking any notice of its deadly dampness. . Four slender little 35 tapers.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR not fail to be drawn to it. it seemed like a light sent down from heaven on this unadorned altar. The roof. Beside this chalice. no doubt. had some cracks in it through which came the night wind icy cold. from the pillage of the Abbey of Chelles. Nothing could be more devoid of all pomp. lent a kind of somber majesty to the midnight scene. which the Sisters had succeeded in fixing on this improvised altar by attaching them to it with sealing wax. For want of a missal the priest had placed a small prayer-book on the corner of the altar. but. . as it thus shone only on the sacred objects. a consecrated vessel that had been saved. Finally — the greatness of the action itself contrasted so strongly with the poverty of its surroundings that the result was a feeling of religious awe. such as one would hardly have found in the poorest inn. in this case hands all innocent and free from blood. A . which slanted down sharply on two sides. placed on the altar a chalice of gold adorned with precious stones.was consecrated to God.

Hie altar of God. null. beheaded Jan. No doubt. acting inspired with one sympathy. thus putting holy things in mourning. having no other means of marking that this was a mass offered for the dead." "I will ?. it was like the water that ranks with the highest of All the monarchy was there. as if by an inspiration from on high. There was the purest of devoted love. all the misery of the garret room: Louis XVI.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 36 The stranger suddenly. as though to banish from their sight 8. the priest had placed a knot of crape on the crucifix and on the base of the chalice. too. an act of about to intercede with God for a wondrous loyalty performed without a touch of self-consciousness. the stranger's mind was so mastered by some recollection that drops of sweat stood out upon his broad forehead. It common seemed and reacting on each other. as knelt devoutly between the two nuns. whose face showed too much remorse to leave any doubt that he was fulfilling a duty inspired by deep repentance. They were celebrating a requiem without the presence of the body of the departed. But he noticed that. Introlbo ad altare Dei. united them in devout as if their minds had evoked the presence of the martyr whose remains the quicklime had burned away. 21.'<> . 1793. !t. finding voice in the gift of the glass of virtues. Under the disjointed laths and tiles of the roof four Christians were King of Franee. Before lie pronounced the Latin words. was represented by that man. and that his shade was present with them in all its kingly majesty. Then their souls.. prayers of a priest and two poor women. The four silent actors in the scene looked at each other mysteriously. but perhaps the Revolution. in the eyes of God. and said to them. turned to the three who were with him as the representatives of Christian France. thought. 9 the priest. 8 and perform his obsequies though there was no coffin before the altar.

The stranger showed a really fervent devotion.) The nuns saw two down the strong making lines of moisunknown. king. as Louis himself forgave them. touched the hearts of fac regem. in which he would no doubt be forced to have a share.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGX OF TERROR 37 "We are about to enter into the sanctuary of God!" At these words. . ''Our Father. was a captive in the hands of his enemies. and falling to the large tear-drops face of the ture floor.'' part of the mass said for the king. who thought how the child king." (And regicidis sicut Ludovicus eis remisit forgive their crime to the regicides. Peter's at Rome these Christians could not have realized the majesty of God's Presence more plainly is it that between outward things seem useless. so true Him and man all the stranger understood: "Et remitte scelus semetipse. The sacred words sounded like a heavenly music in the midst of the silence. a holy awe took possession of the stranger and the two nuns. There was a moment when the unknown man could not restrain his tears. 10 when the priest added this prayer in Latin which. whom at that moment they were imploring the help of Most High. than in that refuge of misery. he went toward him a sign to the 10. and His greatness comes from Himself alone. The stranger shuddered as he remembered that perhaps a for the fresh crime might be committed. As soon as he found himself alone with the stranger. It was at the Pater Noster. and they withdrew. "O Lord. no doubt. The Domine salvum 11 chanted in a low voice. Under the vast arches of St." the 11. these faithful Royalists. save the opening words in the Lord's Prayer in Latin. When the Office for the Dead was ended. So the same feelings united the prayers of these four servants of God and the king. the priest made two nuns. The Office for the Dead was recited. uttered with deep devotion.

they have made themselves the involun- tary accomplices of this awful misdeed. he spoke once more in a grave tone: way to . : reference in th«» text is to this last group. left their swords in their scabbards. although they could have defended the king. Then." asked the man. "It is my duty to take your word for it. This Convention declared France a republic. The whom finally . shaking his head expressively from side to side. 1795. in a voice that showed evident signs of emotion. There was a pause. "Yes. and said to him in a fatherly voice "My you have imbrued your hands in the blood of There is no fault that is not blotted out in God's eyes by a repentance as sincere and son. and those who were undecided. But he recovered his self-control and looked calmly at the astonished priest. waiting for developments. during which once more he looked closely at his penitent." "Do you think." he said to him. ! for in standing idle. 1702. and Oct. that in order to be guiltless of this suffice merely to have had no direct Those who.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 38 with a sad and gentle air. persisting in taking him for one of those timid members of the National Convention 12 who abandoned to the executioner a sacred and inviolable head in order to save their own. confide in me." At the first words uttered by the priest the stranger gave an involuntary movement of alarm. many of voted with the radicals tor the executiou of the king. the radicals or Jacobins. my son. as if struck with horror. "that even an indirect participation in it will be punished? 12. yes !" added the old priest. Oh. "Father. will have a very heavy account to render to the King of Heaven. . as touching as yours appears to be. "no one is more innocent than I am of the blood that has been shed. There were thre<> factions the moderates or Girondists. if the martyr king. 21. 2(5. "Consider." said the priest. The revolutionary government of France between Sept. very heavy great crime it does not co-operation in it.

to accept the gift I sir. "in a house. stand its also beyond Perhaps the price." said the stranger to them. in order not harass him. Puritan of Royalism by placing him between the doctrine of passive obedience. 13 13. day will come when you will under- value. is my own conscience. One can only pay and the price of to satisfy what that which is scend. The latter took it in his hands automatically. must be the essence of the partisans military code.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR 39 Are we then to take it that. a soldier who was ordered to keep the ground at the scaffold is guilty? The Pleased at the dilemma in which he priest hesitated. the tone in which he spoke. had plunged him into a reverie of deep astonishment. say. the stranger held out to the priest box that was extremely light. for the solemnity of the words of this man. a little "You are. the stranger eagerly accepted the priest's hesitation as indicating a favorable solution of the doubts that seemed to Then. he said to him "I would be ashamed to offer you any honorarium for the funeral service you have just celebrated for the repose of the soul of the king. the reverence with which he handled the box. to give the venerable theo- logian further time for reflection. Mucius Scaevola. according to the had put this of the monarchy. who famous in the quarter for his But all the same he is secretly attached to the Formerly he was a huntsman to Monseigneur first story. Then they returned to the room where the two nuns were waiting for them. is The name of the royal house of France. inestimable by offering Will you therefore conde- make you of a sacred relic. so to say. the plasterer. lives in the patriotism." As he ceased speaking. . which. the proprietor of which. Bourbons. . and the equally important doctrine which was the sanction of the respect due to the person of the king.

He saluted the silent inhabitants of the garret. they placed the box on the table. "It is marked with the royal crown!" exclaimed the other Sister. Remain here. therefore. on January 21st" (as he pronounced these last words he could not conceal an involuntary start). F'or the two simple nuns such an adventure had all the interest of a romance.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 40 the Prince de Conti. And. It was not long before the three prisoners realized that notwithstanding the Terror an invisible hand was stretched out to protect them. Then the two nuns guessed that a woman was associated with their protector. With a dropped the For these two simple souls the mystery that surrounded the stranger had become something inexplicable. I shall come back to assist once more with you at a mass of expiation. took in with a last look the signs that told of their poverty. As they unfolded it they saw spots on it 'They are blood stains. So when the venerable abbe had told them of the mysterious present so solemnly made to him by this man. and j^ou can wait without danger for less evil times. At first firewood and provisions were sent in for them. as for the priest. ." said the priest. and the feeble light of the candle. By staying here you are safer than anywhere else in France. Mademoiselle de Langeais opened the box and found in it a handkerchief of fine cambric soiled with perspiration. from that day he did not even attempt to rind an explanation of it in his own mind. for showed on all of them a look of indescribable curiosity. shining on the three anxious faces. and he owes his fortune to him. and left the room. for they were sent linen and clothes that would make it possible tor them to go out precious feeling of horror the two Sisters relic. "if this poor place is still your refuge." He stopped without further explanation. Certain pious souls will provide your needs. A year hence.

when. but was inevitably associated with a feeling of curiosity that became keener as day after day went by. Notwithstanding the famine from which Paris was suffering. Their gratitude was thus. according to his promise.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR 41 without attracting attention by the aristocratic fashion of the dress they had been forced to wear till then. They formed a thousand conjectures with regard to him. Often by roundabout ways they received warnings that were necessary for the safety of the priest^ and tfyey recognized that these friendly hints came so opportunely that they could only emanate from some one who was initiated into the secrets of the state. for his prosperity. and* it was a fresh benefit to them of another kind that he thus served to distract their minds from other thoughts. Finally Mucius Scaevola provided them with two "civic cards/' good citizenship. for his salvation. They had added special prayers for him to their devotions morning and night these pious souls offered up petitions for his welfare. and to give him a long and peaceful life. he would come back to celebrate the mournful anniversarv of that their protector . They hoped in him only. They begged God to remove all temptations from him. The circumstances that had attended the appearance of the stranger were the subject of their conversations. they thought they could identify in Mucius Scaevola the mysterious agent of this beneficence. . The noble refugees in the garret could have no doubt but was the same person who had come to assist at the mass of expiation on the night of January 22nd. lived only thanks to him. the certificates of refugees found rations of white bread left regularly at their garret door by invisible hands. 1793: He thus became the object of a very special regard on the part of all three. which was always as ingenious as it was well directed. to deliver him from his enemies. so to say. daily renewed. They were quite determined that on the night. However.

"Come/' she said to him in a voice trembling with affection. play upon the lips of the unknown. 1792. The room had been made ready to receive him. — (the fall of Robespierre) After the 9th Thermidor 14 both the nuns and the Abbe de Marolles were able to go Sept. There were twelve months. less taciturn. and both hastened to show a light on the staircase. with a few words of polite . 22 14. the invitation that liim to share Mademoiselle de Langeais offered little supper that had been made with them the ready. and kept silence. known resounded on the old wooden stair. and without replying cast a gloomy look at the nun. Thermidor was the eleventh. they would not more friendly establishing let him go without relations with him. that was at once repressed. when he remarked the preparations that had been made for his reception. .FRENCH SHORT STORIES 42 the death of Louis XVI. She felt as if a mantle of ice had fallen around her. The three poor prisoners realized that the man wished to remain a stranger to them. less terrible than he appeared to these souls. came This time the Sisters opened the door before he reached it. The priest thought that he noticed a smile. was declared the beginning of the year 1. The National Convention made ov^er the calendar. the altar was prepared. He heard mass and prayed." The man raised his head. But then he went away after having declined. The night to which they had looked forward so impatiently At midnight the heavy footsteps of the unat last. refusal. "come you are expected. their names being supposed to correspond to the time of the year in which they came. He was perhaps less cold. and they accepted the situation. . Mademoiselle de Langeais even went down a few steps in order the sooner to see their benefactor. At the sight of him the feeling of gratitude and of curiosity died out in all their hearts. whom the excitement of their feelings disposed to a warm and friendly welcome. .

and abbe. standing erect on the cart. The old was to a perfumer's shop at the sign of the Heine des Fleurs. saw. dressed as the times required. Madame Ragon.. . "the executioner the name he bore under "My dear. demanding at the same time the oath of loyalty to the republican government from the priests. the i "It's nothing. prevented him from going out." hangman." she replied. thus. to the royal family." cried out the monarchy." replied Monsieur Ragon. giving the dying dear. in southwestern France. one can watch that terrible procession go by without feeling displeasure. kept by Citizen Ragon and his wif e. were staunch Catholics and remained devoted to the monarchy." "Why?" said the abbe. when a crowd. Ah we saw it But today. four days after the anniversary of January 21st. which was situated between the Church of Saint Roch and Rue des Frondeurs.. but they are going in where they sent so many innocent people !" The crowd was pouring past like a flood. the man who three days before had come their turn to hear his mass." "But it's the execution of the accomplices of Robespierre. my l'Abbe is man who . They did their best to save themselves. priest's first excursion who had remained faithful The Vendeans 15 made use of them as formerly perfumers to the court. "it is not Christian of you to talk tioner on the way to the Place Louis ! often enough last year. The Abbe de Marolles. yielding to an impulse of curiosity. was standing on the doorstep of the shop. which upheld their church. "Who is "It's the that?" he said. A serious revolt took place in the "Vendee when the National Convention tried to enforce its conscription act. "What is the matter?" he asked Madame Ragon. "Monsieur !" 15.AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR 43 about in Paris without incurring the least danger. which filled all the Rue Saint-Honore. their agents for corresponding with the exiled princes The the royalist committee at Paris. te "It's the cart with the execu- XV. The Vendeans.

FRENCH SHORT STORIES 44 And the old lady seized a bottle of smelling salts with aged priest from a fainting fit. . ! . said.. which to revive the ''No doubt. . "what he gave me was the handkerchief with which the Eang wiped his forehead as he went Poor man to martyrdom. ! ." he . . . The steel blade had a heart when all France was heartless The perfumers thought that the poor priest was raving.

But is not an unheard-of combination of circumstances required for the name of a learned man to pass from the domain of science into the general history of mankind ? Had Desplein that universality of acquirements that makes of a man the expression. though still a young man. has won himself a place among the celebrities of the Paris School. the type of a century? He was gifted 45 . who was regarded as a luminary of science. and who. Actors and surgeons. a center of light to which all the doctors of Europe pay homage had practiced surgery before devoting himself to medicine. Even his enemies admitted that with him was buried a technical skill that he could not bequeath to any successor.THE ATHEIST'S MASS By HONORE DE BALZAC Doctor Bianchon —a physician to whom science owes a beautiful physiological theory. His name. His early studies were directed by one of the greatest surgeons in France. All that was peculiarly his — own he carried The glory of work to the grave with him. no adequate idea can be formed when they are gone. the celebrated Desplein. today almost forgotten. Desplein is a striking instance of the similarity of the desti- — nies of such transitory geniuses. yesterday so famous. and also great singers like those artists who increase tenfold the power of music by the way in which they perform it all these are the heroes of a moment. great surgeons is whose and of whose talent like that of actors exists only so long as they live. Like all men of genius he left no heirs. will live among the specialists of his own branch of science without being known be- yond it.

embody did he in his own person all But the science of his time.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 46 with a magnificent power of diagnosis. and Aristotle ? 2 Did he lead a whole school towards new worlds of knowledge ? No. was the case with Hippocrates. 1. In order thus to be able to work hand hand with Nature. And while it is impossible to deny to this indefatigable observer of the chemistry of the human body the as possession of something like the ancient science of that to say the is the causes of it knowledge of principles life. mounted by a pretentious statue proclaiming the mysteries that genius has unveiled for to the future it. modifies them so as to derive of all the secrets of the. the third a Greek philoso- . the minute. taking into ac- count both atmospheric conditions and the special temperament of his patient. this His tomb is not sur- all this Isolated during his life egotism was the suicide of his fame. that enabled him to grasp the peculiar characteristics of the individual/ and determine the precise hour. was entirely by egotism. two were Greek physicians. had he studied the ceaseless union of organized and elementary substances contained in the atmosin who absorbs and from them an individual result ? Or did he proceed by that power of deduction and analogy to which the genius of Cuvier * owed so much ? However that may be. He could see into the patient and his malady by an acquired or natural intuition. For him the earth's atmos- beliefs. Galen. the operate. when he should moment. The pher. But perhaps the talents of Desplein were linked with his and therefore mortal. and what will be through the action of causes preceding its exist- ence — it must be acknowledged that personal to him. linst naturalist. this man had made himself master phere. or supplied by the earth to man. its He knew it in its past as in future. of of life as the antecedent of life. Magism in combination. A famous French '2. body. taking the present for his point of departure.

He recognized there a cerebral and a center for the respiratory and circulatory system. He regarded the earth as an egg in its shell and unable to solve the old riddle as to whether the egg or the hen came firsts he admitted neither the hen nor the egg. during. that during the last part of his life he had the conviction that the sense of hearing was not absocenter. made it an argument however assuming anything as to the belief in God. envious and stupid people at once seize hold of any surface discrepancies to base upon them an indictment. though it would perhaps be more fitting to call them "apparent contradictions. for his atheism. nor the sense of vision abso- lutely necessary for sight. as many great geniuses have unfortunately recognizing these two souls in man. This man was said to have died in final impenitence. atheists of a type of which reli- gious people do not admit the existence. before. and that the solar plexus could place them without one being aware of the fact. on which they straightway ask for judgment. His plain open atheism was like asserted his theories. I • . He in a spirit surviving him. his life had in it many "littlenesses" (to adopt the expression used by his enemies. after all. success ." Failing to understand the motives on which high minds act. Great as the man was. re- Desplein. and the two former so completely supplemented each other. who were eager to diminish his fame). This opinion could hardly be otherwise with a man accustomed from his youth to dissect the highest of beings. lutely necessary for one to hear. that of . without finding therein that one soul that is so necessary to religious theories. If. whom may God forgive. and after life.THE ATHEIST'S MASS 47 phere was a kind of envelope generating all things. without died. some but invincibly atheistic — of the best fellows in the world. He believed neither in a mere animal nature giving origin to the race of man. i j | I many men.. a nervous center. nor Desplein was not in doubt.

Although for the sake of obtaining a decoration that doctors were not allowed to canvass for. If one of these giants has more talent than wit. his singular character. In a great man all his characteristics are generally in keeping with each other. he was quite capable of letting a prayer-book slip out of his pocket when at court. but at the same time ready to put his fortune at the disposal of exiled professors of his science.. . This insight may be applied to one witty fellow. One saw him now in a carriage. caught glimpses of their true character in the midst of the most solemn and the most trivial acts of their existence. it is all the same true that his wit is something deeper . Thus in our time Napoleon was condemned by his contemporaries for having spread the wings of the eagle towards England. and then he would suddenly affect a strange indifference in the matter of dress. — than that of one of whom all that I can be said is that "He is a Genius always implies a certain insight into he moral side of things. you may take it that in his own mind he made a mockery of Fie had a deep disdain for men. A French writer of tragedies. and shows the coordination of preparation and result. his fame and his scientific knowledge not being open to attack." .". For he possessed in no small degree that quality which the English call "eccentricity.for the explanation of 1804. By turns sharp-spoken and kindly assuming an air of closeness and stinginess. his enemies found fault with his strange whims. and of the flat-bottomed boats of Boulogne. now on foot. In the case of Desplein. They had to wait till 1822. all the same something will remain of these charges flung out in advance." Now he would be attired with a splendor that suggested Crebillon's s stately tragedy. who would do him the honor of accepting his help for a few days no one ever gave occasion for more contradictory judgments. after having everything.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 48 crowns the methods they have attacked.

known by the name of the Maison Vauquer. and they become used to struggles that are the lot of genius. Before becoming a resident student at the Hotel Dieu. Amongst the problems that the life of Desplein presented minds of his contemporaries. A famous Paris hospital. The hearing a diplomatist whom he was saving from death ask. like a diamond that can be subjected to blows of all kinds without breaking. as he had gained as exorbitant pretensions of Desplein. Desplein's pupils at the hospital. and that. 4 Horace Bianchon was a medical student. but one cannot see the flower with- same time seeing the sun that produces it. "The courtier is recovering. observation of mankind might do something to unwearying j ustif y the make one admit he himself believed. The student quarter of Paris. and will serve to clear him of many to the stupid accusations Among all made against him. 5. Horace Bian- chon was one of those to whom he was most strongly attached. incapable of taking any crooked course in matters where honor was in4. as a surgeon.THE ATHEIST'S MASS 49 special line of thought. we have chosen one of the most interesting. they acquire a probity that it cannot alter. Thus the patient. Though the fierce fire of passion has been aroused. he was capable of winning as much distinction as a Minister of State. which is a kind of crucible. but was also not without a out at the man who. whence men of great talent are expected to come forth pure and incorruptible. because the key to it will be found in the ending of the story. "How is the Emperor?" remarked. and the man will recover with him !" was not merely a doctor or a surgeon. Horace was an upright young man. in the midst of the ceaseless toil. living in the Quartier Latin 5 in a wretched lodging-house. There the poor young fellow experienced the pressure of that acute poverty. considerable amount of wit. . in which they curb desires that are not to be satisfied.

Horace Bianchon doubly dear to his friends. . with no more shyness than a trooper. he went his way with head erect and with a cheerful mind. when it comes to their turn. he contracted very few debts. which. Neither a puritan nor a preacher. and. The happiness of Bianchon's life began on the day when the famous surgeon became acquainted with the good qualities and the defects. To sum it all up in one word. he would in his simplicity enforce a word of good advice with any oath. frank and outspoken —not as a —but a sailor. Avenging deities. When the the Furies. page 315. Horace was one of those friends who do not trouble themselves as to what they are to receive in return for what they bestow. that young man man into his has. like all those who have nothing. 7 teacher of a hospital class receives a young inner circle. 6 creditors nowadays playing most realistically the part of wily diplomatist as fine He bore his poverty with that gaiety which is perhaps one of the chief elements of courage. But Horace manifested these good qualities without any pedantic display. as alert as a wild deer. make Dr. and many of them would have been afraid to provoke his censure. each as well as the other. taking it for granted that.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 50 volved . In a word. As enduring as a camel. Most of his friends had for him that heartfelt respect which is inspired by unostentatious worth. as he when for a bit of good cheer A the occasion offered. Horace was the Pylades of more than one Orestes. ready to pawn his over- was to give them his time and his long vigils. for the sailor of today is a young fellow. See Gayley's Classic Myths. 7. for the story of a friendship which has become proverbial. pleas- ant comrade. who has nothing in his life to be ashamed of. as the saying goes. going straight to the point . they will get more than they give. he was steadfast in his ideas and in his conduct. his 6. and was ready coat for his friends.

He studied the odd whims of this busy life. Desplein left all his patients. and in the enjoyment of an immense fortune and an equal renown. . Bianchon came to know the mys- where. One day Bianchon told Desplein that a poor stone though water-carrier was suffering from a horrible illness caused by overwork and poverty. the other a modest cipher without fortune or fame became intimate friends. able to forecast the disappointments that awaited the one touch of sentiment that was buried in a heart not of made to seem like stone. the young provincial had revealed him some of the mysteries of Parisian life. half bull. These two one of them at the summit of professional honors and science. the schemes of its sordid avarice. The result of all this was that after a certain time the tyrant of the operating theater had his right-hand man. At the risk of in the Quartier Saint-Jacques breaking down his horse. that in the end caused an abnormal expansion of the great man's chest and killed him by enlargement of the heart. teries of this the projects of this politician disguised as a He was man of science. The great Desplein told everything to his pupil. Desplein would have him in his study during consultations. in a word. to the poor man's lodging. and gave him. he was preparing a professional connection for him. and all unconsciously. and found work for him there. He went to attend to the man himself. he drove at full speed. accompanied by Bianchon.THE ATHEIST'S MASS 51 foot in the stirrup. Sometimes he would send him to a watering place. as companion to a rich invalid. to — — temperament. and himself superintended his removal to a private nursing home established by the celebrated Dubois in the Faubourg SaintDenis. half lion. This poor native of Auvergne had only potatoes to eat during the hard winter of 1821. Desplein did not fail to take Bianchon with him as his assistant to wealthy houses. where nearly always a gratuity slipped into the purse of the student.

Auvergne.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 52 recovered. this scoffer. Desplein. his pupil did not see anything very strange in this. central France." he said had seen him holding one of the cords of the to himself. humbly kneeling. where he took the greatest care of him. and where? in the Lady Chapel. and said to his bene- when he had water-cart. . Bianchon had on many occasions remarked that his chief had a particular liking for people from Auvergne. gave an alms for the church expenses and for the poor. and remained throughout as serious as if he wen: engaged in an operation. so Bianchon too slipped into Saint-Sulpice and was not a little surprised to see the famous Desplein. and slipped in quietly by the side door in the Rue du Petit Lion. this atheist.. and he at once brought him to Desplein. was on foot. One of his friends fell sick. "I 8. Desplein grasped the hand and said to him: "Bring them all to me." Overwhelmed with work as he was. who at this period would not go a step without calling for his carriage. "If. money enough to buy a horse and a The Auvergnat distinguished himself by an unconventional proceeding. and especially for the water-carriers but as Desplein took a kind of pride in his treatment of his poor patients at the Hotel Dieu. . One day when Bianchon was crossing the Place SaintSulpice he caught sight of his teacher going into the church about nine o'clock in the morning." He had this poor* fellow from the Cantal 8 admitted to the Hotel Dieu. Bianchon's astonishment knew no bounds. factor : "I would not think of allowing him to go to anyone else. where he heard a mass. The student was naturally seized by a great curiosity. who thought very little of angels. as if he was going into some doubtful place.. as beings who give no scope for surgery. water-carrier's . for he knew the opinions of his master.

book attacking orthodox Catholicism. "what has become of of this morning?" silent. The wars of the Count of Toulouse and the Albigenses were the sequel of that affair. as a mummery and "A farce. A had seen at Saint-Sulpice. It so happened that Desplein asked him to dine with him that day. by cleverly leading up to it. that only It is What dates from the sixth century. "that has cost Christendom more bloodshed than all leeches of Broussais. the battles of Napoleon. torrents of blood were not shed to establish the feast of Corpus Christi. They had already exchanged ideas on points quite as serious. Between the cheese and the dessert Bianchon." In a word Desplein took a pleasure in giving vent to all and there was a torrent of Voltairian his atheistic ardor. ing!" Bianchon had no wish to appear to be playing the spy on the chief surgeon of the Hotel Dieu. all the a papal invention. a detestable imitation of the style of the Citateur. discussed systems of the nature of chief that he 9. Desplein." said and spoke of a farce. it managed to say something about the mass. without any one to see him. and. or to describe it more accurately.THE ATHEIST'S MASS 53 canopy at a public procession on Corpus Christi I might just laugh at him but at this time of day. 9 "Hum!" my devotee He kept said Bianchon to himself. so he went away. . this is certainly something to set one think. all alone. They knew each other too well. The Vaudois and the Albigenses refused to recognize the the church for three centuries ! innovation. witticisms. not at his house but at a restaurant. He began to doubt if it was really his Desplein would not have taken the trouble to lie to Bianchon. by which the Court of Rome sought to mark its victory in the quesand the schism that has troubled tion of the real presence.

The doctor was satisfied with this evasion. Bianchon made up his mind to keep a watch on Desplein. In this case the recurring date of his devotions would give ground for a scientific investigation. who this time was no longer one of Desplein's resident students. and he promised himself that he would be there next year on the same day and at the same hour. Next year. memory. the hour. and once more heard his mass at the Lady altar. but not so Bianchon. on the day and at the hour. He remembered the day. The persistence of the illustrious man . "To see one of the priests there." said Desplein. my dear / master ?" he said to him. the devotee at haphazard. One day that year one of the doctors of the Hotel Dieu took Desplein by the arm in Bianchon's presence. as if he had a question to put to him. exploring and dissecting them With the knives and scalpels of incredulity. when he had caught him going into Saint-Sulpice. saw the surgeon's carriage stop at the corner of the Rue de Tournon and the Rue du Petit Lion. "Ah. he goes to see diseased knees in the church Why. the chief surgeon of the hospital. for one ought not to expect to find in such a man a direct contradiction between thought and in his ! action. and whom Madame the Duchess of Angouleme did me the honor to recommend to my care. His friend got out. he went to hear mass !" said the student to himself. Bianchon took no further step though it remained graven in connection with the incident. passed stealthily along by the wall of Saint-Sulpice. who has caries in the knee. to see if he would catch him again. "Whatever do you go to Saint-Sulpice for. Bianchon. the atheist at heart.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 54 things. Three months went by. The problem was getting to be a puzzle. It was inby deed Desplein.

"Well. found an opportunity to talk to him of Though they met in con- this singular incident in his life. and took his place beside him. when the people had stormed the Archbishop's house. "and all that time M. and after the Revolution of 1830. and asked him if that gentle- of science man was a regular attendant there. you are bound to give me an answer. when Republican zeal led them to destroy the gilded crosses that shone like rays of light above the immense sea of housetops. you of all men You must tell of confidential chat alone together. and their heads resting on the backs of their arm-chairs. who came to do his work in the chapel. it is more wonderful than all the mysteries. as he went away. after a lapse of seven years. or showing the least surprise. although the friend of Desplein. and explain to me this and your conduct. without his friend taking any notice of him. when unbelief side by side with revolt paraded the streets. and tell each other their secrets. sultation or in society. "the reason for this monkish proceeding of yours? I have already caught you going to mass three times." said Bianchon to Desplein.THE ATHEIST'S MASS 55 made it all very complicated. their feet ! me the meaning of this mystery. The doctor followed him in. When Desplein had gone out Bianchon went up to the sacristan. Bianchon. I have been here twenty years. when they left the church. my dear friend." flagrant contradiction between your opinions ! . You don't believe in God and you go to mass My dear master." Some time passed by before Dr. Together they heard the mass he had founded." to be present at this mass. At last. "A foundation made by him !" said Bianchon. Bianchon again came upon Desplein as he entered the church of Saint-Sulpice. "Will yoti tell me. "Well. it was difficult to get that moment when two men sit with on the fender." said the sacristan. Desplein has come four times a year He founded it.

am not asking you about all that/' said Bianchon. what comes next?" in those men!' "The mass that I events that occurred which you 10. when I was quite a young fellow." Just then Bianchon and the great man were in the Rue des Quatre Vents. do want to know the reason for what you have just been doing here. am "I to all you and And I. lodging ness with a Bianchon— "I lived up there for two years!" "I know that. tell Literally. Why have you founded this mass?" "My word my dear friend/' said Desplein. I came D'Arthez used to live there. narrow-fronted houses that stand like obelisks. one of the most horrible streets in Paris. with a furniture dealer installed on the ground and apparently a different type of wretchedin every story. w ish-colored front. men deeply religious appearance. Desplein said to floor. the room from the durance. at the end of which is a crooked "I "But I ! stair." then there was a torrent of epigrams referring to certain political personages. but quite as much atheists as we can be. As he raised his arm gesture that was full of energy. "I am on the brink of the grave. lighted by those small inner windows that are aptly It was a house with a green- called jours de souffrance. Desplein pointed to the sixth story of one of those high.if it 'the store bottle of great have just heard when I was is connected with living in that garret in Arthez once lived. the best sents us in our own time with a new known of whom pre- edition of the Tartuffe of Moliere. there nearly every day and days we used to call Well." . me "days I) .FRENCH SHORT STORIES 56 like a good many devotees. and I may just as well talk to you about the early days of my life. The outer door opens on a passage.

I dined only every second day.THE ATHEIST'S MASS window of which there is 57 a line hanging with clothes drying I had such a rough start dear Bianchon. and which I broke up into some milk. You know as well as I do what care I would take of such things as clothes the surface system. I could not look for any help from my faniity or my native place beyond the insufficient allowance that was made to me. the struggles of a my man who fits is of irritation the striving to rise to from his place in the very depths of the social But I can say to you. penny to my medical education: without a gloomy. after having long plodded through the morass of misery. in life. we see it know where one could see the steam of perspiration like about the horses on a frosty day. To sum it all up. on it.' which I should like to revisit with you. without a harm. in whose presence I have no need to cloak myself in any way. want of money. without help. for No my I don't I was life. lack of clothes. at that time my breakfast in the morning was a roll that a baker in the Rue du Petit Lion sold cheaply to me because it was from the baking of yesterday or the day before. nervous character did me one would recognize in distress. I have tried boots. in a boarding-house where one could get a dinner for eightpence. which will always be part of the endowment of men strong enough to climb up to some summit. I bore it all. buy books or stand up against such a alone. all that is hardest in poverty. that I had that basis of sound ideas and impressionable feelings. that I could dispute with any one you like the palm for suffering endured here in Paris. just above the flower-pot. thirst. As I worked in the winter a vapor would rise from my head. my — and I finds the foothold to all to pay the expenses of friend. irritable. Thus I spent only fourpence-halfpenny a day. . thus my morning meal did not cost me more than a penny. hunger. linen to warm my frozen fingers with my breath in that 'store bottle of great men.

and have a few pence to take a drink with them. And no one in Paris quite realizes that nothing is really nothing. or at hearing the rending noise of a torn coat cuff. I drank only water.' I used sometimes to ask myself. I had won no sympathy from those around me. . without encouragement. obstinate. I looked at the cafes with the greatest respect. or to play a game of dominoes ?' "Well. 'Shall I ever. where the Luculluses of the Quartier Latin had the exclusive right of entry. The lamp that lighted me during these nights of persistent toil cost me more than my food. The struggle was long. If I ever had any occasion to reveal my misery I felt in my throat that nervous contraction that makes our patients sometimes imagine there is a round mass coming up the gullet into the larynx. 'shall I ever be able to go in there to take a cup of coffee and hot milk. These gilded fools would say to me 11. I brought to my work the furious energy that my is poverty inspired. knew nothing of that problem of the Rule of Three: A young man is to a crime as a five franc 11 piece is to the unknown quantity x.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 58 and boots ! I am not sure that in later we feel more we have felt. : A franc is worth twenty cents. you life trouble at the treachery of a colleague than and I. at discovering the mocking grimace of a boot sole that coming away from the sewing. The Cafe Zoppi seemed to me like a promised land. and go with them wherever students are to be found ? I had nothing. Later on I have come across people who. I consumed more oil than bread. I tried rapidly to get a grasp of exact knowledge so as to acquire an immense personal worth in order to deserve the position I hoped to reach in the days when I would have come forth from my nothingness. To have friends must one not associate with other young fellows. having been born in wealth and never wanting for anything.

to know soon enough the horrible. In Paris when certain people see you ready to put your foot in the stirrup. and forced to work — the people were in — his five fingers to the bone to get a living. If you have a headache. that one steals your whip. who complains that I ask him for too high yes. my dear fellow. you call up your own superior powers. I should like a fee when there has to bean operation to see him all alone in Paris. A golrl coin worth $4. if you have sometimes seen me bitter and hard. If one evening you lose twenty-five louts. the unceasing warfare that medi- blank. that you claim to lord it 12. said: 'Why don't they buy sponge cakes?' I should like very much to see one of those rich men. others loosen the saddle girth. If to oppose this battalion of pygmies. without credit. If you are not lively. without a penny. envy. and your best friends will say that you have lost twenty-five thousand francs last night. the my selfishness of early troubles which I have seen a thousand instances in the highest circles. you will be set down as unsociable. What would he do? Where would he go to satisfy his hunger? Bianchon. who. calumny have raised up between me and success. or else I was thinking of the obstacles that hatred. without luggage. some of them pull at the skirt of your coat. . ocrity carries on against the man that is its superior. without a friend. the least treacherous of the lot is the one you see coming to fire a pistol at you point You have talent enough. jealousy. this one knocks a shoe off your horse. it was because I was then thinking at once of and of the heartlessness.THE ATHEIST'S MASS 59 Why "'But why do you get into debt? ever do you contract serious obligations?' "They remind me of that princess. 12 next morning you will be accused of being a gambler. on hearing that want of bread. your best friends will cry out that you wish to devour everything.00. you will be set down as a lunatic.

carriage to be paid. without being able to invent a stratagem which Mould put the trunk in my possession. who lived in a loft.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 60 and play the tyrant. My dear friend. recognize in me Desplein about I believe even less in man. it will be agreed that you have made sure of the present at the expense of his future. My. had paid the money and held the trunk. I took a walk in the Rue des FosseSaint-Germain-des-Pres and in the Rue de l'Ecole de Medicine. my dear friend. it will be a fall! Invent anything whatever. who does not like to see young men succeed. e German cobbler. If your patient reappears. though he is not dead. So. knowing nothing of Paris. your good qualities will be turned into defects. I was expecting from my native place a trunk full of linen. a sharp fellow. it will be said that you have killed him. I had to work to be ready to pass my first examination. The concierge of the house. and I had not a farthing. and your virtues will be crimes. and assert your rights. If you have saved some one. a present from some old aunts. he will die. because they imagine that with thirty francs a month their nephew dines on ortolans. delicately organized natures. "Well. think about providing one with dress shirts. I was living in that house. You know what it is I had come to one of those crises of utter extremity when one says to one's self: 'I will enlist!' I had one hope. If you stumble. a Desplein that whom is Do you not from the But we need quite different every one speaks ill? not dig into that heap of mud. stupidity seemed a very fair sign to me that I was tit for no vocation but surgery. and you will be a difficult man to deal with. your defects will be turned into vices. if I do not believe in God. It had cost forty francs. which of course I meant to pay alter selling the linen. In a word. who. without my being obliged to pay down the forty francs. The trunk arrived while I was away at the Medical School. whose powers ! — .

Genius such as theirs depends on chance. we will look for a place where we can lodge together. my good Bourgeat. and not rich enough to marry. without father or mother. I must clear out next day. and end by becoming quite used to each other. My neighbor informed me that the landlord. And after all it's not the earthly paradise. For the wretched there is a divine sleep full of beautiful dreams. just at the moment when my next room neighbor was coming in.' " 'I know it well. We knew each other in the way in which two lodgers come to know each other. : " 'Mister Student. He himself was to be evicted on account of his business. I to find a porter to remove my poor belongbooks ? How was I to pay the porter and the concierge? Where could I go? With tears in my eyes I "Where was ings. "At last. All our things can be packed on it. a water-carrier named Bourgeat. a foundling of the hospice of Saint-Flour. see here. a -man from Saint-Flour in Auvergne. after dark. getting up. 'but . I have down below a hand-cart that I have hired at a penny an hour. coughing. we are turned out of this. had sent me notice to quit. You are not much better off for relations. while I was eating my porringer full of bread crumbled into milk. they come upon them. and they can hear each other going to bed. are wanting in that which is fertile in resources and shifts. I went back to the house. I fell asleep. when both have their rooms on the same landing.' said I to him. Next morning. and said to me in bad French I'm a poor man. They do not seek out things. If you agree. to whom I owed three months' rent. or better provided with what counts ? Now. my repeated these insoluble questions. I passed the most sorrowspirit of intrigue ful night of my life.THE ATHEIST'S MASS 61 are exercised in some higher sphere. as lunatics repeat their catchwords. since Bourgeat came in.

'Keep I ! 7 3 our linen. showing me an old purse of greasy leather. The rent was the great obstacle. for I place to let would suit us. his stopping at every house that showed a 'Lodgings to As me would go upstairs to see if the At noon we were still wandering about the Quartier Latin without having found anything. When he found out how I was situated and he wormed out my secrets with a depth of cunning and at the same time with a kindly good nature that still moves my heart today when I think of it he renounced for some time to come the ambition of his life. He would soon be in a position to realize his ambition and buy a water-cart and a horse. There's a trunk for me downstairs that contains linen worth a hundred crowns. two rooms. and have not got as much as a hundred sous. Bourgeat. Towards evening. He sacrificed " his hundred crowns for my future. "We dined together. At this point Desplein took a firm grip of Bianchon's arm. . We got them for a rent of sixty francs a year each. A sou Is worth one cent. in the Cour de Rohan off the Passage du Commerce. . one on each side of the staircase. Bourgeat had been a street seller for twenty-two years. my box of linen on streets. had saved about a hundred crowns.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 62 I am in a great difficulty. and Then he put our furniture and hand-cart and drew it through the three months. Bourgeat proposed to me to have lunch at a wine-shop. I found. So there we were housed. who earned some fifty sous a day. under the roof at the top of a house. .' 13 " 'Bah I have some bits of coin/ Bourgeat answered me joyfully. at the door of which we left the hand-cart. with which I could pay the landlord and what I owe to the concierge. — — 13. and his settled with the concierge. myself and my humble friend. . "He gave me the money required for my examinations Let' card.' "Bourgeat paid my own rent.

He woke at the appointed hour. He had never been loved by anything but a poodle. had been really like a Christian. His dog. When me an I met him in the street intelligent look. and for twelve years it had gone to church with him. a full rounded forehead. had the features of a burgess of the middle ages. that had died a short time before. me up my in the night lamp. without ever barking. He busied friend. He for most watchful mother. in a rejoices in its he gave He became word the ideal of that virtue that own good work. that came before his. a head that a painter might have posed as the model for a Lycurgus. a man of" about forty. He trimmed 14. he said. full of a nobility that you cannot imagine. the needs of my my 63 had a mission. he would then assume a gait like that of a man who was carrying no burden. A Greek law-giver. as a lonely. that I intelligence himself with me. he seemed delighted at seeing me in good health and well dressed. and remaining crouched beside him with a look that made one think it was praying the money I . This took me me up like a man transferred all his affection to me. 14 The poor man felt his heart big with affection seeking for some object. asking if by any possibility the church would consent to have prayers for its soul. Bourgeat.THE ATHEIST'S MASS This man understood. scrubbed . with him. It was such devoted affection as one finds among the common people. Bourgeat ran my errands. the love of the little shop girl. the most delicately thought- ful of benefactors. he came in sometimes finally he took quite quite quietly to watch me at my work a motherly care to see that I substituted a wholesome and abundant diet for the bad and insufficient fare to which I had been condemned. raised to a higher level. and about which he was always talking to me. he called me his 'little one. listening to the organ without so much as opening its mouth.' he lent me wanted to buy books. suffering creature.

second century B. Bourgeat was proud of me. . Like Philopoemen 15 he sawed up our firewood. Bourgeat absolutely insisted on buying for me that pocket-case of instruments mounted with silver that you have seen in my study. by buying him a horse and a watercart. requested his help in the preparation. and he set about all his actions with a simplicity in performing them that at the same time preserved his dignity. and he wiped away a tear as he said to me "'It's a pity! Oh. If you look up my essay for the doctorate you will see that it was dedicated to him. and which is for me the most valued father to me. He looked at his water-barrel and his horse. The hostess.is clonk and began to cut fire-wood. being late with the dinner. A Greek general. noted for his simple habits.our landing.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 64 He was . he felt a kind of sorrowful gloom come over him at the thought that he could no longer live with me. arriving at a house to which he had been invited to dinner. a good servant as well as a good work as an English maid. In the last year of my indoor course. once. He loved me for my own sake and for his own. for he seemed to realize that the end in view ennobled it all. 15. : . and nevertheless he was delighted at seeing his desires realized. I had made enough money to be able to repay all that I owed to this worthy Auvergnat. and he made me promise to come to see him on all my holidays. . He laughed and he scolded me. and as cleanly in his He looked after our housekeeping. when his host arrived and expressed dismay Philopoemen explained thai he was only paying the penult v tor his plainness. what a fine water-cart! You have done wrong! The horse is as strong as if he came !' from Auvergne "I have never seen anything more touching than this scene. "When I left this fine fellow to enter the Hotel Dieu as a resident student. lie threw ofl l. He was exceedingly angry at finding that I was thus depriving myself of my money. . ('.. But he consoled himself by looking forward to getting together the monejr that would be necessary for the expenses of my final examination. he was mistaken tor one of his own retainers.

he had to succumb. and notwithstanding the most assiduous care. I had mass said for him every day. Yes. Often in the night he expressed to me his fears for his future he was afraid that he had not lived a holy enough life. to snatch this life from death I tried unheard-of things. When I my . You may imagine how I passed whole nights at his bedside. I wanted to make him live long enough to allow him to see the results of his work.THE ATHEIST'S MASS my of first possessions. He loved the Blessed Virgin as he would have loved his mother. leaving me all he possessed by a will which he had made at a public notary's. after a pause. but two years after there was a relapse. if there is a heaven? He received the last sacraments like the saint that he was. in 'It is to 65 work. my second father died in my arms. Bianchon. is due killed for And !' my by my me my word or a gesture that that this man's success nevertheless. "I was the only one who followed his funeral. to extinguish a fire that burns in me even now "Bourgeat. notwithstanding the greatest efforts of science." continued Desplein. to satisfy the one gratitude that had filled my heart. Zealous Catholic as he was. and which bore the date of the year when we went to lodge in the Cour de Rohan. Who is heaven for then. I pulled him through it the first time. No king was ever cared for as he was. I should have been misery. "Bourgeat. with evident emotion. He fell sick. garlic. . he had never said a word to me about my own lack of religion. but for him. to realize all his wishes. and his death was worthy of his life. he never let slip a could be taken to mean. Poor man! he used to work from morning to night. Although he was enraptured with successes. When he was in danger of death he begged me to spare nothing to obtain the help of the Church for him. The poor man broke himself down He had eaten nothing but bread seasoned with order that I might have coffee while I sat up at sake. He had the faith of a simple workman.

would give my fortune for the sake of finding the faith of Bourgeat coming into my brain." : "A grateful country . I tried to find out my debt of gratitude to him. and if he has still anything to suffer. if there is a sphere where after their death you place those who have been perfect. on the facade of which one reads the words: Aux grands hommes la Patrie reconnaissante? lfi. I Bianchon. does not venture to affirm. think of good Bourgeat. I knew that he had neither family nor friends. Will not those who believe take pleasure in the thought that perhaps the poor Auvergnat came to open for him the gate of Heaven. lay these sufferings on me. But he believed he had religious convictions. I gave the Saint- sum necessary to have four masses said there As the only thing that I could offer to Bourgeat was the fulfilment of his pious wishes. as he had already opened for him the portals of that temple on earth. As soon had laid how I could discharge ! as I could arrange for the Sulpice the each year. who holds my This. he did not seek to impose this duty on me. and say the prayers for him that he wished for. who attended Desplein in his last illness. I go there in his the day the mass is said at the beginning of each quarter of the year. I say them in the good faith of one who doubts: 'My God. even now. neither wife nor children. so that he may enter the sooner into what name on — they call Paradise man. !' my dear friend. all that a God must He will not take it ill on my part. can allow himself. The 1C inscription on the Pantheon in Paris to its great men. endowment. that the famous surgeon died an atheist." be good-hearted.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 66 my one benefactor in the earth. is opinions. and had I any right to dispute them? He had spoken to me timidly of masses said for the repose of the dead. thinking that it would be like asking to be paid for his services to me. and But I swear to you.

and idle. and to the pettifogger by fate. as was Simonnin. attorney-at-law. where dwelt after hitting the hat of a stranger courtyard of a house in the Maitre Derville. Simonnin. 1. Clara Bell. He is akin to the street boy in his habits. impudent. or I will turn you out of doors. However poor a client may be. greedy. unbroken. a office. A 67 . "Come. fired who was crossing the Rue Vivienne. in every or forty francs 2 a month. unmanageable. The boy is almost always ruthless. don't play tricks on people. Translated by Mrs. 2. pausing in the addition of a bill of costs. The pellet. is under the special jurisdiction of the managing clerk.COLONEL CHABERT By "Hullo ! There is 1 HONORS DE BALZAC that old Box-coat again !" This exclamation was made by a lawyer's clerk of the French offices a gutter-jumper a messenger in fact who at this moment was eating a piece of dry bread — class called in — with a hearty appetite. almost all these clerklings have an old mother lodging on some fifth floor with whom they share their pittance of thirty is lad of thirteen or fourteen. The lawyer's messenger commonly. he is still a man. a ribald rhymester. rebounded almost as high as the window. whose errands and billets-doux keep him employed on his way to carry writs to the bailiffs and petitions to the Courts. who. well aimed. franc is worth twenty cents. hang it all !" said the head clerk. to into a bullet. And yet. make and He pulled off a morsel of crumb it gleefully through the open pane of the window against which he was leaning.

pausing in the middle of a discourse he was extemporizing in an appeal engrossed by the fourth clerk. as is provec by the date of the order hereinafter designated.' said Godeschal to the three copying clerks." he wen sentence brings me to the end of my page. whose name was Godeschal. his Majesty (write it at full length. SK page of thick stampei . — on. heh Louis the Eighteenth when ht Desroches the learned you. and ought to faithful adherents please the Bench) all their unsold estates. in a low voice. leaning hi. whether witliit — — — — — our realm. one of his legs raised and propped against the other. for he rested standing like a cab-horse. They are pious enough at the Courts to let us put six) and his first thought. or endowments of public institutions. on the toe of his shoe. with the air of a schoolboy who has caught out his master. wetting the back fold of the sheet with as to be able to fold hack the his tongue. truly loyal order given in Stop. Then he went on improvising "But. or in conquered or acquired territory. And he went on eating his bread and cheese. as you engross it!) resumed the reins of Government. of which copies were being made by two neophytes from the provinces. understood (what die the high missior that old nincompoop ever understand?) to which he had been called by Divine Providence (a not< of admiration and six stops. "What trick can we play that cove?" said the third clerk. teas to repaii the misfortunes caused by the terrible and sad disasters of the revolutionary times. that this are. for we ourselves competent to declare. why do you call him old Box-coat?" asked Simonnin. in his noble and beneficent wisdom.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 68 "If he is a man.< shoulder against the window jamb. is in tin and proclain the spirit — am meaning of the famous. "that rascalh Well. by restoring to his numerous ant ("numerous" is flattering.

" fill "By Jingo!" repeated one of the copying clerks before Boucard. the old !" And Godeschal "given in took up the sentence he was dictating —Are you ready?" "Yes. "Why ! Monsieur Hure." "Given in —in?" asked Godeschal. "Given in It . leaning across his neighbor's copy. the fourth clerk. went on together. what is the date of must dot our i's and cross our t's. You would hear of it from the chief Come. looking at one of the novices. A city in northern France noted for its legal institutions. ! ! !' law. whose business "If the were to see such things he would say you were laughing at the whole boiling. you take 'By Jingo' for a law term. "Why. with an expression at once stern and humorous. no more of this nonsense. could reply. We the order? Daddy. "well. the appeal. if you want to 69 play him a trick. and you say you come from Mortagne!" 3 exclaimed Simonnin. Boucard." cried the three writers.Boucard. "he has written i's and spelt it We must dot our by Gingo!" A\ the clerks shouted with laughter. "What! have you written by Jingo?" cried Godeschal. helps to —Here. "Scratch it cleanly out. the head clerk." said Desroches. yes. and the It all conspiracy. the gossip. — "Tell me when. ruffian we tell him two and shall see if he comes. that the master can only see his clients between three in the morning.COLONEL CHABERT paper. It is the 'Shoulder arms of the it is to tax the bill." said the head clerk. . Monsieur Hure A Norman ought not to write out an appeal without thought. by Jingo the pages." 3. judge.

and curly heads. triangles of Brie cheese. glasses. final or interim judgments. The lower rows were filled with cardboard boxes. all the glory of a lawyer's office. bright. It was between eight and nine in the morning. settlements under trust. The stove pipe crossed the room diagonally to the chimney of a bricked-up fireplace on the marble chimney-piece were several chunks of bread. The office was a large room furnished with the traditional stool which is to be seen in all these dens of law-quibbling. 1814/' replied the head clerk. and the head clerk's cup of chocolate. lifted their of the prolix document. Behind the head clerk was an enormous stack of pigeon-holes from the top to the bottom of the room. The floor was covered with mud and snow. teeth. The smell of these dainties blended completely with that of the immoderately overheated stove and the odor peculiar to and old papers. without looking up his work. noses towards the door. broutilles (odds . brought in by the clerks. sales. Near the window stood the desk with a revolving lid. in !" Boucard kept his face buried in a pile of papers and ends) in French law jargon— and went on drawing out the bill of costs on which he was busy. bottles. from A knock at the office door interrupted the circumlocutions Five clerks with rows of hungry mocking eyes. pork cutlets. of which each division was crammed with bundles of papers with an infinite number of tickets hanging from them at the ends of red tape. after crying all together in a singing "Come tone.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 70 "June. which give a peculiar physiognomy to lawpapers. announcing seizures of real estate. The second clerk was at this moment in Court. where the head clerk worked. on which might be read the names of the — . The only decoration of the office consisted in huge yellow offices posters. and against the back of it was the second clerk's table. yellow with use.

thick with dust. something repulsive to the clients — bling-hell. nor the counsel. under the old order of things. The greasy furniture is handed down to successive owners with such scrupulous care. the drama being played in a man's soul makes him indifferent to accessories. So in this dark office. there are very few offices in Paris clients The present time." . of the brothel. of the lottery office. there was. a pas- sage. the most loathsome. to the chief. nor the in the morning left to . represented the present Court of First Instance (or County Court). for they are all very natural neglect. where 71 possible to write without lamplight before ten it is in the month of February. trouble themselves about the which. machines for twisting parchment gut. as in all — something which made it one of the most hideous monstrosities of Paris. of the Law Court. that in some offices may still be seen boxes of remainders. But why? In these places. is appearance of a place a schoolroom. of all social marts. this little daylight. But we might say the same of the gam- its fellows. which would also account for the single-mindedness of great thinkers and "Where "I am is men my eating of great ambitions. and bags left by the prosecuting parties of the Chatelet (abbreviated to Chlet) — a Court which.COLONEL CHABERT more important whose cases were juicily stewing at dirty window-panes admitted but Indeed. a laboratory. Nay. to the clients. perhaps. everyone comes and no one stays no one has any personal interest in a scene of mere routine neither the attorney. — clerks. where flutter the rags that blight ail the illusions of life by showing us the last end of all our festivities an attorney's office would be. were it not for the moldy sacristies where prayers are weighed out and paid for like groceries and for the oldclothes shops. to the youths. penknife?" my breakfast.

" "Silence. But if you will lay the case before us. as "What do you want. hoping to get a civil answer from this boy of all work. sit many chairs in their offices. Accustomed. his ear with as to say. being kept waiting on his feet. By grace of their profession. do not have The where he looked in was evidently tired. "Monsieur. he very politely addressed the gutter. dog who has got into a strange kitchen and expects a . for he neys. to gauge men. but patted much the fingers of his left hand." replied the victim. gentlemen!" These various exclamations were uttered simultaneously moment when at the sort of humility down on the old client shut the door with the which disfigures the movements of a man his luck. is your master at home?" The pert messenger made no reply. no doubt. inferior client. he does no serious work till midnight. "I wish to speak to M. and left . Derville. flourishing his knife and crossing his legs.jumper. "I am deaf. Derville is it " no one but you want to consult him on to in bed. throwing up one foot in the air to the level of his eyes. if some difficulty. like a kick. but the muscles of his face relaxed as he vainly looked for some symptoms of amenity on the inexorably indifferent faces of the six clerks." "On business?" "Yes. "This is the fifth time I have called. goes away . we could help you just as " well as he can to The stranger was unmoved he looked timidly about him. swallowing enough as he spoke a mouthful of bread big to charge a four-pounder. Attor- to study the place. The stranger tried to smile." sir?" asked Godeschal. but I can explain "M.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 72 "You go and be hanged ! here is a blot on the copy. they did not suspect the owner of the box- him vain for a chair to on. lawyers' clerks have no fear of thieves coat. on principle.

monsieur. "He looks as if he had been buried and dug up again. with the tenacious desire. He I smelt the fragrance of his chocolate. The clerks. rose from his cane arm-chair. business to any one but M." man from head went to the to foot. ably reflected that whichever it would be impossible 4 to squeeze out a centime. stared and made an indescribable grimace. looked the old at his coat. ." said the old man. he throws himself more eagerly on the mercy of God. When a poor wretch has convicted Society of falsehood. and paying no further heed to the old man. and remained motionless at for a moment. and the odd whimsicalities to which indecision or absence of mind gives rise in "parties. The only irony allowed to poverty is to drive Justice and Benevolence to unjust denials. Derville. "What do you think of that for a cracked pot?" said Simonnin.COLONEL CHABERT 73 grumbling. without waiting till the old man had shut the door. "It is the truth. He probway this client might be wrung. 4. It is no longer current:. but then he does not waste time. as an old lawyer once said. to catch humanity at fault. If your business is The important. up." said a clerk. so he put in a few brief words to rid the office of a bad customer. making as much noise with their jaws as horses over a manger. "as I can not explain will wait till he is my I have already told you. chimney-piece." said the stranger at length. I chief only works at night. accustomed to every change of countenance." The stranger looked at the head clerk with a bewildered expression. is not allowed for when the bill is taxed. Boucard had finished his bill. recommend you to return one in the morning." went on eating. which. A copper coin worth a fifth of a cent. "Monsieur. peculiar to the unfortunate. "I will come again tonight.

FRENXH SHORT STORIES

74

"He

is

some Colonel who wants

his arrears of pay/' said

the head clerk.

"No, he is a retired concierge/' said Godeschal.
"I bet you he is a nobleman/' cried Boucard.
"I bet you he has been a porter/' retorted Godeschal.
"Only porters are gifted by nature with shabby box-coats,
as worn and greasy and frayed as that old body's. And
did you see his trodden-down boots that let the water in,
and his stock which serves for a shirt? He has slept in a
dry arch."

"He may

be of noble birth, and yet have pulled the door!"
"It has been known

latch/' cried Desroches.

"No/' Boucard insisted, in the midst of laughter, "I mainwas a brewer in 1789, and a Colonel in the time

tain that he

of the Republic."

"I bet theater tickets round that he never was a soldier,"
said Godeschal.

"Done with you," answered Boucard.
"Monsieur Monsieur
ing the window.

!"

!

"What

shouted the

little

messenger, open-

are you at now, Simonnin?" asked Boucard.

am

calling him that you may ask him whether he is
a Colonel or a porter; he must know."
All the clerks laughed. As to the old man, he was already
coming upstairs again.

"I

"What can we say
"Leave

it

to

to

him?" cried Godeschal.

me," replied Boucard.

The poor man came in nervously, his eyes cast down,
perhaps not to betray how hungry he was by looking too
greedily at the eatables.

"Monsieur," said Boucard, "will you have the kindness to
leave your name, so that

"Chabert."

M.

Derville

may know

"

COLONEL CHABERT

75

"The Colonel who was killed at Eylau?" 5 asked Hure,
who, having so far said nothing, was jealous of adding a jest
to all the others.

"The same, Monsieur,"

And

simplicity.

replied the good man, with antique

he went away.

"Whew!"
"Done brown !"
"Poof!"

"Oh!"
"Ah!"
"Bourn!"

"The

old rogue!"

"Ting-a-ring-ting

!"

!"

"Sold again
"Monsieur Desroches, you are going to the play without
paying," said Hure to the fourth clerk, giving him a slap
on the shoulder that might have killed a rhinoceros.

There was a storm of cat-calls, cries, and exclamations,
which all the onomatopeia of the language would fail to represent.

"Which theater shall we go to?"
"To the opera," cried the head clerk.
"In the first place." said Godeschal, "I never mentioned
which theater. I might, if I chose, take you to see Madame
Saqui."

"Madame

Saqui

"What

a play?" replied Godeschal.

is

is

not the play."

What

define the point of fact.

play.

What

is

a play

?

A

"First,

we must

did I bet, gentlemen?

spectacle.
"

What

is

A

a spectacle

?

Something to be seen
"But on that principle you would pay your bet by taking
5.

Eylau

is

a

in East Prussia. An indecisive battle was fought
between the French under Napoleon, and the Ger-

town

here, Feb. 8. 1808.

mans and Russians.

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

'

76

Neuf

us to see the water run under the Pont

!"

cried Simon-

nin, interrupting him.

"To be seen

for money," Godeschal added.
"But a great many things are to be seen for money that

are not plays.

"But do

"You

The

listen to

definition

defective/' said Desroches.

is

me !"

are talking nonsense,

my

dear boy," said Boucard.

"Is Curtius' a play?" said Godeschal.

"No," said the head
but

it is

clerk, "it

is

a collection of figures

a spectacle."

"I bet you a hundred francs to a sou," 6 Godeschal resumed,
"that Curtius' Waxworks forms such a show as might be
called a play or theater.

It contains a thing to be seen

various prices, according to the place you choose to

at

occupy."

"And so on, and so forth !" said Simonnin.
"You mind I'don't box your ears!" said Godeschal.
The clerks shrugged their shoulders.
"Besides,
ing

game

it is

not proved that that old ape was not mak-

of us," he said, dropping his argument, which was

drowned in the laughter of the other clerks. "On my honor.
Colonel Chabert is really and truly dead. His wife is married again to Comte Ferraud, Councillor of State. Madame
Ferraud is one of our, clients."
"Come, the case is remanded till tomorrow," said Boucard..

we get nothing done
must be handed in
before the sitting of the Fourth Chamber, judgment is to be
!"
given today. Come, on you go
"If he really were Colonel Chabert, would not that impudent rascal Simonnin have felt the leather of his boot in the
right place when he pretended to be deaf?" said Desroches,
regarding this remark as more conclusive than Godeschal's.
"To work, gentlemen. The deuce
here.

6.

in

it

Finish copying that appeal;

it

One

cent.

is

;

COLONEL CHABERT

77

is settled/' said Boucard, "let us all agree
go to the upper boxes of the Francais 7 and see Talma in
Nero. Simonnin may go to the pit."
And thereupon the head clerk sat down at his table, and
the others followed his example.
"Given in June eighteen hundred and fourteen (in
words)/' said Godeschal. "Ready?"

"Since nothing

to

"Yes/' replied the two copying clerks and the engrosser,
whose pens forthwith began to creak over the stamped paper,
making as much noise in the office as a hundred cockchafers
imprisoned by schoolboys in paper cages.
"And we hope that my lords on the Bench," the extemporizing clerk went on.
"Stop I must read my sentence
through again. I do not understand it myself."
"Forty-six (that must often happen) and three forty!

nines/' said Boucard.

"We hope," Godeschal began again, after reading all
through the documents, "that my lords on the Bench will
not be less magnanimous than the august author of the decree,
and that they will do justice against the miserable claims of
the acting committee of the chief Board of the Legion of
Honor by interpreting the law in the tvide sense we have
here set forth

"Monsieur Godeschal, wouldn't you

like a glass of

water?"

said the little messenger.

"That imp of a boy

!"

said Boucard.

"Here, get on your

double-soled shanks-mare, take this packet, and spin off to
the Invalides."

"Here

set forth,"

Madame

Godeschal went on.

"Add

in the inter-

Vicomtesse (at full length) de Grandlieu."
"What" cried the chief, "are you thinking of drawing up
an appeal in the case of Vicomtesse de Grandlieu against

est of

the Legion of
7.

la

Honor

— a case

The foremost theater

for the office to stand or fall

in France.

FRENXH SHORT STORIES

78

Have the goodness
your copies and your notes; you may keep all
It
that for the case of Navarreins against the Hospitals.
is late; I will draw up a little petition myself, with a due
allowance of 'inasmuch,' and go to the Courts myself."
This scene is typical of the thousand delights which, when
we look back on our youth, make us say, "Those were good
by ?

You

are something like an ass

!

to put aside

times."

At about one
knocked

morning Colonel Chabert,

in the

at the door of

self-styled,

Maitre Derville, attorney to the Court

Department of the Seine. The porhim that Monsieur Derville had not yet come in.
The old man said he had an appointment, and was shown
upstairs to the rooms occupied by the famous lawyer, who,
notwithstanding his youth, was considered to have one of
of First Instance in the

ter told

the longest heads in Paris.

Having rung, the

distrustful applicant

was not a

little

astonished at finding the head clerk busily arranging in a

convenient order on his master's dining-room table the papers
relating to the cases to be tried on the morrow. The clerk,
not less astonished, bowed to the Colonel and begged him to

take a seat, which the client did.

"On my word, Monsieur,

I

thought you were joking yes-

terday when you named such an hour for an interview," said
tlie

old

man, with the forced mirth of a ruined man, who

does his best to smile.

"The

were joking, but they were speaking the truth
man, going on with his work. "M. Derville
chooses this hour for studying his cases, taking stock of
their possibilities, arranging how to conduct them, deciding
on the line of defense. His prodigious intellect is freer at
this hour
the only time when he can have the silence and
quiet needed for the conception of good ideas.
Since he
clerks

too," replied the

COLONEL CHABERT

79

entered the profession, you are the third person to come to

him for a consultation

at this

midnight hour.

After coming-

in the chief will discuss each case, read everything,

spend

four or five hours perhaps over the business, then he will

me and

me his intentions. In the morntwo he hears what his clients have to say,
then he spends the rest of his day in appointments. In the
evening he goes into society to keep up his connections. So
he has only the night for undermining his cases, ransacking
the arsenal of the Code, and laying his plan of battle. He is
ring for

ing from ten

explain to

till

determined never to lose a case ; he loves his art. He will
not undertake every case, as his brethren do. That is his
life,

an exceptionally active one.

And he makes

a great

deal of money."

As he
and

listened to this explanation, the old

his strange face

assumed an expression

man

sat silent,

so bereft of intel-

ligence, that the clerk, after looking at him, thought

no more

about him.

A

few minutes later Derville came in, in evening dress;
head clerk opened the door to him, and went back to finish
arranging the papers.
The young lawyer paused for a
moment in amazement on seeing in the dim light the strange
client who awaited him.
Colonel Chabert was as absolutely
immovable as one of the wax figures in Curtius' collection
to which Godeschal had proposed to treat his fellow-clerks.
This quiescence would not have been a subject for astonishment if it had not completed the supernatural aspect of
the man's whole person. The old soldier was dry and lean.
His forehead, intentionally hidden under a smoothly combed
wig, gave him a look of mystery. His eyes seemed shrouded
in a transparent film; you would have compared them to
dingy mother-of-pearl with a blue iridescence changing in
the gleam of the wax-lights. His face, pale, livid, and as thin
his

as a knife, if I

may

use such a vulgar expression, was as

showing his skull horribly disfigured by a scar beginning at the nape of the neck and ending over the . or a judge might have discerned a whole drama at the sight of its sublime horror. the without a frame. the cold wrinkles. This grotesque effect. giving the face an indescribably ill-starred look which no human in words could render. sence of all movement And the ab- in the figure. as drops of water from the sky falling on fine marble at last destroy its beauty. while the least charm was its resemblance to the grotesques which artists amuse themselves by sketching on a corner of the lithographic stone while chatting with a friend. an author. The celebrate*! his hat Putrh portrait painter. Round his neck was a tight black silk stock. A physician. Below the dark line of this rag the body was so comshadow that a man of imagination might have supposed the old head was due to some chance play of light and shade. and left his head bare. could also have read in this stricken man the signs of deep sorrow. . especially a lawyer. and the deteriorating symptoms characteristic of senility. bow to the was doubtless very greasy. though natural. were harmony with a certain look of melancholy madness. 8. his wig stuck to it without his noticing it.. with the convulsive thrill that comes over a poet rouses The him from a man hastily removed his young man the leather lining of old when fruitful reverie in silence a sudden noise and hat and rose to at night. On seeing the attorney. But an observer. colorless tone of the corpse-like countenance. threw into relief by contrast the white furrows. the stranger started. of all fire in the eye. the traces of grief which had worn into this face. or have taken it for a portrait by Rembrandt/ pletely hidden in The brim of the hat which covered the old man's brow cast a black line of shadow on the upper part of the face.FRENCH SHORT STORIES $0 the face of the dead.

is the natural intrepidity of Whether from the habit of receiving a great many persons." the Colonel went on. like priests and physicians. Derville signed to Boucard. gested by the sight of this old must have escaped through that cut. or from the deep sense of the protection conferred on them by the law." replied the old man. the lawyer and his clerk glanced at each other.COLONEL CHABERT 81 right eye. or from confidence in their mission. the young man but while he gave his attention to the deceased Colonel." said the dead man. "I time. The sudden removal of the dirty wig which the poor man wore to hide this gash gave the two lawyers no inclination to laugh. I was of important ." said Derville. "Monsieur. as much as to say. 1 So be brief and concise. "He is mad. fearing nothing. Speak. "His intelligence this riven skull." "Monsieur. they enter everywhere. my miserly of sir." thing well worthy of note lawyers. but at night every minute am is not so precious. Go to the facts without digression. "During the day." "If this trooper I" is not Colonel Chabert. a prominent seam all across his head. he turned over the bundles of papers. I will ask for any explanations I may consider necessary. "You know. who vanished. "to is some thorough-going whom have I the honor of speaking?" "To Colonel Chabert." "Which?" "He who was killed at Eylau. "that I commanded a cavalry regiment at Eylau. On hearing this strange speech. so horrible to behold was The first idea sugwound was." Having bid sat down his strange client to at the table . be seated. "I wish to confide to you the secret of A my position." said the attorney. he thought Boucard. perhaps.

was the Master wished to know if there were no hope of saving the man he had to thank for such a vigorous attack. One of them gave me a cut across the head that crashed through everything. Murat came up to I fell from my horse. most famous marshals. who as a precaution for he was fond of me. 10. where in full detail. he and all his men. 10 after having scattered the Russians. I came against a squadron of the enemy's cavalry.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 82 service to the success of Murat's 9 cided the victory. 9. rested his left elbow on the table. He sent two surgeons to identify me and bring me into Hospital. the young lawyer ceased fingering the papers. The certificate of death was probably made out in accordance with the rules of milito repeat the . so that we had movement back again. no doubt did not trouble themselves to feel my pulse. Ono of Napoleon's battle of Eylau. Two Russian officers. and cut deep into the skull. my death is recorded in Victoires et Conquetes." As he heard his visitor express himself with complete and relate a story so probable though so strange. support me he rode over my body. Unhappily famous charge which for me." These rascally saw-bones. Napoleon Bonaparte. and with his head on his hand looked lucidity. fifteen hundred of them there might have been more My death was announced to the Emperor. for he was very busy. attacked me both at once. perhaps too carelessly. who had just seen me lying under the hoofs of the horses of two regiments. perfect giants. which at once closed up and formed again. — ! — — tary jurisprudence. fact. "Go and see whether by any chance poor Chabert is still alive. I rushed at the obstinate brutes. even a black silk cap I wore next my head. saying. and reported that I was quite dead. At the moment when we were nearing the Emperor. We de- a historical it is related cut through the three Russian lines. He took part in tin . steadily at the Colonel.

Monsieur. after a hundred attempts to interest lawyers. allow prove the facts. being trampled to death or hit bv a ball. Monsieur. "When I came to myself. I wanted to move. I opened my eyes. thought I will tell my misfortunes afterwards. to like the right or to the body of my horse. The most alarming circumstance . or have thrown me into a state analogous to that of a disease called. by telling and of explained the marvel of I know must speak met an old quarterThis dear fellow. I Stuttgart. which. Certain circumstances. for the present. I suppose. "Colonel Cha- widow?" bert's "My wife — yes. in 1814. and found no room. of which I could after the event. Monsieur. I believe. a monk Man As I was no doubt covered by which protected moment when and beast went down together. and saw nothing. that I 83 am lawyer to the Comtesse Ferraud. known. catalepsy. as tom in time of war." he said. The little air there was to breathe was foul. interrupting the speaker. I was in a position and an atmosphere of which I could give you no idea if I talked till tomorrow. Therefore. to no one but the Almighty. the only man my me all. made up my mind I to who have come all to you. after me from fell. regiment. and thrown into the men ordered to bury the dead ? "Allow me here to refer to a detail is how is it the cus- common grave by the nothing of as till my At death. Otherwise conceivable that I should have been stripped. that my horse was shot in the flank at the was wounded.COLONEL CHABERT "Do you know. I master of later. explaining rather how things must have fallen out rather than how they did occur. I whom I will tell you more my preservation. The wounds I had received must presumably have produced you of me to tetanus. the left. compel me to speak of some things as hypothetical. who chose to recognize me. cut out of card-paper. fruitless me mad.

for here I am! But to this day I do not know the arm rescue. and me this enlightened as to my situa- understood that no fresh air could penetrate to me. You will say I had This crowbar. I Feeling about me at once. . A which I owed my must have perished. and ideas. —groans from the world of dead among whom I ears. forming an angle like that made by two cards when a child — is building a card castle. There was a violent tion. I began to work my May through the bodies which separated me from the layer am earth which had no doubt been thrown over us I say usj as if there had been others living! I worked with a will. there was a silence such as I have never known elsewhere literally. I will I I assert nothing I was lying. granted by a chance of which I knew not the cause. But with a fury you may imagine. Some nights I still think I hear those stifled moans though the remembrance of that time is very obscure. It would seem that. thanks to the carelessness and the haste with which we had been pitched into the trench.. I discerned a vacant space between my head and. in spite of more acute suffering which have confused my I was fated to my impressions go through. At last. I singing in my heard — or thought heard. which I used cleverly enough! three arms. and that I must die. "But there was something more awful than cries. for there happily felt an arm lying detached. by raising my hands and feeling the dead. to for this unhoped-for help. and my memory of far very indistinct. I could thus measure the space. of a Hercules But ! stout bone. and I . I — how I succeeded in getting through the pile of flesh which formed a barrier between me and life. the human carrion above.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 84 was the lack of air. This thought took off the sense of intolerable j^ain which had aroused me. the silence of the grave. Monsieur. opened out a little air between the bodies I moved. two dead bodies had leaned across and against each other. was no time for play.

this whose feet as a spring. could. or that of my comrades. that I had been Colonel Chabert. I found myself in the mid. using of the dead. Six months afterwards. and between them got me to their poor hovel. yes. or. one fine morning. my hosts to the hospital at Heilsberg. I fainted away when my head came into contact with the snow. But. so I had very little chance of being heard. "It would seem that catalepsy — allow me they must have again fallen into a word to describe a state of but which. had in coagulating formed a sort of natural plaster. when I remembered. those cursed Germans flying from a voice they heard where they could see no one. or perhaps the torn skin of my horse. I suppose to have been the effect of that malady.COLONEL CHABERT 85 economized my breath. the little warmth left in me melted the snow about me and when I recovered consciousness. talking in delirium. Monsieur. which must have looked as though it had sprouted from the ground like a mushroom. on one You may suppose that for saying. on recovering my wits. However. Was there any one in the fields yet? I dle of a round hole. I was dug out by a woman. quite a long time. resting were ribs was not the moment firm. This fortune if the !' word woman went to fetch her husband. but through snow "At that moment I perceived that my head was cut open. who knows. and when. I tried to exact from my nurse rather . Happily my blood. got me admitted At last. after enduring the anguish. At last I saw daylight. I remained for six months between life and death not speak. is strong enough for my frenzy of seeing for a long time. if I spoke. in spite of it. 'Respect courage in mis- In short. ing. where I stood shouting as long as I But the sun was rising. by my hosts. my pulled myself up. who was brave or curious enough to come close to my head. from the account given I to use the which I have no idea.

after hearing my own !' I became conI grew adventure. this good man. the day and hour when I had been found by my benefactress and her husband. had answered for my and was naturally interested in his patient. "Well. used to put me into rages which did me harm. "At the end of two years' detention. drawn up in the legal form of his country. named Sparchman. the any poor to laugh. I have neither these important pieces made before a notary at of evidence. with- me to recover statements. son. giving an account of the miraculous way in which I had escaped from the trench dug for the dead. as you may judge from my story. which times. treated as a madman when I have told my out ever having found or earned a sou to enable the deeds which would prove me From was turned out of that town by the events of have wandered about like a vagabond. nor the declaration I Heilsberg. When I told him coherently about my former life. surgeon. I when my identity. and which even led to my being locked up at Stuttgart as a madman. Monsieur. where every care was taken of the invalid Frenchman. months at a time in shutting a man up. 'Here to people is a poor who would man who reply. begging my I my story. the nature and exact spot of my injuries. 'Poor fellow vinced of the impossibility of I was com- my keepers say a thousand thinks he is Colonel Chabert' pelled to submit to. but where he was laughed at to his face as soon as he said he was Colonel Chabert. signed a deposition. those doubts. out of professional pride. . there was ample reason for to society. and restore My sufferings have often kept me for six some little town. For a long time that laughter. bread. adding to these documents a description of my percure. And.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 86 more respect than she paid panions in the ward began to devil. all my comLuckily for me. indeed. with a view to establishing the day war.

Monsieur. begin my lawsuit "What lawsuit?" " said the attorney. and ten thalers. no matter what." "You are the only person. all memory of my past should have entered the service again under any name. Monsieur To see Paris again was ! I a delirium which " I Without finishing his sentence. I I have been made Field-Marshal in Austria or Russia. I beg of you. "One fine day. at that time." said the Colonel." his visitor resumed. "one spring day. napoleon was worth $4. 11 admitting that I talked quite sensibly on all subjects. and see France once more. No lawyer has been willing to lend me ten napoleons 12 to enable me to procure from Germany the necessary documents to ideas. A A — is a German silver coin worth about 75 cents. and even to this day. — 11. with a melancholy look. When I tell lawyers these things men of sense. is not the Comtesse Ferraud my wife? She has thirty thousand francs a year. "who ever listened to me so patiently. resigned. Colonel Chabert fell into deep study. and quiet. I wish I were not myself. and gave up calling myself Colonel Chabert. they gave me the key of the fields. which belong to me. a beggar to "Why. On my honor. and no longer called myself Colonel Chabert. who had forgotten his client's painful position in listening to the narrative of his past sufferings. thaler — . and should. "you have upset all my I feel as if I heard you in a dream. which Derville respected. as we say. and she will not give me a sou. in order to get out of my prison.COLONEL CHABERT 87 melancholy. Who knows ?" "Monsieur. life." said the attorney. when I propose I. The sense of my rights kills me. Pause for a moment. 12. a my If illness had but deprived me of could be happy.00. Oh. sometimes I hate my name. perhaps.

taking the young lawyer's hand. "That is the first polite word I have " heard since The Colonel wept. I will begin the inquiries and researches necessary to obtain the documents of which you speak. men who — think they have to deal with a swindler or a madman it depends on their nature. you will pardon the a day. The appealing and unutterable eloquence that lies in the eyes. "Listen. and living. either with the air of cold politeness. entirely convinced Derville. under papers. smallness of the loan as coming from a young man who has his fortune to make. and until they arrive I will give you five francs If you are Colonel Chabert." said he. they show which you out. Proceed. touched him deeply. in a gesture. even in silence. as he called himself. under facts." said Derville. under the whole of society." The Colonel. of himself. Monsieur. Gratitude choked his voice. "Pray resume it !" cried the hapless old man. to which we owe the perhaps latent experiments of alchemists. it was in obedience to the inexplicable feeling. !" which wants to shove me underground again "Pray resume your narrative. everything which prompts . less pursuit of his military distinction. the discoveries of astronomy and of physics. "I have this evening won three hundred francs at cards. the passion for glory. the depth of his woes had no doubt Though he was eager in destroyed his powers of belief. when I dead man bring up as against a certificate of death a cer- — tificate of marriage and registers of births. like me all to rid yourselves of a hapless wretch. the germ in every man's heart. sat for a moment motion- and bewildered. know how to assume or brutally. of his fortune. I may very well lay out half that sum in making a man happy.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 88 — bring an action against a Count and Countess. I have been buried under the dead but now I am buried under the .

soldier in a child. To superficial observers he seemed cold. anct in so many ways The Colonel was like the lady who." said he. this ! . The young lawyer's words were as a miracle to man. said Derville. just as the vanity of success or the pleasure of winning become dearer to the gambler than the object he has expand to deeds or ideas. especially in France." said Derville. by justice. having been ill of a fever for fifteen years. the poor Colonel. "Where was I?" said the Colonel. The poor man's gratitude was too great to find utterance. fancied she had some fresh complaint when she was cured. by the whole social creation. it is like a thunderbolt they burn us. with a sort of cheerfulness for he breathed again.COLONEL CHABERT man 89 his being by multiplying himself through In his mind the Ego was now but a secondary object. To find in a lawyer's office the ten gold pieces which had so long been refused him by so many people. he had just melted a covering of snow less easily "Still quite The old man — thawed than that which had once before frozen his head . There are joys in which we have ceased to believe. You were out of prison. "What is she like?" charming. and almost always something of the at stake. they fall on us. "At Stuttgart. with the simplicity of a child or of a soldier. he had again risen from the grave. for ten years repudiated by his wife. and seemed to be swallowing down some secret anguish with the grave and solemn resignation that is characteristic of men who have stood the ordeal of blood and fire on the battlefield. with a bow. for there is often something of the child in a true soldier. but Derville saw complete honesty under this amazement. A swindler would have found his voice." held up his hand." "You know my wife?" asked the Colonel. "Yes. "Monsieur.

like Happily there were trooper. they go. This old soldier's name was Boutin.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 90 and he drew a deep breathy as if he had just escaped from "Monsieur. "Well. But how could I interest a woman? I had a face like a Requiem. he could not possibly guess who I was. when I told him my name. I need not tell you how he did me this service. The house where Boutin prevented my being stabbed was not extremely — like — . 1 * I was more an Esquimaux than a Frenchman I. 14. certain details of this adventure which could be known only for whom a mass is chanted. The poor devil and I made the queerest pair of broken-down hacks I ever set eyes on. That mirth. He looked like one (load. At that time Boutin himself. I met the quartermaster of whom I just now spoke. . 13 I was dressed like a sans-culotte. who had formerly been considered one of the smartest of fops in 1799! I. It told me without disguise how great were the changes in me I was. but it was only the repayment of a debt I owed him. if I had been a handsome young fellow. a dungeon Women the — men when they flavor their speeches with They hurry then. In there. they play the very devil for a man who takes their fancy. like the bursting of a mortar. Monsieur. on the very day when I was turned out into the streets like a dog. then. they believe in word Love. none of my misfortunes would have befallen me. Count of the Empire. it was at Ravenna. was one of the keenest pangs I have known." extremists of the French Revolution. A name jjiveu to the Republican Literally. unrecognizable even to the humblest and most grateful of my former friends "I had once saved Boutin's life. a common I was not a colonel. "without breeches. are everywhere at once. in Italy. they intrigue. ! respectable. We went into a tavern together. they come. 13. I met him out walking but though I recognized him. they assert facts. Boutin's mouth opened from ear to ear in a roar of laughter. but. Chabert.

Spain. whose sole fortune was his courage. and when dulity diminished. That news was one of the things which caused me most anguish "We were two curious derelicts. Russia. He told me of the catastrophe of the Russian campaign. as he used to call me. whose only protector is the Almighty. teeth. and we are all out in the cold now. nor eyebrows. perhaps nothing of all this might have happened but. whose country is France. Monsieur. . Italy and Dalmatia. — — ! ! . I I recalled to his mind then told him the story of Although experiences. his incre- my singular he told me. Germany. and of Napoleon's first abdication.COLONEL CHABERT to us two. who still was more locomotive than I. Tartary. "He I related his adventures . China. political events might account for my wife's silence tions. they were not less extraordinary than my own he had lately come back from the frontiers of China. Between us we had seen Egypt. in the state in which I am now. them 91 my eyes and my voice. was the fourth If I had had any relations. After all. Nay. whose sole family is mankind at large. Siberia the only thing wanting was that neither of us had been to America or the Indies. a soldier. he would be in a rage What is to be done ? Our sun is set. Holland. I am but a workhouse child. which he had tried to cross after escaping from Siberia. undertook to go to Paris as quickly as might be to inform my wife of the predicament in which I was. after a thousand queswhich answered triumphantly. I am wrong! I had a father the Emperor! Ah! if he were but here. although I had neither hair. the dear man! If he could see his Chabert. were strangely altered. ! . he at last recognized his Colonel in the beggar. Boutin. ! . to be frank with you. Syria. That. I wrote a long letter full of details to Madame Chabert. Finally. having been rolled over the globe as pebbles are rolled by the ocean when storms bear them from shore to shore. England. and was as colorless as an Albino.

I heard of his death later. and in fact the poor fellow was killed at Waterloo. we my I walk- parted. The evening before I reached Paris I was obliged to bivouac in the woods of Claye. been fruitless. When I recovered I was in a bed in the Hotel-Dieu. I remember shedding tears. I went to every post-office to ask if there were a letter or some money for me. I had no money. I quite forgot that I had no shoes on my feet nor money in my pocket. What despair I had been forced to endure 'Boutin must be dead !' I told myself. "' . He was could not go with him ing long stages. At Carlsruhe I had an attack of neuralgia in the head. of course. "At last I entered Paris with the Cossacks. To me this was grief on grief. Moral suffering. which brought him the pain I suffered forbade wept. His errand to my wife had. and by mere chance. and where nothing was given me. and my seized 1 15. admirably trained. should never have ended if I were to tell you all the distresses of my life as a beggar. nevertheless excites less pity. I was then turned out. but I was well. not even a piece of bread. The chill of the night air no doubt brought on an attack of some nameless complaint which ! — me as I was crossing the Faubourg Saint-Martin. I dropped almost senseless at the door of an ironmonger's shop. before which physiI — cal suffering pales. There I stayed very contentedly for about a month. Having agreed with Boutin on the road I was to take. because it is not seen. Yes. after had gone as far as my state allowed in company with him and his bears. Monsieur. Monsieur. He had a lucky fellow! bears. and lay for six weeks on straw in an inn. On seeing the Russians in France. my clothes were in tatters. as I stood in front of a fine house in Strassburg where I once had given an entertainment. I arrived at Paris without having found either. when two in a living. A famous hospital in Paris.FRENCH SHOUT STORIES 92 "Boutin set out. I .

Monsieur. An insane asylum near return she has had two letters She loves me no more Paris." trated fury. ! —— I . Not knowing that my wife had married M. the settlement of the moneys. knowing my heart high with said the Colonel. Oh. "At last I went to the house of an old lawyer who had been in charge of my affairs. where my wife should be living in a house belonging to me Bah the Rue du Mont-Blanc was now the Rue de la Chaussee d'Antin. This worthy man was dead. to my great surprise.COLONEL CHABERT 93 were on the good stones of Paris. crouch- My ing close to the wall of her gateway. I could not find my house. and that I am alive. it had been sold and pulled down. my to act with caution. I Then. I have sat whole nights through. I went to her house. and the birth of her two children. Speculators had built several houses over my gardens. of the administration of my estate. I left detention at Stuttgart had suggested possibilities of Charenton/ 6 and determined where hope. When I told him that I was Colonel Chabert. and on the day when out of doors. of my wife's marriage. "To see the Countess come home from a ball or the play in the early morning. wife lived. Ferraud^ I could obtain no information. With what delight and haste did I make my way to the Rue du Mont-Blanc. This gentleman informed me. since written with 10. he laughed so heartily that feet ! My him without saying another word. from that day I have lived for vengeance !" cried the old man in a hollow voice. with a gesture of concen- "when under an assumed name I was not I used my own I was turned I called admitted. which flashed past eyes pierced the me with the swiftcaught a glimpse of the woman who is my wife and no longer mine. and suddenly standing up in front of Derville. after selling his connection to a younger man. "She knows ness of lightning. depths of the carriage. —Well. I my own my hand.

you ought I shall regard these advances as a to be at no man's mercy. Derville sat in silence. "We must perhaps compromise. If you are Colonel Chabert." This delicate compassion brought tears to the old man's Derville rose hastily. It would be unbecoming for you to come here to receive alms. loan. almost in judicial records. well. a serious business. lighted up with the spark of desire and — revenge. You will soon per- unexampled For the moment I will give you a letter to my notary. for it was perhaps not correct eyes. she has not sent long for her and I she owes all me her fortune. The eyes were those of a man of energy. with a haughty jerk of his head." said the lawyer. who will pay you to your order fifty francs every ten days.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 94 know not whether I love or hate her." the attorney went on. Your cause is mine. "Am I dead. or am I alive?" "I hope. "that you will follow my advice. curse her by turns. it is not proved to me that we can at once win our case. he went into the adjoining ceive the interest I take in your situation. To me her happiness. you have estates to recover. Sometimes I do not know what will become of me!" With these words the veteran dropped on to his chair again and remained motionless." said the Colonel." he said at length. "if I fail. I can die but not alone. ." The feeble old man had vanished. "Compromise!" echoed Colonel Chabert. studying his "It is client. for a lawyer to show emotion. all the very smallest pittance. "Even granting the genuineness of the documents to be procured from Heilsberg." "Oh. you are rich. coldly. mechanically. it is I It must go before three tribunals in sucmust think such a matter over with a clear head quite exceptional. Monsieur. cession.

!" saw him light for him. man the poor 95 letter." When the Colonel was in the street and close to a lamp. and tell me the name of the town. and began by beg- ging him to refund the six hundred francs that the old soldier had received. It was the first "I gold he had seen for nine years. "I have just listened to a tale that If I am may cost five-and-twenty louis. 17 me robbed. and came back with an unsealed When to the Colonel. A louis is a gold coin worth $4. "Will you be good enough to describe the documents.00. he took the two twenty-franc pieces out of the letter and looked at them for a moment under the light." said Derville to his head clerk. at night. and verified the then he took his hat in one hand. held it which he gave in his hand. "Are you amusing yourself with pensioning the old army ?" said the notary. I shall much sir. the notary commissioned to advance the half- pay on Derville's account to his eccentric client.COLONEL CHABERT room. may smoke cigars !" he said to himself. About three months after this interview. The Colonel spelling of the dictated the information. for I shall have seen the most consummate actor of the day. who had just bought up the office in which he had been head — 17. —a horny simplicity his and held a Emperor. after the owe most. The attorney clapped to the stairs. . and in what kingdom?" said felt the lawyer. laughing a young man named Crottat. "Boucard. I shall not regret the money. looked at Derville. you are the man You are a splendid fellow hand into the Colonel's. saying with "On my to whom honor. came to consult the attorney on a serious matter. names of places . in Derville's room. and held out the other hand. he through the paper two gold pieces.

he said. "Boucard. in Prussia. "Ah ha !" said he with a laugh. in red and blue ink. They were. half opening his study door. I for reminding me of philanthropy will not have. square. his chief having fled in consequence of a disastrous >us bankruptcy. Was ." cried Derville. and that the woman to whom M. Bavarian. go yourself and have this letter translated. The notary at Berlin. now we shall see if I have been taken in!" He took up the letter and opened it.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 96 clerk. "here is the last act of the comedy. all perfectly regular and duly witnessed. "But look here. to whom the lawyer had written. but he could not read it. — which distinguished a letter had come through the Prussian. he saw on his desk His eye was long. le Comte Chabert owed his life was still living in a that suburb of Heilsberg. my boy. addressing the notary. it was written in German. "This looks like business. "I have to thank you. He also informed him that almost all the witnesses to the facts recorded under these affidavits were still to be found at Eylau. when Boucard had given him the substance of the letter. I fear. "I shall want some information which ought not that old rascal Roguin it to exist in ?" your office. informed him that the documents he had been requested to forward would arrive within a few days of this note announcing them. my dear that affair/' replied Derville. and French postoffices. "My ." finished the sentence." he went on. and bring it back immediately. and legally stamped to serve as evidence in law. Austrian. and the papers his head clerk had laid out for him." said Derville. and giving the letter to the head clerk. struck by the appearance of the stamps triangular. carry me beyond been the dupe of "As Derville twenty-five louis my sir. already patriotism.

Having reached the spot. named Vergniaud. Count of the Empire. To the best of my recollection. and then a division." "Yes. "Well. they held all the property in common.COLONEL CHABERT "We will say that unfortunate." Colonel Chabert. called Chabert. whose address was written at the bottom had given the notary. with an old quartermaster of the Imperial Guard. thus. the personalty was about six hundred thousand francs. now a cowkeeper. wife and widow of Hyacinthe. Comte Chabert had made a will in favor of the hospitals of Paris. . old fellow !" said Crottat. was lodging in Rue du Petit-Banquier. was off eight it not that ill-used man who hundred thousand francs of has just carried his clients' money. by which he left them one-quarter of the fortune he might possess at the time of his decease. that 97 ill-used Roguin. was a forced sale." interrupted Alexandre Crottat with a laugh. there "Consequently so it was. and reduced several families to despair. I Rose copied the papers and studied them thoroughly." said Crottat. Before his marriage. Derville was obliged to go on foot in search of his client." "So that Comte Chabert's personal fortune was no more than three hundred thousand francs?" State to take the other quarter. by special decree. who effected the settlement of Chabert's estate? I fancy I have seen that in the documents in our case of Ferraud. for the attorneys went at a pace. grand officer of the Legion of Honor. At the time of the settlement the monster who was then governing France handed over to the widow. "It was when I was third clerk. the portion bequeathed to the treasury. They had married without settlement. though you are accused of false practices in pleading for one side or the other. "You lawyers sometimes are very clear-headed. the The will was contested. Chapotel. for of the first receipt he the Faubourg Saint-Marceau.

in the country. even a hovel may have a certain grace derived from the pure air. the lawyer at last discovered at the end of the street nearest to the boulevard. . . into which flowed the rain-water and house waste. in red letters. between two walls built of bones and mud. was on one side raised above the soil. which seemed to be the habitable part. and on the beam. where the ruts were rather too deep for cab wheels.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 98 his coachman declined to drive along an unpaved street. a serpentine road. and no doubt remained open all day. all painted in white. None of its materials had found a legitimate use they had been collected from the various demolitions which are going on every day in Paris. Beyond a good-sized yard there was a house facing the gate." To the right of this inscription were some eggs. vineyards. in spite of two wooden stumps that served as blocks. which seemed rather more solidly built than the rest. "Fancy Goods. the — open country a hill. Indeed. puddle full of stable litter. On a shutter made of the boards of The a shop-sign Derville read the words. and on the other sunk in Between the gate and the house lay a the rising ground. two shabby stone gate-posts. These posts supported a cross beam with a pent-house coping of tiles. sup- set hedges. this house seemed ready to fall into ruins. The back wall of this frail construction. were the words. like nothing else. "Vergniaud. if indeed the name of house may be applied to one which are of the hovels built in the neighborhood of Paris. the verdure. Looking about him on all sides. The gate was open. quickmoss-grown thatch and rural implements. but Though poverty in Paris gains dignity only by horror. of not even the most wretched dwellings which they have all the poverty without their poetry. in the midst of fields. much knocked about by carts. dairyman. to the left a cow. recently built." windows were all mismatched and grotesquely placed. The ground floor.

was pitching stones into the chimney of a neighboring house. scuttered away screaming. riddled with holes. the house through the dairy. while the third. To it communicated with the left was a poultry yard. who had climbed to the top of a cart loaded with hay. . and the little pots for cream. the door A goat was munching the shoots of a starved and dusty vine that clung to the cracked yellow wall of the house. Like most of the places where the elements of the huge meal daily devoured by Paris are every day prepared. The placid horse. as his eyes took in at being shut. When Derville asked them if . like that of the house. and shabbily thatched with rushes. where rabbits bred their numerous families. a glance the general effect of the squalid scene. the roofs finished. hanging on in front. The house had been left in charge of three little boys.COLONEL CHABERT 99 ported a row of barred hutches. scared by Derville's approach. fluttered in the sunshine. with a stable and pig-styes. and the watch-dog barked. squatting on the cream j ars. which rested on the ground. had gone a few steps from the cart. hanging to strings fastened to poles. in the hope that they might fall into a saucepan another was trying to get a pig into a cart by the back board. of a breed known only to milk-women. One. were flung pell-mell at the dairy door. A cat. The rags that were used to clean them. The fowls. the yard Derville now entered showed traces of the hurry that comes of the necessity for being ready at a fixed hour. "And the man who decided the victory at Eylau is to be found here !" said Derville to himself. to hoist it by making the whole thing tilt. was licking them over. with rough deal boards nailed so as to overlap. with a loft above for fodder. To the right of the gate was the cow- house. was waiting till the pig had got into the cart. with their linen-covered stoppers. The large pot-bellied tin cans in which milk is carried. and was standing in front of the stable.

and full of cracks." He lifted the peak of a dreadfully greasy cloth cap. and came straight across the midden to — — join his benefactor the sooner. in fact. calling out in friendly tones to the boys "Silence in the ranks The !" children at once kept a respectful silence. The floor was simply the trodden earth. picked up heaven knows where. which milkwomen use to cover the seats of their carts. Derville reached come out. Jumping from one dry sr^pt to another. green with mold. Chabert seemed receive him in the bedroom he the door by which the Colonel had but ill pleased at having to occupied. and they broke the silence with a horse-laugh." — ! he exclaimed. were so excessively . seeing the lawyer's hesitancy. sweating saltpetre. Then Derville was angry. but Provoked by the saucy cunning of these three imps. Chabert lived there. Derville found but one chair there. now came out of a little low room. for he did not wish to wet his feet in the manure heap.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 100 M. if I may com- Derville repeated his questions. which showed the power the old soldier had over them. hearing him. He had in his mouth a very finely colored pipe a technical phrase to a smoker a humble. saw Derville. without success. The Colonel. "Why did you not write to me?" he said to Derville. close to the dairy. short clay pipe of the kind called "brulegueule. but all three looked at him with a sort of bright stupidity. and. he abused them with the sort of pleasantry which young men think they have a right to address to little boys. The Colonel's bed consisted of some trusses of straw. and stood on the threshold of his doorway with indescribable military coolness. bine those two words. neither of theni replied. over which his hostess had spread two or three of those old fragments of carpet. The walls. "Go along by the cowhouse There the path is paved there.

reprinted by Plancher. wine. " And the soldier shot a deep glance at the man but of law "I have done no one wrong." Derville reflected that there would be some want of delicacy in asking his client to account for the sums of money he had advanced. the dilapidated straw-bottomed chair for his lawyer. "Does the smell of a pipe annoy you?" he said. "the good folks with whom I am living had taken me in and fed me gratis for a year." said he to himself. tempered by friendship.COLONEL CHABERT damp that on the side where the Colonel's bed mat had been Two nailed. but where you would have been better lodged?" "Why. "Here. "is a man who has of course spent my money in satisfying a trooper's three theological virtues —play. and I sleep in peace. ." replied the Colonel. and women "To be !" Monsieur. you are dreadfully uncomfortable here!" The speech was wrung from Derville by the distrust natural to lawyers. placing pairs of old boots lay in a corner. "But. a particular gleam set there by hope. Colonel. Besides. where you might have lived as cheaply as you do here. the father of those three pickles is an old Egyptian— sure. His visit to Derville seemed to have altered his features the lawyer perceived in them traces of a happy feeling. and the deplorable experience which they derive early in life from the appalling and obscure tragedies at which they look on. On the worm-eaten table the Bulletins de la Grande Armee. and seemed to be the Colonel's reading. I have never turned my Jftack on anybody. 101 was a reed The famous box-coat hung on a nail. It is a camp lodging. How could I leave them just when I had a little money. There was not a sign of linen. his countenance was calm and serene in the mids't of this squalor. so he merely said "But why would you not come to Paris. we are not distinguished for luxury here. lay open. — — .

" said the soldier. the emotion so generous. You in the legal world." said Derville. and here I am Give me back my wife and my fortune. tomorrow. sunshine. they are very poor. for I was made Colonel of the Imperial Guard the day before the battle of Eylau. give me the rank of General. a well-colored pipe is to a smoker a precious possession but the impulse was so natural. Now. to which I have a right. it as I do. was thought to be dead." I ! "Things are not done so "Listen to me. Not merely who got back brothers. that every smoker. and besides." "He might have lodged you better for your money/' said Derville. flinging his pipe on the ground." said Derville as they left the room to walk up and down in the ! . you see. Perhaps the angels may have picked up the pieces. does very well. I am glad to think . and the excise office itself. "Bah!" said the Colonel. or next day. "Colonel. it is an exceedingly complicated business. "it appears exceedingly simple. I have not yet finished teaching his brats to ment. . are Colonel Chabert. But if I recover my fortune However. Vergniaud was in my regito the troopers the expedition into Egypt. . of which are all I We have shared a draught of water in the desert. I shall receive your papers from Heilsberg. "To me. would have pardoned this crime of treason to tobacco. They have taken a bigger business than they can manage." "Colonel. read.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 102 "An Egyptian !" "We give that name who came back from was one. . "his children sleep on the straw He and his wife have no better bed. The woman who dug you out is still alive !" "Curse the money To think I haven't got any !" he cried.

Now. there are many elements which would prolong the case you will have time to grow old in the bitterest regrets. to the — questions will be settled that will arise out of the very inno- cent bigamy committed by the Comtesse Ferraud? "In your case. and give rise to so many costly suits. The judges might pronounce against the marriage where the family ties are weakest. and which may necessitate the sending of a commission of investigation to Prussia. Hence. in 1799 you made a will before your marriage. but it will be to Every question will be sent under contradiction up supreme court." "Had I not thirty "That is true." . which we can not refuse. and can only be decided as a point in equity. as a jury decides in the delicate cases presented by the social eccentricities of some criminal prosecutions. since it was contracted in perfect good faith. That contention will give rise to ten or twelve preliminary it it . which will hang on for a long time. your papers will be disputed." . the point of law is unknown to the Code. M.COLONEL CHABERT 103 has to be proved j udicially to persons whose interest deny it. But even if we hope for the best. supposing that justice should at once recognize you as Colonel Chabert can we know how the inquiries. Would you be in a very becoming moral position if you insisted. at your age. and in your present circumstances. leaving one-quarter of your j)roperty to hospitals. Your opponents will demand an inquiry. you had no children by your marriage. in resuming your rights over a woman who no longer loves you? You will have both your wife and her husband against you. le Comte Ferraud has two. to the confirmation of that where they are stronger. two important persons who might influence the Bench. Thus. however eagerly I may push them. "And my fortune ?" "Do you suppose you had a fine fortune?" thousand francs a year?" "My dear Colonel.

at two-thirds of and also because a valuer can be held responsible for the declared value —the valuation thus made stood at hundred thousand francs. now. Your wife had a right to half for her share. and make you happier. the Emperor restored to your widow by decree the residue which would have reverted to the Exchequer." " "But she was not a widow. in the position in which you are. what can you claim? Three hundred thousand francs. The valuation. that what you thought Madame Ferraud might even choose to keep the sum given to her by the Emperor. no more. The decree is utterly void "I agree with you. in dismay. as the remainder went to the State. in which she no doubt took care not to include the ready money or jewelry. You see. and the hospitals got their seventy-five thousand francs. . either to benefit her." "And you call that justice!" said the Colonel. it was necessary to make a valuation. she got something out of it all. So. Everj^thing was sold and bought in by her." "That would be to sell my wife!" "With twenty-four thousand francs a year you could find a woman who. Then. Your wife was not particular about honesty to the poor. to give this quarter away. "A "So certainly " pretty kind of justice!" it is. or to lighten the succes- sion duty. my dear Colonel. and minus the costs. six "Why. But eve"ry case can get a hearing. would suit you better than your own wife.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 104 "Well. when you were reported dead. You will gain by it a more considerable sum than you can prove a right to. since you had made no mention of your wife in your will. I so easy is not so. or too much of the plate. and have a sale. I think that under these circumstances a compromise would be both for her and for you the best solution of the question. Listen to me. and in which the furniture would be estimated its actual cost.

This outlook of difficulties discouraged him. the price "On of my connection is not wholly paid up. my dear Colonel. just as you are?" said the lawyer. If the bench should sum advanced on your prospects. Paris. I had forgotten that. and rolled down his withered cheeks. but I would not take such a step without giving you due notice. no. they will not do so till you have proved that you are Comte Chabert. "will you not have to engage pleaders. to have documents copied. amount to ten or twelve thousand francs. grand officer of the Legion of Honor. The social and the legal world weighed on his breast like a nightmare. I am not rich. I am a grand officer of the Legion of Honor." Derville went on." said he simply. . to keep the underlings of the law going. and to support yourself? The expenses of the preliminary inquiries will. my dear Colonel Chabert." "Let us go together. A column in the Place Vendome." replied Derville. until then. at a rough guess. You might lose your case on the spot." "To be sure. a — — ! — — — 18. "I will go to the foot of the Vendome 18 column !" he cried. "No. I have not so much to lend you I am crushed as it is by the enormous interest I have to pay on the money I borrowed to buy my business." "Can I possibly gain it?" every count. and you? Where can you find it?" Large tears gathered in the poor veteran's faded eyes. you overlook one thing. "But. "Well." "What.COLONEL CHABERT 105 propose going this very day to see the Comtesse Ferraud and sounding the ground. that is to say. "I will call out: I am Colonel Chabert who rode through the Russian square at Eylau The statue he he will know allow you a maintenance. erected by Napoleon in honor of his army.

unfinished movements. the aimless. go there. His physical and mental sufferings had already impaired his bodily health in some of the most important organs.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 106 "And you At will find yourself in Charenton. an unexpected incident. and how much money would be required for the journey." this terrible "And will War?" "The war name the soldier's transports collapsed. As he saw the labyrinth of difficulties into which he must plunge. but seeing nothing. there be no hope for office!" said Derville. to break the weakened and produce the hesitancy. too glad if The Colonel stood for a while. like the nervous system itself. He was on the verge of one of those maladies for which medicine has no name. nullifying the certifi- The government offices would be only they could annihilate the men of the Empire. his eyes fixed. is ready and swift. But a fresh obstacle. motionless. it decides with Turkand almost always rightly. However already be. or to enlist as a trooper if any regiment would pass him. He thought it would be impossible to live as party to a lawsuit. this springs. would be enough to wreck vigorous constitution. — nate. but take a formal legal opinion with you. This was the only justice known to Chabert. speechless. the part most frequently attacked of the whole human machine a malady which may be designated as the heart-sickness of the unfortu- Military justice like finality." cate of your death. which physiologists know well in men undermined by grief. . and called the Will. the poor old soldier was mortally hit in that power peculiar to man. and of which the seat is in some degree variable. sunk in bottomless despair. it seemed a thousand times simpler to remain poor and a beggar. it serious this invisible but real disorder might could still be cured by a happy issue. me at the Ministry of "Well.

not having the energy to follow him excepting with his eyes. Keep up your courage." Chabert warmly wrung the lawyer's hand. several times. and no doubt you will get a pension.COLONEL CHABERT Derville." "I will send you a power of attorney to sign. proceed then. "Do what you will." said DerIf you want "Good-bye. but you surrender yourself to ing to his death. like . so as to put you in possession of your rights." said Chabert. an old man." said Chabert. have your name replaced on the army list as general. by Comte Ferraud's intervention. wearing a a brewer's on kilt. During their interview. consider whether you can give me your whole confidence and blindly accept the result I may think best for your interests. the figure of a man posted in the street had come forward from behind one of the gate-pillars. He was blue waistcoat and a white-pleated his head was an otter-skin cap." me like a man march- a position." "Must I not be left to live without name ? Is that endurable ?" "That is not my view of it. rely on me." "Well. "I put myself entirely in your hands. money. hollow- . detecting in his client the dejection. and he now accosted the lawyer. You may even. His face was tanned. "We will try a friendly suit. Like all men who know but little of legal matters. he was frightened by this unforeseen struggle. "Yes. watching for Derville to depart. without a said the lawyer." be in your favor. and remained standing with his back against the wall. ville. said to 107 symptoms of extreme him "Take courage. the end of the business can not fail to Only. to annul both your death certificate and your marriage.

I have taken a larger business than I can manage. and my wife cried about it. down many a year ago." "And what then?" replied Derville. shared what to teaches lieutenant first neighbor's fare. ! says to him. have not time to am I learned to had some a fellow 'I bills rub a out for the named Grados listen to not — Do your story. he has the best room. eggs. said he. 'Really. I Bah I ! says he. Well. Well. And he heartily welcome. boast of — bread." he at once replied. but ruddy on the cheekbones by hard work and exposure to the "Asking your pardon. it worried him lie must needs mind the horse I . as sure as my name is Louis Vrrgniaud. and wrinkled. the who —What do you think? —Of us he had with him.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 108 cheeked. I could have slept — A man who has in the stable. is I sir. hurt our feelings. "I am Louis Vergniaud. "I have two words to say to you. sir. open sir. purchase money of my dairy you know him. I would have given mine if I had had but one. To be plain with you. He heard from our . fancied. — But ever served under best served. sir?" horse — "But. is he has hurt our feelings. a general. an Egyptian. General going to eat my head off ' doing nothing. and he saw it." "He?" "Yes. from the look of you. it's much not it is I all. my I suifered as he has. milk." "He hurt our feelings. taking Derville by But I you were a friend of our the arm. "What concern have you with him? But who are you?" said the cautious lawyer. well. that General's. the Colonel offended you. Only my good tell me how man." "So you are the man who has lodged Comte Chabert as I have found him?" "Asking your pardon. kids to read. sir. "if I take the liberty of speaking to you." air. sir. Unfortunately.

the old man is running us into debt and hurt our feelings He ought not to have stolen a march on us like that. Well. so that we may get him some clothes. what was worth about $1. and went without. the manure-pool. and stepped back a few with. She must 19. the children. poor old boy. the rabbits. you shall have your hundred crowns. dear God how glad my ! wife will be !" and the cow- keeper's tanned face seemed to expand. he has his I would sell my soul for it No. and more." "And will that be soon?" "Why. The French crown She is a woman. again. we knew he had no tobacco. old soldier. he watched for the bill to come in. And we his friends. frightened. as he is. . so I wanted to ask you for he said you were a good sort to lend us a hundred crowns 19 on the stock. we cigar every morning! are hurt. I would sooner sell up and enlist than fail to pay you " back your money Derville looked at the dairyman. and win the game at one stroke. "On my honor. it's just the other way.12. "let us call on our opponent." "Ah. as sure as my name is Louis Vergniaud. "All right. be. the Colonel will be rich enough to help. Oh now yes.COLONEL CHABERT 109 neighbors that we had not a sou to begin to meet the The he saved up bills you gave him. and I will not deprive him of the pleasure. and he paid it. the cowhouse. as he got into his cab We must not show our hand. and furnish his room. But I shall not give them to you." said Derville to himself. Such a trick While my wife and me. but try to see hers. I believe it is characteristic of virtue to have nothing to do with riches !" thought he. you see? Well. all ! — — — ! — — — — ! — paces to glance at the house. yes. He thought he was getting us out of debt. of the ISth century Now. the yard. "Now. too On my word as an honest man.

statesman in charge of private affairs ? But a brief survey of the situation in which the Comte Ferraud and his wife now found themselves is necessary for into one of those give themselves up a comprehension of the lawj^er's cleverness. he set to work to study the Countess's position. though he saved his back under the Consulate. — — among the aristocracy as at gaining The Count was promised the restitution of his pleased at his conquests a battle. He came and remained persistently faithful to the cause of Louis in whose circle his father had moved before the Revolution. but Madame la Comtesse Chabert had managed to turn her share of her husband's fortune to such good account that. during the Reign of Terror/ head. The reputation for capacity gained by young Count then simply called Monsieur Ferraud made him the object of the Emperor's advances. Are not attorneys. . He thus was one of the party in the Faubourg SaintGermain which nobly stood out against Napoleon's blandishments. It lasted . lost his fortune. M.FRENCH SHORT STORIES HO frightens but And women most? A woman afraid of nothing is . of pleasing appearance. Monsieur le Comte Ferraud was the only son of a former who had emigrated Councillor in the old Parlement of Paris. after 20. title. At the time of Comte Chabert's death. for he was often as well XVIII. without fortune. and whom the Faubourg Saint-Germain had adopted as doing it credit. falling brown studies to which great politicians when concocting their own plans and trying to guess the secrets of a hostile Cabinet. who had had his successes. Ferraud was a young man of six-and-twenty. to the fall of Robespierre in 1704. and so. of the French Revolution when the faction in power a principle to execute every one considered hostile to their from March. of such of his estates as had not been sold. The Emperor fell." . in a way. That period made it rule. 1708. and he shown was in perspective a place in the ministry or as senator.

Madame Ferraud was not only in love with her lover she had also been fascinated by the notion of getting into the haughty society which. and of an estate which had considerably increased in value during its sequestration. He understood the exigencies of the situation in which Louis XVIII found himself. The order quoted in the long lawyer's preamble at the beginning of this story had. had a political sense. Her marriage to the young Count was not regarded as news in the circles of the Faubourg Saint-GerNapoleon. restored to falling to the . Then came the Restoration. but Napoleon's hopes were again disappointed. its drawing-rooms were thrown open to his wife.COLONEL CHABERT m eighteen months of widowhood. he had attached to himself. By this marriage all her vanities were as much gratified as her passions. Wholly occupied as he was by the anxieties of consuming ambition. she had about forty thousand francs a year. as secretary. he regarded his position as merely his idea of fusion. approving of this union. versed whom he left the conduct of This shrewd practitioner had so well understood his position with the Count as to be honest in his in all the resources of the law. a more than clever man. put him in possession of two tracts of forest. at which the Liberals laughed so heartily. a ruined attorney named Delbecq. She was to become a real line lady. the first step of his political career. At the present moment. . Madame Chabert the money Exchequer under her husband's will. which carried out main. he was one of the inner circle who waited till the "Gulf of Revolution should be closed"— for this phrase of the King's. and a Director-General. though Comte Ferraud was a Councillor of State. to his private affairs. was still predominant at the Imperial Court. The Count's political advancement was not rapid. When the Faubourg Saint-Germain understood that the young Count's marriage did not mean desertion. in spite of its humiliation. however.

She had contrived to make Delbecq believe that she ruled her husband. that she had made good use of him for the augmentation of her private fortune. The emoluments derived by the Count from the places he held she spent on the housekeeping. that he was regarded as a slandered man. understood the man's motives. which taints almost every Parisian woman. he naturally found the reason in the thirst for money. and all He the more easily because the Countess had no scruples as to the means which might make her an enormous fortune as quickly as possible. by being chosen Depute. People of that sort never trouble themselves about any secrets of which the discovery is not necessary to their own interests. made Delbecq the Countess's abject slave. not dependent on changes of ministry. if he deown interest.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 112 He hoped to get some place by his master's and he made the Count's fortune his first care. and rising subsequently to a high political position. which would allow of his marrying advantageously. The promise of a place. so as to reinvest her dividends and Delbecq lent himself to these calculations of avarice without trying to account for her motives. indeed. And. watched him quietly. with the tact and shrewdness of which most women have a share more or less. the secretary sometimes fancied that he saw in the Countess's greed a consequence of her devotion to a . and managed him so well. and as a fine fortune was needed to support the pretensions of Comte Ferraud. his protectress's capital. He had never allowed her to miss one of those favorable chances which the fluctuations of the Bourse and the increased value of property afforded to clever financiers in Paris during the had trebled first three years after the Restoration. . The Countess. influence. His conduct so effectually gave the lie to his former life. and had promised to get him appointed President of an inferior Court in some important provincial town. voted himself entirely to her interests.

There are feelings which women guess in spite of the care men take to bury them. seemed calculated to bring to France an era of renewed prosperity. Madame Ferraud played the part settled of a woman Court. A speech he made. to whom it proved that if he had still been a free man she would never have been Madame Ferraud. as a friend of the King. and Parisian society changed its aspect. and. perhaps. Comte Ferraud had begun to regret his marriage. There lay the secrets of life and death to her.COLONEL CHABERT husband with whom she still was in love. 113 The Countess buried the secrets of her conduct at the bottom of her heart. a propos of Talleyrand's 21 marriage. Also. 21. certain to be made Minister. A famous French statesman. At the beginning of the year 1818 the Restoration was on an apparently immovable foundation. and lived in the atmosphere of the Rich herself. What woman could forgive this repentance ? Does it not include the germs of every insult. On the first return of the King. with a rich husband who was cried up as one of the ablest men of the royalist party. Madame la Comtesse. he may have discerned in her certain vices of education which made her unfit to second him in his schemes. . he was alone and unsupported in steering his way in a course full of shoals and beset by enemies. Colonel Chabert's widow had not been the means of allying him to anybody. every form of repudiation? But what a wound must it have left to the aristocracy. 1754-1838. Ferraud found that by chance she had achieved for love a marriage that had brought her fortune and gratified ambition. there lay the turning-point of this history. its doctrines of government. Still young and handsome. In the midst of this triumph she was attacked by a moral canker. when he came to judge his wife coolly. enlightened the Countess. as understood by lofty minds. of fashion. she belonged and shared its magnificence. every crime.

And. as his cab stopped at the door of the Hotel Ferraud in the Rue de Varennes. be true that the King. at the same time as Boutin. 23 is not a A Comte Ferraud can only get into the Upper Chamber surreptitiously. She had not chosen to take either Delbecq or the police into her confidence. live with an unknown moral monster. the son of a Councillor of the Parlement Crillon nor a Rohan." said Derville to himself. and such a favorite with the King. desires to keep up the value of the pairie 22 by not bestowing it right and left. to be sure. or on the brink of an abyss a callus forms over the spot that tortures them. she had chosen to believe that he had fallen at Waterloo with the Imperial Eagle. supposing that she lived in the dread in the She had known that he still and she had ignored him.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 114 Countess's heart. and she could not explain to herself why the struggle she dreaded had not already begun. Suffering. and vowed to be so rich that her fortune might make her second marriage indissoluble. so rich as he is. and they can still laugh and enjoy themcatastrophe. Upper . selves. fear of putting herself in their power. to bind the Count to her by the strongest of all ties. like the Countess Ferraud. and Charenton might yet do her justice. is not yet a peer of France? It may. She resolved. de Grandlieu was telling me. Two French generals of the Kith and 17th centuries. by a chain of gold. had perhaps delivered her from that man. for of her first husband's return? lived. or of hastening the There are in Paris many women who. as Mme. sickness. Perhaps he was half mad. But if his marriage 22. Then during the time when she had heard no more of him. on after all. if by chance Colonel Chabert should ever reappear. "How is it that he. nevertheless. something very strange in Comte Ferraud's emerging from his long reverie. The name of the rank formerly given to a member of the Chamber. "There is position. 23. . And he had reappeared.

gilding. "Madame. Derville had without knowing it laid his finger on the hidden wound. M. She was fresh and smiling. "Good morning. all and about the room were rare plants growing in magnificent china jars. a little sharply. giving the monkey some coffee to drink. half philosophical and half satirical." said he. put his hand on the canker that consumed Madame Ferraud. the lawyer said to himself "The moral of all this is that a pretty woman will never acknowledge as her husband. a tow wig. The Countess was in an elegant wrapper. where she was at breakfast. and boots with holes in them. le Comte is away " . in the lap of luxury and the height of fashion. escaped from a cap." thought he as he went up the steps. nor even as a lover. and Silver." "I am so grieved. for the light tone in which she spoke jarred on him." said she. while playing with a monkey tethered by a chain to a little pole with climbing bars of iron.COLONEL CHABERT 115 were annulled. could he not get the dignity of some old peer who has only daughters great satisfaction? transferred to himself. to the King's At any rate this will be a good bogey to put forward and frighten the Countess. mother-of-pearl shone on the table. carelessly pinned up. Monsieur Derville. a man in an old box-coat." A mischievous and bitter smile expressed the feelings. while he. As he saw Colonel Chabert's wife. rich with his spoil. "I have come to speak with Paris hide their you on a very serious matter. She received him in a pretty winter dining-room. giving her an arch look. was living with a poor dairyman among the beasts. poor wretch. the curls of her hair. which such a man was certain to experience —a man well situated to know the truth of things in spite of the lies behind which most families in mode of life.

as you know. with the violence of a spoiled "I never had a letter from Comte Chabert. or the advantage they may derive from the letters you received from your first husband before your marriage to your second. Madame. I need say nothing of the indisputable authenticity of the evidence nor of the fullness of proof which testifies to the identity of Comte Chabert. I am not. Madame. be of no use to you. if . make you grave. and someone is pretending to be the Colonel." he said. But she was suddenly quelled by the singular penetration of the fixed gaze which Derville turned on her. "Madame. "you know not the extent of the danger which threatens you. If you resist our proceedings to show that the certificate of death was false. am delighted. one word Colonel Chabert is alive is.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 116 "I. I am informed to manage your own busi- It could be present at our interview." she cried. clever as he "Listen to me. seeming to read to the bottom of her soul. with cold and piercing solemnity." '"Then I will "He would Derville. through M. we shall gain every point." "It is false. Delbecq that you like ness without troubling the Count. the man to take up a bad cause. Can the Colonel rise from the dead. Nor need I allude to the briefs which clever advocates may draw up when armed with the curious facts of this case. it is some swindler. do you wish to discuss with me?" "Neither the Colonel nor yourself. to send for Delbecq. It makes me shudder only to think of it. would be grievous if lie Besides. some returned convict. you will lose that first case. then." "What. and that matter once settled." replied will be enough !" "Is it by telling me such nonsense as that that you think you can make me grave?" said she with a shout of laughter." said she. Monsieur? Bonaparte sent an aide-de-camp to inquire for me on his death and to this day I draw the pension of woman. like Coignard perhaps.

. provoked by the way in which Derville turned and laid her on the gridiron." said Derville. I by the Countess' rage so as to lead her to betray herself." "Nay. "You are caught." thought he. familiar to lawyers. be so good as retorted with the natural impertinence of such " to "Madame. as to securities — that it certainly did not. tactics cool when who are accustomed to keep their opponents or their clients are in a passion. "Well. " Madame. Monsieur. le Comte Chabert." said she graciously. Madame. "The proof that it fight that you received the first letter. and you leave him to beg." said the Comtesse. laid for fight against " Justice The Countess colored. instantly hitting on a plan to entrap her and show her her weakness." "Happily we are alone. Your fortune is immense.COLONEL CHABERT 117 widow by the Governhave been perfectly in the right to turn away all the Chaberts who have ever come. and finding it amusing to lash up three thousand francs granted to his ment. and you cast him off. face in her hands." "Then you received the letter. in the first snare you by an attorney. and you fancy you could . hiding her she shook off her shame. "Your fortune came to you from M." said Derville. Madame. then.as I shall all who may come. there are here circumstances which might turn public opinion strongly against you. not listening. is contained some securities "Oh. speak on Monsieur. "I your lawyer as I want I am am at this to lose so valuable a client moment as much Do you suppose as you are? But you are Colonel Chabert's. and Then women. we must it out. and then turned pale. ." "But. "Since you are the so-called Chabert's attorney. We can tell lies at our ease/' said he coolly. An advocate can be very eloquent when a cause is eloquent in itself. smiling.

Madame. Madame. "And who he is?" "Comte Ferraud. who are accustomed to read hearts to the bottom. Monsieur?" "That he would be free to marry the only daughter of a peer of France." T . If on one side we have a mother and children. on the other sorrows." "I have you on the hip. you might have an unlooked-for adversar3 That. "to lawyers. the law will uphold my second marriage on account of the children. and I shall get off with the restitution of two hundred and twentyfive thousand francs to M. is made old we have an. too " much respect for the mother of his children "Do not talk of such absurd things. hit!" said Derville to himself. Monsieur. and but if some one were I am to tell quite sure that he adores you him that his marriage is . old by your refusals Can he to find a wife? to man know crushed by Where him. won." remorse because . But if you appear under disgraceful colors." The Countess turned "A pale. void." interrupted Derville." "Monsieur Ferraud has too great an affection for me. At this instant Monsieur Ferraud has not the slightest wish to annul your union. "he would feel all the less "Besides. the poor Colonel's case is he went on aloud." "No.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 118 "even if I grant that your M. Chabert is living. Madame. that his wife will be called before the bar of public opinion " as a criminal "He would defend me." "What reason could he have for deserting me. whose title would be conferred on him by patent from the King." "It is impossible to foresee what view the Bench may take of the question. the judges contravene the law? Your marriage with Colonel Chabert has priority on its side and every legal right. is the danger against which I would warn you. Chabert.

" The Countess raised her head at these words. to know whether I am to report our proceedings to you. recovered his soldierly style. He wore a wig suited to his face. enough. "Does he still love me?" she said. In resuming the habits of wealth he had by Derville to Colonel suited his position in life. grave and mysterious-looking. and wore under his waistcoat the broad red ribbon of the higher grade of the Legion of Honor. The office of the lawyer supplies liberally advanced Chabert had enabled him to dress as and the dead man arrived in a very decent cab. to 24. or if you will come to my office to agree to the terms of a compromise. A flash of hope shone in her eyes she thought perhaps that she could speculate on her first husband's affection to gain her cause by some feminine cunning. Grand Cross is not such a bad alternative. started from the opposite ends of Paris to meet in the who was engaged by both. What is to be done?" "Compromise!" said Derville. . reflected his happiness and his hopes. His face had color. who had been separated by an almost supernatural chance.'-* borrow a picturesque word from the painter's art. was dressed in blue cloth with white linen. "I will never have any lawyer but you. on a fine morning in June. his face. "Well. Monsieur!" she exclaimed. the husband and wife. Madame. "I shall await your orders. taking leave. and " on his wife's returning to him "Enough. ville." said Der- of the Legion of if that man insisted . and seemed to all have acquired youth and impasto. I do not think he can do otherwise.COLONEL CHABERT a man covered with glory Honor — li^- —a General. A week after Derville had paid these two visits. He held himself up . He was no more like the Chabert of the old box-coat than a cartwheel double sou is like a newly coined forty-franc piece. Count. as though it were painted.

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

120

The passer-by, only to see him, would have recognized at
once one of the noble wrecks of our old army, one of the
heroic men on whom our national glory is reflected, as
a splinter of ice on which the sun shines seems to reflect
every beam. These veterans are at once a picture and a
book.

When

the Count

Derville's

had

office,

his cab

jumped

he did

moved

off

it

out of his carriage to go into

a smart

young man. Hardly
brougham drove up,

Madame

la

as lightly as a

when

splendid with coats of arms.

Comtesse Ferraud

stepped out in a dress which, though simple, was cleverly
designed to show how youthful her figure was. She wore a
pretty drawn bonnet lined with pink, which framed her face
to

perfection,

softening

outlines

its

and making

it

look

younger.
If the clients were rejuvenescent, the office was unaltered,
and presented the same picture as that described at the
beginning of this story. Simonnin was eating his breakfast,
his shoulder leaning against the window, which was then
open, and he was staring up at the blue sky in the opening
of the courtyard enclosed by four gloomy houses.
"Ah, ha!" cried the little clerk, "who will bet an evening
at the play that Colonel Chabert is a General, and wears a

red ribbon?"

"The chief is a great magician," said Godeschal.
"Then there is no trick to play on him this time?" asked
Desroches.

"His wife has taken that

in

hand, the Comtesse Ferraud.''

said Boucard.

"What next?"

said Godeschal.

required to belong to two

"Is Comtesse Ferraud

men?"

"Here she is," answered Simonnin.
At this moment the Colonel came in and asked

"He

is

at

home,

sir," said

Simonnin.

for Derville.

COLONEL CHABERT

121

"So you are not deaf, you young rogue ###BOT_TEXT###quot; said Chabert,
taking the gutter- j umper by the ear and twisting it, to the

who began

delight of the other clerks,

to laugh, looking at

the Colonel with the curious attention due to so singular a

personage.

Comte Chabert was in Derville's private room at the
moment when his wife came in by the door of the office.
"I say, Boucard, there

is

going to be a queer scene in the

There is a woman who can spend her days
alternately, the odd with Comte Ferraud, and the even with
chief's

room

!

Comte Chabert."
"And in leap year,"

said Godeschal, "they

must

settle the

count between them."
"Silence, gentlemen, you can be heard!" said Boucard
severely.

"I never was in an

jesting as there

Derville had

is

office

where there was so much

here over the clients."

made

the Colonel retire to the bedroom

when

the Countess was admitted.

"Madame," he

said, "not

agreeable to you to meet

M.

knowing whether it would be
Comte Chabert, I have placed

le

"

you apart. If, however, you should wish it
"It is an attention for which I am obliged to you."
"I have drawn up the memorandum of an agreement of
which you and M. Chabert can discuss the conditions, here
and now. I will go alternately to him and to you, and
explain your views respectively."
"Let me see, Monsieur," said the Countess impatiently.
Derville read aloud

"'Between the undersigned:
" 'M. Hyacinthe Chabert, Count, Marechal de Camp, and
Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, living in Paris, Rue
du Petit Banquier, on the one part;
" 'And Madame Rose Chapotel, wife of the aforesaid M.
le Comte Chabert, nee

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

122

"Pass over the preliminaries/' said

she.

"Come

to the

conditions."

"Madame/'

said the lawyer, "the preamble briefly sets

forth the position in which you stand to each other.

Then,
you acknowledge, in the presence of three
witnesses, of whom two shall be notaries, and one the
dairyman with whom your husband has been lodging, to all
of whom your secret is known, and who will be absolutely
silent
you acknowledge, I say, that the individual designated in the documents subjoined to the deed, and whose
identity is to be further proved by an act of recognition
prepared by your notary, Alexandre Crottat, is your first

by the

first clause,

husband, Comte Chabert.
By the second clause Comte
Chabert, to secure your happiness, will undertake to assert
his rights only under certain circumstances set forth in the
deed.

And

these," 'said Derville, in a parenthesis, "are

none other than a failure
secret agreement.

to carry out the conditions of this

—M. Chabert, on

his part, agrees to accept

judgment on a friendly suit, by which his certificate of death
shall be annulled, and his marriage dissolved."
"That will not suit me in the least," said the Countess
with surprise. "I will be a party to no suit; you know why."
"By the third clause," Derville went on, with imperturbable coolness, you pledge yourself to secure to Hyacinthe
Comte Chabert an income of twenty-four thousand francs
on government stock held in his name, to revert to you at
"

his death

"But it is much too dear !" exclaimed the Countess.
"Can you compromise the matter cheaper?"
"Possibly."

"But what do you want, Madame?"
"
I want
"I want
I will not have a lawsuit.
Derville.
said
interremain
dead?"
"You want him to

rupting her hastily.

COLONEL CHABERT

123

"Monsieur/' said the Countess, "if twenty-four thousand
"
we will go to law
"Yes, we will go to law/' said the Colonel in a deep voice,
as he opened the door and stood before his wife, with one
francs a year are necessary,

hand

and the other hanging by his side
which the recollection of his adventure gave

in his waistcoat

an attitude

to

horrible significance.

"It

is

he," said the Countess to herself.

"Too dear!" the

old soldier exclaimed.
"I have given
30U near on a million, and you are cheapening my misfortunes.
Very well; now I will have you you and your
fortune.
Our goods are in common, our marriage is not

dissolved

"

"But Monsieur is not Colonel Chabert!" cried the Countess,
amazement.
"Indeed !" said the old man, in a tone of intense irony.
"Do you want proofs? I found you in the Palais Royal 25
The Countess turned pale. Seeing her grow white under
her rouge, the old soldier paused, touched by the acute
suffering he was inflicting on the woman he had once so
ardently loved but she shot such a venomous glance at him
that he abruptly went on:
"
"You were with La
"Allow me, Monsieur Derville," said the Countess to the
lawyer. "You must give me leave to retire. I did not come
in feigned

;

here to listen to such dreadful things."

She rose and went

out.

Derville rushed after her; but

the Countess had taken wings and seemed to have flown

from the place.

On

returning to his private room he found the Colonel in

a towering rage, striding up and down.
25. A palace built by Richelieu and afterwards left to Louis XIV.
Since then various parts of it have been put to different uses, but it
has always been noted for its galleries and arcades, and shops of all

kinds, especially jewelry shops.
his wife had been a shop girl.

The implication

of the Colonel is that

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

124

"In those times a man took his wife where he chose/'
"But I was foolish and chose badly; I trusted to
appearances. She has no heart."
"Well, Colonel, was I not right to beg you not to come?
I am now positive of your identity; when you came in, the
Countess gave a little start, of which the meaning Mas
unequivocal. But you have lost your chances. Your wife
knows that you are unrecognizable."
said he.

"I will

kill

"Madness

her!"

You

and executed like any
That would be
unpardonable. A man must not miss his shot when he wants
to kill his wife.
Let me set things straight; you are only
a big child. Go now. Take care of yourself she is capable
of setting some trap for you and shutting you up in Charenton.
I will notify her of our uroceedings to protect you

common

!

wretch.

will be caught

Besides, you might miss

!

;

against a surprise."

The unhappy Colonel obeyed his young benefactor, and
went away, stammering apologies. He slowly went down
the dark staircase, lost in gloomy thoughts, and crushed
perhaps by the blow just dealt him the most cruel he could
feel, the thrust that could most deeply pierce his heart
when he heard the rustle of a woman's dress on the lowest
landing, and his wife stood before him.
"Come, Monsieur," said she, taking his arm with a gesture
like those familiar to him of old. Her action and the accent
of her voice, which had recovered its graciousness, were
enough to allay the Colonel's wrath, and he allowed himself

to

be led to the carriage.
"Well, get in" said she, when the footman had

let

cjown

the step.

And

as if by magic he found himself
brougham.
"Where to?" asked the servant.

in the

sitting

by

his wife

COLONEL CHABERT
"To Groslay," said
The horses started

125

she.
at once,

and carried them

across

all

Paris.

"Monsieur/' said the Countess, in a tone of voice which
betrayed one of those emotions which are rare in our

and which agitate every part of our being.
the heart, fibers, nerves, countenance, soul,

;

it

r

,

Life no longer seems

thing, every pore even, feels a thrill.
to be within us

lives,

At such moments
and bod} every-

flows out, springs forth,

is

communicated

as by contagion, transmitted by a look, a tone of voice, a

The

gesture, impressing our will on others.
started on hearing this single word, this

first,

old soldier

terrible

"Mon-

But still it was at once a reproach and a pardon, a
hope and a despair, a question and an answer. This word
included them all; none but an actress could have thrown
sieur !"

so

much

Truth

eloquence, so

is less

many

complete in

thing on the outside

;

it

its

feelings into a single word.

utterance

;

it

allows us to see

Colonel was

filled

demands, and

his anger;

with

remorse

for

he looked

does not put every-

what
his

down

is

within.

suspicions,

The
his

not to betray his

agitation.

"Monsieur," repeated she, after an imperceptible pause,
"I

knew you

at once."

"Rosine," said the old soldier, "those words contain the
only balm that can help

Two

me

to forget

my

misfortunes."

large tears rolled hot on to his wife's hands, which

he pressed to show his paternal affection.

"Monsieur," she went on, "could you not have guessed
it cost me to appear before a stranger in a position so
false as mine now is?
If I have to blush for it, at least let
it be in the privacy of my family.
Ought not such a secret
to remain buried in our hearts ? You will forgive me, I hope,
for my apparent indifference to the woes of a Chabert in
whose existence I could not possibly believe. I received your

what

" she side. in the valley of we will consider the steps Though I am yours by fact. right. with a sad. you were right. and after obtaining Napoleon's signature to my second marriage contract. I may then confess to you: I love M. said. and disturbing family ties. I ask "Yes. to avoid disturbing Monsieur Ferraud's of me. not blush to you. "To my country house near Montmorency. I do I trust in suit. Was I to not you?" right. We need not inform the me has its ridiculous You still love me. not to have calculated better quences of such a position might be. the what the conseBut where are we owl. know my duties. sweet gaze at the Colonel." this confession to does not disgrace us. dirty. which for and let us preserve our dignity. could not help 1 believing that some clever swindler wanted to make a fool Therefore. you will be generous enough to forgive me for the consequences of faults committed in innocence. longer yours in should become the talk of Paris? public of a situation. it When make fate you. I was obliged take precautions against a pretended Chabert. Ferraud.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 126 letters/' she hastily it added. going?" he asked. made me a widow. the dolt. Can me. fate? which is so be wrong in taking you as the Be at once judge and party to the I your noble character. me a secret voice bids well known to sole arbiter of my trust to your kindness. I I . "but have not I been authorized to form other ties? In so strange a position. I believed that I had a right to love him. peace of mind. "but they did not reach me till thirteen months They were opened. the writing was unrecognizable. It was who was I the idiot. seeing in his face the objection expressed. Monsieur. even if it offends cannot conceal the facts. I I am no Groslay. seeing that they had reached the barrier of La Chapelle. to be taken. Can you wish that we There. was not a mother. after the battle of Eylau.

for impossible to dwell very long on this one." said the Countess.single of his hand bade his wife be and for a mile and a half they sat without speaking a word. how to lend peculiar charm The Countess knew to her reminiscences. "Rosine. with one of those smiles which always a noble soul. and gave the conversation the tinge of melancholy that was needed to ." "Monsieur ?" "The dead are very wrong to come to life again. of which the whole reward consists in the assurance that they have made the person they love happy. no Do not think me ungrateful. reflect demand "I have not so delicacy as to little the mockery of love from a wife who no longer loves me/' The Countess gave him a flashing look full of such deep gratitude that poor Chabert would have been glad to sink Some men have a soul strong enough for such self-devotion. The conversation turned to other subjects. a mother. we will talk all this over later when our hearts have rested. it Though was the couple came back again and again to their singular position. Chabert could fancy he saw the two little ones before him. you find me a lover. while you left me merely a wife. they had a delightful drive." said the old man no in a softened tone. and I can still offer you all the affection ! of a daughter. "I We longer feel any resentment against you. Though it is no longer in my power to love. Only." "Rosine. . no." he added. will forget everything. "My dear friend.COLONEL CHABERT 127 The Colonel with a wave silent. either by some allusion or of serious purpose. Monsieur. again into his grave at Eylau." "Oh. I know how much I owe you. recalling the events of their former life together and the times of the Empire.

by a cross-road. For three days the Countess was quite charming to her first husband. The Countess had there a delightful house. as she confessed.bring me here?" "Yes. just as it improves the goodness of those who have a kind heart." The appearance of truth she contrived to give to this answer dissipated the slight suspicions which the Colonel was ashamed to have felt. she had innocently caused him. society of a favorite daughter. Sorrow had made the Colonel even more helpful and good than he had always been. while at the same time . where the Colonel heights of on arriving found everything in readiness for his stay there. At last. as well as for his wife's. in spite of his loyal trustfulness.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 128 She revived his love without awakening his and allowed her first husband to discern the mental wealth she had acquired while trying to accustom him to moderate his pleasure to that which a father may feel in the keep it serious. Margency from the pretty village of Groslay. She delighted in displaying for him the charms she knew he took pleasure in. and he could understand some secrets of womanly distress which are unrevealed to most men. they arrived at the entrance to a large park lying in the little valley which divides the . desires. The Colonel had known the Countess of the Empire he found her a Countess of the Restoration. "if I found Colonel Chabert in Derville's client. he could not help saying to his wife "Then you felt quite sure you would. in some men it increases their distrust and malignancy." replied she. By tender attentions and unfailing sweetness she seemed anxious to wipe out the memory of the sufferings he had endured. Nevertheless. and to earn forgiveness for the woes which. Misfortune is a kind of talisman whose virtue consists in its power to confirm our original nature.

she went down room. leaving with the audience an image of herself which she no longer resembles. "Alas is !" she exclaimed. he had come to look for her. she did not know what she was to do with this man but at any rate . drops half dead. and read Then it. sat to her before her writing-table. certain graces of the heart She aimed at or of the mind which they cannot resist. to copy them. She had hardly finished when she heard the Colonel's step in the passage uneasy at her absence. "I wish I were dead ! My position intolerable. She rose. She proceeded to finish a letter she had begun to Delbecq. nothing!" she replied. "Why. Ready for anything to attain her ends. "Nothing. impressing on her that she was herself to deliver to Delbecq the letter just written. whom and went down to speak pri- she sent off to Paris. whom she desired to go in her name and demand of Derville the deeds relating to Colonel Chabert.t once to Groslay. meant to annihilate him day she felt that in third socially. what is the matter?" asked the good man. ciently in back to the writer as soon as he had sit on a bench suffisight for the Colonel to join her as soon as he might to bring it the Countess went out to . and laid aside the mask of composure which she wore in Chabert's presence. left the Colonel. returning to her dressing-room after a fatiguing fifth act.COLONEL CHABERT men she assumed a kind of melancholy. for 129 are more espe- ways. interesting him in her position. and to come to her a. On yet she the evening of the spite of her efforts she could not conceal her uneasiness as to the results of her maneuvers. an actress who. like . To up give herself a minute's reprieve. and appealing to his feelings cially accessible to certain so far as to take possession of his mind and control him despotically. vately to her maid.

" said the Colonel. The . so that far away in the park they could hear the voices of some children. "I have made up my mind to sacrifice myself " entirely for your happiness "That is impossible !" she exclaimed." she went on. in a kind voice. Ferraud?" "Call him your husband. whose secret harmonies infuse such sweetness into the sunset. who broke off. It was one of those glorious. "Remember that you would have to renounce your identity. hastened up "Rosine. that made her color. with a stranger. who was looking down by her. "Is not my word enough for you?" The word "authenticated" fell on the old man's heart and roused involuntary distrust. I am resigned " to anything t "My dear. alone. " said the Countess." "What?" said the Colonel. "if he should ask what I came if he finds that I came here. "decide my fate." replied the "My Colonel. and in an authenticated form. "What am I to say when I speak of M. The air was clear. "what is the matter with you?" She did not answer. with a sudden spasmodic movement. taking possession of his wife's hands. way and he feared that he might find himself compelled to despise her." said he. she cast He looked at his wife in a down her eyes. assuming a dignified attitude. here for. and with a blush stopped to ask him. which added a kind of melody to the sublimity of the scene. then." she said. my poor child. the stillness perf ect. Monsieur. and sat for her. husband started a little.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 130 The Colonel. what am I to say to him? Listen. choose. "You do not answer me?" the Colonel said to his wife. calm evenings in the month of June. children ?" "Is he not the father of your "Well.

examining their mother and the stranger with a curiosity which it is impossible to express in words. are your children here?" said Chabert. generous temper and man whose known to her." The old soldier understood the delicacy. "But The womanly and took the Countess' hand let them come. it was an unexpected and charming picture. yes only leave thing. no longer restrain"It To whom ing her tears.COLONEL CHABERT Countess was afraid lest she the stern honesty." the Countess called out." "Are you making mamma cry ?" said Jules. Though these feelings had brought the clouds to their brow. me my "If I children. and the two childish voices mingled. "Mamma "Mamma !" " was Jules " "It was her Their little hands were held out to their mother. at the Colonel. "Oh. "Silence. ran up to complain little girl !" of her brother. This was the way of it. and I will submit to any- . "What. I want them. leave your sister in peace. of a primitive virtues were 131 had scared the shy modesty. "Poor little things !" cried the Countess. looking fiercely ." !" she cried. the tact of so gracious a precaution. they immediately recovered their harmony. "Jules. to kiss it. but I told them not to trouble you. "Yes. will the law assign them ? A mother's heart cannot be divided I want them. A child's cry was heard in the distance. am separated from the Count. "I shall have to leave them." said he. Jules The two !" said the mother in a decided tone. children stood speechless.

I had told myself so already. There was a contest of generosity between the Comtesse Ferraud and Colonel Chabert. but to sign a declaration that you are not Colonel Chabert. No." "But. he made a resolution to remain dead. he asked beyond "Do all risk what he was to do to secure the happiness of this family. as if he were ending a sentence already begun in his mind. to acknowledge yourself an impostor. "If some men have died to save a mistress' honor. the intendant had succeeded in gaining the old soldier's confidence. they gave their life but once. no. the soldier was be- witched by the touching grace of a family picture in the country. exactly as you like. and.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 132 \ This was the decisive speech which gained all that she had hoped from it." The Countess melted into tears. Constitutionnel. "I declare you that I will have nothing to do with this affair. But for my poor children I would have fled with you by this time to the other end of the world. But in this case you would be giving your life every day." Delbecq had arrived some days before. So on the to . I ought not. seeing this mother with her children." "Can I accept such a sacrifice?" replied his wife. in the shade and the silence. "cannot I live here in your little lodge as one of your relations I am as worn out as a cracked cannon I want nothing but a little tobacco and the of the day ! ! ! . "I must return underground again." said the Countess. and the soldier came out One victorious. and in obedience to the Countess' verbal instructions. If it were only your life. "Yes/' exclaimed the Colonel. Only think No. it would be nothing. frightened no longer at the authentication of a deed. It is impossible. evening." said Chabert. to sacrifice your honor and live a lie every hour Human devotion cannot go so far.

whom she saw alone on the road beyond the hedge of a haha. "since we have got him. did not hear the Colonel's approach. where Delbecq had caused the notary to hearing the it draw up an affidavit in read. the Countess. In your place I would get at least thirty thousand francs a year out of the bargain. has he signed?" the Countess asked her secretary." "Then we shall be obliged to put him into Charenton. from which the road to Saint-Leu could be seen. The old horse reared. Madame. Madame would pay them. the Colonel started such terms that. "Turf and thunder! Why.COLONEL CHABERT 133 following morning Colonel Chabert went with the ere while attorney to Saint-Leu-Taverny. indignant. I do not even know what has become of our man." carried away by a thousand contrary suspicious. Monsieur Delbecq. who recovered the elasticity of youth to leap . and slowly walked on to sit down and rest and meditate at his ease in a little room under a gazebo." said she. who was sitting in the upper room of this little summer-house. "No. for she was too much preoccupied with the success of her business to pay the smallest attention to the slight noise made by her husband. The path being strewn with the yellowish sand which is used instead of river-gravel." After annihilating this scoundrel emeritus by the lightning look of an honest man insulted. the Colonel rushed off. Monsieur/' said Delbecq. emotions. "Well. Finally he made his way back into the park' of Groslay by a gap in a fence. "Indeed. Nor did the old man notice that his wife was in the room over him. The Colonel. "I should advise you not to sign in haste. He was and calm again by turns. after up and walked out of office. I should What make myself a fool you must think me! out a swindler!" he exclaimed.

in the twinkling of an eye was standing in front of Delbecq. that if there had been any water at hand he . And then fearful thought where was he to find the money needful to pay the cost of the first proceedings ? He felt such disgust of life. His rage spent. The Countess was gazing at the distance and preserved a calm countenance. on whom he bestowed the two finest slaps that ever a scoundrel's cheeks received. He had seen the truth in all its nakedness. The care taken of him was but a bait to entrap him in a snare. that if he had had a pistol. enter on a life of litigation. She wiped her eyes as if she had been weeping and played absently with the pink ribbons of her sash. drink every morning of the cup of bitterness. Then he relapsed into the indecision of mind which. Nevertheless. where . The Countess' speech and Delbecq's reply had revealed the conspiracy of which he was to be the victim. "And you may add that old horses can kick!" said he. showing that impenetrable face which women can assume when resolved to do their worst. gazebo. the Colonel no longer felt vigorous enough to leap the ditch.would have thrown himself into it. bringing on in the old soldier a return of all his sufferings. Then for him there was to be neither peace nor truce From this moment he must begin the odious warfare with this woman of which Derville had spoken. and where he found his wife seated on a chair. feed on gall. walking slowly like a broken man. At having reached the kiosque. physical and moral. he went up to the little rose-windows afforded a view over each lovely landscape of the valley. since his conversation with Derville at the dairyman's had changed — ! his character. he would have blown out his brains.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 134 the haha. That speech was like a drop of subtle poison. in spite of her apparent assurance. He came back to the summer-house through the park gate. she could last.

Six months after this event. like a stone flung into a chasm. out of revenge. who asks no !" more than his share of the sunshine. "Madame. "Madame." he said. disappeared. no longer love you. after gazing at her fixedly for a moment and compelling her to blush. The dairyman failed in has divided us. Chabert. I will never assert my claim to the name I perhaps have made illustrious. had had arranged by some other lawyer. took up some similar industry for a time. standing with folded arms. supposed that they had no doubt come to a compromise. saying "Do not touch me !" The Countess' expression when she heard her husband's retreating steps is quite indescribable. but he pushed her away with disgust. So one morning he added up the sums he had advanced to the said Chabert with the costs. I want nothing from you. I do not curse you I can now thank the chance that I scorn you. Then. his — I do not feel even a desire for revenge. with the deep perspicacity given only by utter villainy or by fierce worldly selfishness. pale. it is worth more than the scrawl of all the notaries in Paris. Derville. to be lost in the mire of rags that seethes through the streets of Paris. The Colonel. and begged the Comtesse . she knew that she might live in peace on the word and the contempt of this loyal veteran. hearing no more of Colonel Chabert or the Comtesse Ferraud. his face not help shuddering slightly brow stern. which the Countess. he went falling from ledge to ledge. she would have detained him by taking his hands. in fact.COLONEL CHABERT 135 when she saw before her her venerable benefactor. I business and became a hackney-cab driver. Farewell The Countess threw herself at his feet. Live in peace on the strength of my word. Perhaps. I am henceforth but a poor devil named Hyacinthe. perhaps.

His eye had a stoical expression which no magistrate ought to alent to perpetual imprisonment. and recognized in the condemned man his false Colonel Chabert. le Comte Chabert the amount of bill. by magistrate's law. Delbecq. The very next day Comte Ferraud's man of business. "Madame la Comtesse Ferraud desires me to inform you that your client took complete advantage of your confidence. Yours. philanthropical. on my honor. The old soldier was placid. in spite of the misery stamped on his countenance. and you are bound to be cheated of business that will cost Some time me two ! There is thousand-franc notes after receiving this letter." cried Derville. and a lawyer. and that the individual calling himself Comte Chabert has acknowledged that he came forward under false pretences. . In spite of his rags. generous. etc. is equiv- to speak. Derville looked at the delinquent. it gave evidence of noble pride. sitting between two gendarmes on the bench for the accused. Christians ! Be humane. assuming that she would know where to find her the first husband. Derville went into Court Number 6 at the moment when the Presiding Magistrate was sentencing one Hyacinthe to two months' imprisonment as a vagabond. motionless. too "They don't deserve to be stupid by half. As it." "One comes across people who are. and subsequently to be taken to the Mendicity House of Detention.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 136 Ferraud to claim from M. almost absentminded. lately appointed President of the County Court in a town of some importance. wrote this distressing note to Derville: "Monsieur. Derville Palais de Justice in search of a pleader to a piece !" went to the he wished whom and who was employed in the Police Court. chance would have On hearing the name Hyacinthe. a sentence which.

unfortunately. upon him after his first fault. nor writers come to study. he a zero. but as soon as a man has fallen into is no more than a moral entity. where he stood scrutinizing him for some minutes. When removed was taken back to the lock-up. where not one of them is missing. All who fall on the pavement of Paris rebound against these yellow-gray walls. as well as the curious among whom he found himself. a matter of law or of fact. like a preface to the dramas of the Morgue. for that justification is written in that ante-room. just as to statists he has become the hands of justice. driven to despair by the blight which . nor painters. in embryo or matured not a corner where a man has never stood who. Derville availed himself of the privilege accorded to lawyers of going wherever they please in the courts. of the law. on which a philanthropist who was not a speculator. blackened by the constant presence there of the wretches who come to this meetingplace of every form of social squalor. A poet might say that the day was ashamed to light up this dreadful There is sewer through which so much misery flows not a spot on that plank where some crime has not sat. or to those enacted on the Place de la Greve. .COLONEL CHABERT 137 have misunderstood. has not there at the end of which looms the guillotine or the pistol-snap of the suicide. and followed him to the lock-up. might read a justification of the numerous suicides complained of by hypocritical writers who are incapable of taking a step to prevent them justice has set begun a career. this ante-room is Like all the laboratories a dark and malodorous place. at that moment afforded one crew of beggars The passage to the lock-up of those spectacles which. neither legislators nor philanthropists. to be vagabonds at that moment at the veteran later with the batch of the bar. along the walls runs a wooden seat.

"Did you not stipulate for an allowance?" huskiness. it is there." Derville went on in an undertone. "Send her that. gendarmes on duty paced to and fro. as if to call heaven to witness to this fresh subterfuge." "What !" said Derville. "She wrote to me that you were a swindler." The Colonel cast up his eyes in a sublime impulse of horror and imprecation. sir. it is not the less there. Monsieur.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 138 At men this moment Colonel Chabert was —men with coarse sitting among these faces. their sabers clattering on the floor." said Chabert. and addressed them to the Comtesse Ferraud. "What! Madame Ferraud has not paid you?" cried he in a loud voice. "Yes. "get the gendarmes to allow . for three standing in front of him. and that is all. Believe me. "Yes." said he. of misery." and he laid his hand on his heart. rising. deep and sincere. "Do you recognize me?" said Derville to the old man. But what can the unfortunate do? They live." said the soldier. "Monsieur. where Hyacinthe wrote a few lines. "If you are an honest man. "and you will be paid your costs and the money you advanced. clothed in the horrible livery 7 and silent at intervals. "how could you remain in my debt?" The old soldier blushed as a young girl might when accused by her mother of a clandestine love affair." At a word from Derville to the sergeant he was allowed to take his client into the room. in a voice that was calm by sheer me to go into the lock-up. "Paid me?" said Derville. or talking in a low tone. and I will sign an order which will certainly be honored. if I have not shown you the gratitude I owe you for your kind offices.

28 This man. he sent Godeschal. For dress.COLONEL CHABERT "Do not speak of it !" man. The staff is part of the insignia of the rank. now himself an attorney. who. to the Comtesse Ferraud. "it is better to enjoy luxury of feeling than of is at Saint ference to me." the Colonel sat Derville went away. of Marshal is the highest . on reading the note. to whom he had succeeded. Godeschal. went to His with Derville. in Paris.honor that can be conferred French army. was seated on a cornerstone. one of the two thousand poor creatures who are lodged in the infirmary for the aged. After all. in the 28. at once paid the sum due to Comte Chabert's lawyer. which consists in drying their snuffy pocket-handkerchiefs in the sun. one of those old. An institution for women. When I 139 "You cannot the outside life to attacked by a sick- think that Napoleon Helena. broken. And my . under one of the elm trees by the wayside. and seemed to have concentrated all his intelligence on an operation well known to these pensioners. In 1830. 26. down on On his bench again. at that time his second clerk. similar to the one for men at The rank Bicetre. He was dressed in the reddish cloth wrapperliving on at Bicetre as poor women live coat which the workhouse affords to its inmates. A town known for its home for the aged and the insane. I fear nobody's contempt. cried the old how deep my contempt is for which most men cling. . returning to his office. 27. I was suddenly conceive ness — disgust of humanity. 26 they saw. This old man had an attractive countenance." he added with a gesture of childish simplicity. a sort of horrible livery. and hoary paupers who have earned the Marshal's staff 27 among beggars by on at la Salpetriere. everything on earth is a matter of indifI can no longer be a soldier that is my only real grief. part. perhaps to save washing them. toward the end of June. When they reached the avenue leading from the high road to Bicetre.

" Derville looked at the poor with a Isn't he like those gro- Germany ? And get from woman. and agreeable." said Derville. going to visit the man condemned to death?" he asked. a drama. Comte She has had him sent here." This opening having excited Godeschal's curiosity. it is solely because he reminded the pretty Countess that he had taken her. "That old Bicetre pauper is her lawful husband. on Monday morning. And if he is in this workhouse instead of living in a mansion. like a hackney cab. my dear fellow. no doubt. tesque carved figures jjerhaps it is we little "That old alive." said Godeschal. they perceived that he had been breakfasting elsewhere than at Bicetre. man through his eyeglass. "look at that old fellow. Ferraud?" "Yes. she it is happy. "I am no longer a man. ville related the story Two here told.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 140 "I say. 16%. and Derville proposed that they should call on Colonel Chabert. Room 7. DerChabert." he added. looking at Derville with timid "Are you anxiety. "Good morning. on the street. a clever is is a whole poem." said Godeschal to his traveling com- panion. he was amusing himself with drawing lines in the sand. Half way up the avenue they found the old man sitting on the trunk of a felled tree with his stick in one hand. as the Did you ever meet the Comtesse romantics say. days later. but rather too pious. Derville. the old Colonel. Colonel Chabert. I am Xo. and exclamation of surprise he said: man. or. On looking at him narrowly. the two friends looked again at Bicetre. I can remember now the tiger's glare she shot at him at that "moment. the fear of an old man and a child. "Not Chabert! Not Chabert! My name is Hyacinthe. . . as they returned to Paris." replied the veteran.

full of philosophy and But today. and when the Prussian saw on his corns. by the roadside. saying eagerly held out his hand to the two strangers.COLONEL CHABERT after a moment's silence. Napoleon. also in Saxony. the French. and shouted with a smile: "Fire! both arms! Vive Napoleon!" And he drew a flourish in the air with his stick.' said Jena. And the Prussian made asking any more questions. Hyacinthe and I. Nov. so long ago as 1820. The officer. or some animal of the same species. imagination. At that time a Prussian officer. 'Here man who must have been was too young to be there. there are days when you had who was looking better not tread He is an old rogue. came by on foot. as he walked. "Taken out of the Foundling Hospital to die in the Infirmary for the Aged. At Rossbach. . 29 Hyacinthe. We two were together. ! the old boy. was talking to another. "He 141 not married is ! He is very !" lucky "Poor fellow !" said Godeschal. 1757. without exclaimed Derville. a village in Saxony. "Brave troopers He !" ported arms. 1806. "Would you some- like thing to buy snuff?" With the simplicity of a street Arab. "Childish on. pretended to take aim at them. Oct.' 28 an 'I 'But I was at pretty quick. he said to him. Monsieur. he thanked them with a puzzled look." "What a destiny !" at off is Rossbach. defeated the Germans. "The nature wound has no doubt made him of his childish/' said Derville. 14. whose chaise was crawling up the hill of Villejuif. a Russian. what can you expect He has had his Monday treat. 29. just to old cavalry make fun. the Germans defeated the At Jena. under French. the Colonel all who each gave him a twenty-franc piece. "Why. 5. He was here. He ?" ! said another old pauper.

and the man of law ? And they wear black robes-. I could not tell you all I have seen. and reconciles. . But we lawyers. ! — . perhaps because they are in mourning for every virtue and every illusion. nothing can correct them our offices are sewers which can never be cleansed. The most hapless of the three is the lawyer. I am going to live in the country with my wife. I have seen women teaching the child of their marriage such tastes as must bring it to the grave in order to benefit the child of an illicit affection. my dear fellow. and working on the love they could inspire to make the men idiotic or mad. of these pretty things.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 142 Napoleon between whiles to conquer Egypt you know. by remorse. profession ! I . to whom he had given forty thousand francs a year I have known wills burnt I have seen mothers robbing their children. wives killing their husbands. I have a horror of Paris. for I have seen crimes against which justice is impotent. all the horrors that romancers suppose they have You will know something invented are still below the truth. When a man comes in search of the priest. after helping Do and Europe." Derville went on after a pause. "there are in modern society three men who can never think well of the world the priest. we see the same evil feelings repeated again and again. which elevate him and comfort the soul of the intercessor whose task will bring him a sort of gladness he purifies. he is prompted by repentance. deserted by two daughters. the doctor. as for me. In short." "I have seen plenty of them already in Desroches' office." replied Godeschal. by beliefs which make him interesting. "How many things have I learned in the exercise of my have seen a father die in a garret. that they might live in peace with a lover. — . repairs.

especially English. realistic in treatment. and nearly always that something was death. Like Balzac. but the son was educated He passed the bar examination but never to be a lawyer. Merimee was very fond of the intellectual society of Paris and liked to be considered a man of the world. and traveling. direct. but rather played the part of the amateur in many. Both his father and mother were artists. practiced. in which capacity he labored much in the restoration of old architecture and the preservation of the Roman remains in : . He chose stories in which something happened. a distinction which he deserved because of his varied interests both at home and in foreign parts. and later he was appointed Inspector-General of Historical Monuments. jjrecise. collecting coins. archaeology writing novels and short stories. He emphasized the importance of small but significant facts and was unusually successful in imparting local color effects without obtruding them upon the story proper. preferring to spend his time in the study of languages. Neither in his 143 . France. but romantic in subject.MERIMEE (1803-1870) Prosper Merimee was born in Paris in 1803. Under the Second Empire he was a Senator. His style is simple. he looked for the exceptional incident and the exceptional character. Among his particular interests were writing plays . In his attitude towards life and the world he always maintained a severely cynical pessimism. Merimee's short stories are always dramatic. and entirely without decoration. He did not allow himself to become too much attached to any one profession. something definite and striking. making historical investigations .

September 23. and Carmen. Mateo Falcone (1829). Tamango. is an excellent illustration of Merimee's choice of subject. who lived all the latter part of his life in thies Paris. . after a three hours' walk along winding paths. 1 The maquis is the home of the Corsican shepherds and of whoever is in trouble with the police. the selection in this volume. skeptical about the idea of good in the world and wrote "that there is nothing more common than doing evil for the pleasure of doing it. he never allowed his personality to be revealed in his work. The name given to the bush country of Corsica. treatment. material. underneath all this outward cynicism he was really a man of warm sympa- stories nor in his life did He was and charitable inclinations. Merimee was the first great French writer who took an intelligent and special interest in Russian novelists.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 144 he allow any display of emotion. stories of the same type are Colomba. if the flames spread further than is necessary. towards the interior of the island. the tragic irony which he Other consciously cultivated for the purpose of his art. He greatly admired the stories of Pushkin and was the friend of Turgenev. Taking of the Redoubt. and. died at Cannes. MATEO FALCONE By PROSPER MERIMEE Going out of Porto-Vecchio and turning northwest. though. 1870. obstructed by great lumps of rock. sets fire to a stretch of wood. all of which deserve the attention of the reader of Merimee was He French elected to the fiction. like Maupassant. You must know that the Corsican peasant." However. French Academy in 1844. you see the land rise pretty sharply. and sometimes cut bjr ravines. so much the worse: but whatever 1. to save himself the trouble of manuring. you reach the edge of a most extensive mdquis. and above all.

he is sure of a good harvest from sowing on this ground. He was a fairly rich man in the countryside. he seemed to me fifty years old at most. If you have killed a man. — Mateo Falcone. with a good gun.MATEO FALCONE 145 happens-. put forth very heavy shoots in the following spring. that will serve as covering and mattress. two years am about to relate to you. and a complexion the color of boot-leather. When the corn has been gathered (they leave the straw. pastured here and there over the mountains. powder. except when you have to go down into the town to renew your stock of ammunition. which have stayed in the ground without wasting away. which would be a trouble to collect). without doing anything. had his house half a league's distance from the maquis. and there are maquis so thick and Only with a hatchet wills. with crisp hair. large quick eyes. or the dead man's relations. at a hundred and shots. the tree roots. even in his country there are so many good never fire where For example. when I was in Corsica in 18 . The shepherds give you milk. that is to say. fertilized by the ashes of the trees it bore. that shepherds. go into the maquis of Porto- Vecchio. himself a way bushy that the wild rams themselves are unable to penetrate them. you must not forget a brown cloak with a hood on it. which in a few years reach a height of seven or eight feet. black as jet. and chestnuts. different kinds of trees and shrubs mixed and entangled as God in his hand can a man open through. His skill with the after the incident I gun passed for extraordinary. and you "will have nothing to fear from the law. living as a gentleman. and you will live there in safet}^. a kind of nomads. When I saw him. Mateo would at a wild ram with buckshot. on the produce of his flocks. . Imagine a man small but sturdy. It is this species of It is made up of close thicket that they call the maquis. cheese. and shot.

the name. but already promised well. Little Fortunato wanted to accompany him. The aifair was hushed up. besides. looking at the blue moun- . whence he had taken his wife. at Corte. great reputation. At eighty paces. the father refused: we shall sec if he had not good reason to regret it. he With such transcendent merit. and I heard this proof of his skill. that will perhaps seem incredible to those who have not traveled in Corsica. at least. and Mateo married. The candle was blown out. Mateo Falcone had won a was as good a friend as he was a dangerous enemy: obliging. it was very necessary that some one should stay to guard the house. he would bring it down with a bullet in the head or the shoi lder. He had been away some hours. The son was only ten years old. to Mateo was attributed a certain shot that had surprised his rival shaving before a little mirror hung in his window. He used his weapon as easily at night as in the daytime. His wife Giuseppa had given him first three girls (at which he was enraged) and finally a boy. Men lived at peace with everybody said he in the neighborhood of Porto- was said of him that. he had disembarrassed himself in the most vigorous manner of a rival accounted as redoubtable in war as in love. One autumn day. the hope of his family. as he chose. But it whom he called Fortunato. and. Mateo went out early with his wife to one of his flocks in a clearing in the maquis. and charitable. heir to The daughters were well married: their father could count at need on the poniards and carbines of his sons-in-law. a lighted candle was placed behind a piece of transparent paper as He big as a plate. Vecchio. but the clearing was too far away. too. he fired and pierced the paper three times out of four. after a minute in the most absolute darkness. aimed.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 146 twenty paces. and little Fortunato was visit tranquilly stretched in the sun.

had fallen on the way into an ambuscade of Corsican light infantry." Confound it! They will be here in five minutes. fired at irregular intervals. he had succeeded in making good his retreat. hotly pursued.MATEO FALCONE 147 and thinking that next Sunday he would be going dinner in the town. will my father say." "I am Gianetto Sanpiero. if I hide you without his leave?" "He will say you have done right." "Who knows?" "Hide me quickly. bearded. in tatters. they are coming. at last. Come. and always nearer and nearer. for I can go no further. The . and said: "You are Mateo Falcone's son?" get "Yes. Other gunshots followed. to He stood up and turned to the side of whence the sound came. But he had not much start of the soldiers. He had just received a sound of a gun. The man was a bandit/ who. hide me. 4. having set off by night to powder in the town. at the house of his uncle the Corporal." "Wait "Wait! till my father comes back. After a vigorous defense." Fortunato answered him with the utmost calm 2. and his wound made it impossible for him to reach the maquis before being caught up. like those worn by the mountaineers. Hide "And what The yellow collars 4 are after me. 2 when he was suddenly interrupted in his meditations by the tains. the plain bullet in the thigh. light infantry uniform had a yellow collar. and firing from rock to rock. 3. or I'll kill you. leaning on his gun. A A title in Corsica to a man of propei'ty and influence. dragging himself with difficulty. a man appeared in the path leading from the plain to Mateo's house. He came up to Fortunato. refugee from justice." me. a pointed cap on his head.

noticing traces of blood on the. coming nearer. six men in brown uniform with yellow commanded by an adjutant. The bandit rummaged in a leather pouch that hung at and took out a five-franc piece that he had no doubt kept to buy powder. to make believe that it had not been stirred for some time. Then. made a great hole in a hayrick placed near Gianetto squatted down in it. collars. He bethought himself too of an ingenious piece of savage cunning.) His name was Tiodoro Gamba: he was a man of energy. that done. many of whom he had already run down." 5 "I have my dagger." his belt. lay down her little ones. (It is well known that in Corsica degrees of relationship are counted farther than elsewhere. and there are no cartridges in your caribera. he seized it and said to Gianetto: "Fear nothing. door." "But will you run as quick as I?" He made a bound and put himself out of reach. 5. "You are not the son of Mateo Falcone. "What will you give me if I hide you?" he said. were before Mateo's The adjutant was distantly connected with Falcone. path close to the house. and yet so that it was impossible to suspect that a man was concealed in the hay. . again in the sun with the utmost tranquillity. and. Will you let me be arrested in front of your house?" The child seemed touched. Instantly he the house. Some minutes later. He fetched a cat and and established them on the hayrick. much feared by the bandits.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 148 . A cartridge bolt."Your gun is not loaded. Fortunato smiled at the sight of the piece of silver. and the child covered him up so as to leave him a little air to breathe. he covered them carefully with dust.

and a waistcoat worked in red and yellow?" "A man with a pointed cap. you have grown! Did you see a man pass by just now?" "Oh. and do not repeat my questions." "So you My think." "May the devil take you. the gunshots woke you up. cursed scamp that you are! I am very sure you have seen Gianetto. "Who knows ?" "Who knows? I know you have seen him. . cousin." the child answered with a simple air. and a waistcoat worked in red and yellow?" "Yes.. He was only going on one foot. and I am sure he took this path. . you are playing the fool! Tell me at once which way Gianetto went." him "Ah. "That will come. answer quickly. I am not yet as big as you. Come. to try and noise ? father's rifle reach the mdquis limping. and see if our man is not there.MATEO FALCONE "Good-day. "How little 149 cousin/' said he. chuckling. the rascal. mates." "Does one then see passersby when one is asleep?" "Rogue. But tell me. and he has too much sense. haven't you seen a man go by?" "Have I seen a man go by?" "Yes." . a man with a pointed cap. . the traces of blood stop here. Monsieur the Cure went past our door on He asked me how papa was. Perhaps you have even hidden him. accosting Fortunato. and I told his horse Piero. he is the man we are after. you were not asleep." "And what will papa say?" asked Fortunato. you young scamp. cousin. that your carbines make so much makes much more. into the house with you." "This morning. Besides.

"do you know that. The adjutant and his men cursed their luck. who had already gone through the house. as if he felt he slightest emotion. little scamp. convinced 6. household utensils. A soldier came up to the hayrick. The furniture consists of a table. He spoke in a low voice to his men. with irons on your feet. and carelessly stuck a bayonet in the hay. if I give you a score of blows with the flat of the sword. benches. He said again: "My father is Mateo Falcone. Nothing stirred. and the child's face did not betray the ders." It was clear that Gamba was embarrassed. and I will have your head cut off unless you say where is Gianetto Sanpiero.FRENCH SHORT STORIES |50 "what will he say when he hears that his house was entered while he was out?" "Rogue!" said Adjutant Gamba. when their leader." he said with emphasis. "Do you know. chests. for a Corsican's cottage is made up of a single square room. ." said one of the voltigeurs 5 under his breath. It was not a long business. you will speak at last. on straw. He saw the cat. shrugging his shoul- were taking a ridiculous precaution. they were already looking seriously towards the plain. "My father is Mateo Falcone." The child broke into a laugh at this ridiculous threat. "do not let us get into trouble with Mateo." And Fortunato went on chuckling. I can make you change your tune? Perhaps." "Adjutant. that I can take you off to Corte or to Bastia? I will put you to sleep in a cell. as if ready to go back whence they had come. little Fortunato stroked his cat. if I like. Meanwhile. and the weapons of the chase. taking him by the ear. and seemed to find a malicious enjoyment in the discomfiture of the voltigeurs and his cousin. The light infantry employed as country police.

' "When I am big. if I would not carry you off ! with me. . effect of caresses "Little cousin/' said he.12 ." The adjutant pulled a silver watch out of his pocket. . ." • fine as this The 7. I will give you a piece of advice and that is. when my and he story. But you are playing a risky game with me. . cousin returns. proud as a peacock. . and. . and people would ask you. worth a good ten crowns T and. 'Look will see." "Yes. noticing that little Fortunato's eyes glittered as they looked at it. my uncle the Corporal will give me a watch. . 'What time is it ?' and you would say to them. and I will give you something. 151 final attempt. • • . it is no longer current in France. cousin. Gianetto will be in the mdquis. and try the son." "How "You do you know?" But look here. if it were not for fear of troubling my cousin Mateo. and said: "Scamp you would be glad enough to have a watch like this hanging from your neck you would walk in the streets of Porto-Vecchio. ! . child sighed. for telling lies. "you seem to be a wide-awake young rogue You will go far." "Bah!" "But. but your uncle's son has one already not as it is true and yet he is younger than you.MATEO FALCONE make no impression on Falcone's that threats would wished to make a and gifts." "As for me. . The crown was worth $1. Be a good boy. . . that if you dawdle any longer. and it will take a smarter fellow than you to go and look for him there. I shall tell you the whip will give till him the whole the blood comes. dangled the watch at the end of its steel chain. at my watch. devil take it.

fixing his black eyes on those of the adjutant. little by little. and turns away his eyes from time to time. . "if I do not give you the watch on that condition ! My fellows are witnesses. and indicated with his thumb. . the hayrick on which he leant. . was like a cat to whom one offers a whole chicken. . At last. however. . and. . Fortunato lifted his left hand also. . it seemed all on fire in the sun. over his shoulder. "May I lose my epaulettes. he touched it with the tip of his fingers its whole weight was in his hand. The temptation was too strong. would you like the watch." As he spoke. "What a cruel joke this is!" And yet» Adjutant Gamba seemed to be making a real offer . without the adjutant. feeling that one is laughing at him. and sometimes touched the tip of his nose. and he seemed almost choking. letting go the end of the chain the the face was blue case newly burnished . whose face it showed clearly how covetousness and the respect due to hoswere contending in his soul. so as not to succumb to the temptation but he licks his lips continually. . of the watch. and the watch is Only tell me where is yours. he brought the watch nearer and nearer till almost touched the pale cheek of the child. The adjutant instantly understood. Fortunato did not put out his hand. and I cannot unsay it." cried the adjutant. . with a bitter smile: "Why are you laughing at me?" I am not laughing. Meanwhile the watch swung." Fortunato allowed an incredulous smile to escape him. and seems to say to his master. little cousin?" Fortunato. his right hand rose towards the watch. . tried to read in them the good faith he sought for in the words. and twisted.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 152 "Well. ogling the watch out of the corners of his eyes. but said. The cat dares not put a claw on it. He dropped the end of the pitality . His bare breast heaved convulsively... "By God ! Gianetto.

"but be easy: I am so glad to have got you. He fell. . quicker than a young goat. quilly to the adj utant "My dear Gamba. Gianetto's wound. "Son of !" he said." retorted the cruel victor. than anger. you will have to carry town. who had come up . He said very tran- The .MATEO FALCONE chain. a bleeding man came out of it. when he tried to get on his feet. that the voltigeurs immediately set to work to bring down. he was strongly bound. and wrested away his poniard. The adjutant flung himImmediately self upon him. while her husband strutted along. comrade. laid on the ground. again. "you will put a little straw on the litter. with more scorn." said the prisoner. The woman was in front. with a dagger in his hand but. we will make you a litter with branches and your cloak. and put ten paces between himself and the hayrick. Gianetto." "Good. I would carry you a league on my back without feeling the weight. . in spite of his resistance. child threw . to make me more comfortable?" While the voltigeurs were busy." "You were running just now. won't you. his congealed wound prevented him from standing upright. I cannot walk. He Fortunato felt 153 himself sole possessor of the watch. leapt with the agility of a deer. Anyhow. and we shall find horses at the me to the farm of Crespoli. him the piece of silver he had had from him. others in dressing Mateo Falcone and his wife appeared suddenly at the bend of a path that led to the mdquis. . It was not long before they saw the hay stir. bending heavily under the weight of a huge sack of chestnuts. turned his head towards Fortunato. feeling that he no longer deserved it but the proscribed man did not seem to notice the action. some in making a sort of stretcher with branches of a chestnut-tree. and tied up like a bundle of sticks.

He was "well spoken of/' as the saying is but he was a Corsican and a mountaineer. He gave her the gun from his s which might have inconvenienced him. with measured gun ready. and advanced slowly towards his house. It is the business of a good bandolier wife. "Wife. . to load her husband's weapons." said he. . "Mateo should be a relation of Gianetto.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 154 carrying nothing but a gun in his hand. "If by chance. The adjutant. on the other side. at the slightest sign of hostility. But why this idea? Had Mateo then some quarrel with the law? Not at all. ready. to Giuseppa. and got ready to make a good defense. and if he should aim at me in spite of our at seeing steps. his relationship 8. for it was ten years since he had aimed his gun at a man but he was prudent nevertheless. if they look well into their memories. or other bagatelle. It is beneath the dignity of a man to carry any other burden than his weapons. and ready. in case of battle. and should wish to defend him. He enjoyed a good reputation. holding his spare gun. do not find there some peccadillo. and his cartridge-box." She instantly obeyed. whence he would be able to fire from cover. and another slung on his back. to throw himself behind the biggest trunk. keeping along the trees by the side of the path." he thought. if need be. . "put down your sack. shoulder belt with cartridge loops. and his finger at the trigger. the bullets of his two guns will reach two of us. Mateo's first thought on seeing the soldiers was that they had come to arrest him. a gunshot or a dagger-blow. and there are few Corsican mountaineers who. and be . or a friend. Mateo had a clearer conscience than most. as sure as a letter by post. was considerably troubled Mateo advance in this manner. He cocked the one he had in his hand. A !" . His wife walked at his heels.

but that . old comrade/' he cried. but the short distance that separated him from Mateo In the difficulty that was to go forward to meet seemed terribly long. ." pursued the adjutant. and tell him about the matter. Gianetto had hidden himself under that hayrick over there but my little cousin showed me the trick. and Mateo by himself . "Fortunato!" repeated Giuseppa. holding out his "It is a very long time since I last saw you. not content with that." Mateo. "he killed one of my voltigeurs. your cousin. so that at the moment when the adjutant came up to him it was pointed to the sky. I shall could not have discovered him." "I had come to give good-day to you in passing. for we have made a famous capture. and to my cousin Pepa. "he robbed us of a milch-goat last week. brother. old man? It is I." said Mateo. but we must not complain of being tired. he was only a Frenchman. slowly raised the barrel of his gun. I should never have been able to find him. We have made a long march today.MATEO FALCONE 155 he made a very courageous resolve." These words rejoiced Gamba." said the adjutant. "how are you. "Poor devil. . piero. "Good-day. accosting him as an old acquaintance." cried Giuseppa. without answering a word. a little taken aback. Then he had hidden himself so well that the devil Without my little cousin Fortunato. and. "Hola there. is no great harm." "Fortunato!" cried Mateo. ." "God be praised." "Good-day. We have just got hold of Gianetto Sanhand. broke Corporal Chardon's arm. brother." "The rogue defended himself like a lion. "Yes. as the other spoke. "he was hungry. Gamba. . and. had stopped.

156 tell his FRENCH SHORT STORIES uncle the Corporal. then the adjutant gave the signal for the start. in the report that I "The house of a traitor. and went down at a smart pace towards the plain. "Keep off!" shouted the bandit with a voice of thunder. which he presented with downcast eyes to Gianetto. "I like." "Curse/" said Mateo. leaning on his gun. and he will send him a fine And his name and yours shall be send to the Public Prosecutor. turning towards the door of the house. turning to one of the voltigeurs: "Let's have a drink. instead of tied behind his back." did their best to satisfy him. he spat on the threshold. that would leave no need of a second. comrade. A good dagger thrust. ready to start. very low. "to They lie at my ease. who. But Mateo's only movement was to put his hand to his forehead like a stunned man." said he. Gianetto was already laid on his litter. When he saw Mateo with Gamba he smiled an odd smile. and the bandit drank the water given him by a man with whom he had just been exchanging gunshots. He soon reappeared with a bowl of milk. Then. then. said "good-bye" to Mateo. Fortunato had gone into the house on seeing the arrival of his father." he said. The now at his mother. Then he asked that his hands should be fastened crossed on his breast. and said: present for his pains. him with an . and now at his child looked uneasily. The soldier put his flask in his hands. would have instantly avenged the insult." Only a man ready to die would have dared to apply the name of traitor to Falcone. who did not answer. considered expression of concentrated rage. They had come up to the soldiers. father. Ten minutes passed before Mateo opened his mouth.

then threw it across his shoulder. and. Mateo? Do you know to whom you are speaking?" "Well. "What are you saying. But Mateo shouted at him: "Father cried the child. and sobbed. it violently against "Woman. a few steps from his father. coming nearer. Meanwhile Falcone walked some two hundred paces along the path. as if to "Out of And my presence!" the child stopped short. in a voice calm." answered Mateo. broke it in a thousand pieces." said he. the adjutant. "My cousin. The child obeyed. motionless. his eyes. He felt ." sobs and chokes of Fortunato redoubled. and Falcone The kept his lynx eyes always fixed upon him.MATEO FALCONE "You begin well/' said terrifying to those !" Mateo who knew 157 at last. with tears in throw himself at his knees. Giuseppa ran after Mateo and caught him by the arm. and took once more the path to the mdquis. "is this child mine?" The brown cheeks of Giuseppa became brick red. fixing her black eyes on her husband's as if to read what was passing in his soul. At last he struck the ground with the butt of his gun. and prayed fervently. but the man. She threw herself on her knees before an image of the Virgin. shout- ing to Fortunato to follow him. one end of which hung out of Fortunato's shirt. this child is the first of his race to be a traitor. "Who gave you that watch?" she asked sternly. "He is your son. She had just noticed the watchchain." Giuseppa kissed her son and went weeping back into the cottage. Giuseppa came up. flinging a stone. "Leave me. and did not stop until he went down into a small ravine. "I am his father." Falcone seized the watch." she said in a trembling voice.

and Fortunato fell stone-dead. and then knelt. have ! ! I will took aim. saying: "May God The child forgive you !" made a desperate effort to get up." ." "Say your prayers !" repeated Mateo in a terrible voice. my father. his father's knees. my He died a Let them tell son-in-law. The father responded Amen in a loud voice at the end of each prayer." "It is very long. I am going to bury him. Tiodorc Bianchi. "Justice. go up to that big rock. do not kill me. but never mind." "Where is he?" "In the ravine. "Fortunato. The "Say your prayers. Mateo took the path to his house. recited the Pater and the Credo. He had only gone a few yards when be nut Giuseppa. Christian. Without throwing a glance at the corpse. "Are those all the prayers you know?" "Father. "What have you done?" she cried. The place seemed suitable to his purpose. stammering and sobbing." child did as he was told. The child. Mateo had cocked his gun. my aunt taught me. I will not do it mercy forgive me beg my cousin the Corporal ever so hard that Gianetto may be pardoned !" He was still speaking. running. alarmed by the gunshot. and embrace Mateo fired. and found it soft and easy to dig. I will have a mass sung for him. but he had not the time." "Father. to get a spade for the digging of his son's grave. and again! father. I know the Ave Maria and the litany too.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 158 the earth with the butt of his gun." The child finished the "Have you done?" "O litany in a stifled voice. to come and live with us.

His romantic temperament drew him among that group of romanticists who flocked to the standards of Victor Hugo. At the University he studied both law and medicine. He was a man of striking personality. and to his memory after death. and even as a boy he delighted in reading the old romances with his Qlder brother. Like Byron.MUSSET (1810-1857) Alfred de Musset was born in Paris in 1810. his sister. Among those who remained devotedly loyal to him throughout his life. Musset assumed an air of melancholy in his life and often let it appear in his work. and at the age of twenty created a tremendous sensation by a volume of poetry entitled Stories of Spain and Italy. but never practiced either of these professions. and this prematurely blunted his unusual talents. Unfortunately. craving sympathy and easily influenced. Paul. He gravitated towards literature. knowing and being known by everybody. though English readers know him mainly through his stories. and his brother Paul. his life had been an almost continuous dissipation. His work brought him the honor of election to the French Academy in 1852. His prose stories number only about a dozen. were his mother. and in 1857. 159 . His last years were spent most sadly the friends of his better days drifted away from him. however. He moved in the first literary circles of Paris. when he died. To the French he is known primarily as a poet and dramatist. The early part of Musset's life was a brilliant success. barely thirty people followed his body to Pere Lachaise cemetery. . especially in his poetry. He was brought up in an atmosphere of literary culture. but of perverse moods. and all have the lively charm that goes with the chronicle of young love. especially by women.

son of a goldsmith. equally fascinating whether his scene is laid in remote times or in the Paris of his own day. is a story of Havre during the reign of Louis XV. and his having turned out satisfactorily. though he had a rather large sum of money in his pocket. a young man named Croisilles. He was a good-tempered fellow. his hat under his arm. His doublet buttoned awry. Croisilles (1839). and not without wit. for. he traveled on foot for pleasure. supping at wayside inns. by He had his father with the transaction of been intrusted some business. and tried hard to turn out a madrigal for a certain fair damsel of his native place. selected for this volume. Mademoiselle Godeau. the joy of bringing good news caused him to walk the sixty leagues more gaily and briskly than was his wont. but so very thoughtless and flighty that people looked upon him as being rather weakminded.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 150 He is Musset's genius cared little for time or place. by Brentano's. Plundering the apple-trees of Normandy on his way. a rich heiress. his native town. at times finding enjoyment in his own thoughts and again indulging in snatches of song. up at daybreak. the pearl of Havre. and always charmed with this stroll of his through one of the most beautiful regions of France. CROISILLES* By ALFRED DE MUSSBT I At the beginning of the reign of Louis XV. he followed the banks of the Seine. he puzzled his brain to find rhymes (for all these rattlepates are more or less poets). his periwig flying to the wind. She was no less than a daughter of a fermicr-general. . and much trip to the great city •Copyright. was returning from Paris to Havre. 1888.

the neighbor turned away. and had fled to America. embarked with a satisfied heart. having reached Honfleur. and. Croisilles was not received 161 at M. He certainly was not the man to allow the son of a goldsmith to enter his drawing-room. He found the shop closed. and as nothing can prevent a fine fellow from falling in love with a pretty girl. name ill-fitted his immense fortune. but nobody came. Not realizing as yet the extent of his misfortune. Croisilles repeated his questions. that is other- to say. So Croisilles. but. instead of thinking of the invincible obstacles which separated him from his lady-love. and Croisilles was not ill-favored. whose somewhat vulgar surat his father's. as though not wishing to recognize him. Croisilles adored Mademoiselle Godeau. as he had never reflected seriously upon anything. He went He called his to a neighbor's to ask it was not a father. abandoning to his creditors all that he possessed. he learned that his father. and as soon as he jumped ashore ran to the paternal house. Croisilles . of replying. but in vain. his money and his madrigal in his pocket. Mademoiselle Godeau was called Julie. Thus was he thinking of her as he turned his steps toward Havre. who did not seem vexed thereat. avenged himself by his arrogance for the stigma of his birth. had just become bankrupt. for holiday. and knocked again and again. and showed himself on all occasions enormously and pitilessly rich.CROISILLES courted. as Mademoiselle Godeau had the most beautiful eyes in the world. Godeau's wise than in a casual sort of way. and the rhyme was found easily enough. he busied himself only with finding a rhyme for the Christian name she bore. not without astonishment and apprehension. his affairs having long been in an embarrassed condition. he had sometimes himself taken there articles of jewelry purchased M. Godeau. what had happened instead .

then and there. "but indeed not without saying good-bye to you. Alone. who had served his family for a number of years. no means of rescue and. he was advancing to the edge of a high cliff. began to weep piteously. he walked straight before him like a man in a trance. had left for his son nothing but a few commonplace words of consolation. turned his steps towards the harbor. On reaching the pier. he felt tempted to drown himself. deaf to the consolations of those around him. though he knew him to be already far away. Honorable until then. who knows neither where he is going. ruined by an unforeseen disaster (the bankruptcy of a partner). but it contained only a few words. and giving way to his grief. possessing no longer a shelter. kissed it rapturously. .FRENCH SHORT STORIES 162 overwhelmed by the thought that he might never again It seemed to him incredible that he should be thus suddenly abandoned he tried to force an entrance into the store but was given to understand that the official seals had been affixed. which he gave to his young master. before opening the letter. . in the most profound despair. an old servant named Jean. Instead of feeling his trouble softened. the old gentleman. yielding to this thought. except. and. "Ah my poor Jean ! happened since I !" he exclaimed. Croisilles recognized the handwriting of his father. He saw himself irretrievably lost. without farewell?" "He is gone. of course. nor what is to become of him. At last he rose. and. and no hope." answered Jean. wandering on the seashore. . "you went away- Is it know all possible that that has my father could leave us without warning. ashamed at seeing a crowd about him. Just at the moment when. arrived on the scene.." At the same time he drew from his pocket a letter. never ceasing to call his father's name. so he sat down on a stone. felt see his father. and known as such. no longer any friends. it seemed to the young man still harder to bear.

my father is gone. Neither do I doubt his affection. not seeming to have understood." answered Croisilles. I will throw myself into the same . "What can you do?" for I am lost. 2. as he made his fortune. Within the last few days. during the thirty years that I served him I have seen him working. my friend. not before you nor at once. pointing to a drawer where but six francs 2 remained 'There were a hundred thousand francs there this morning!' That does not look like a rascally failure." "I have no more doubt of my father's integrity. if I had it. that vague hope without aim or reason. I was still there. but some day I will do it. the crown-pieces x . Your father was dedo. "and you who loves me at all it are today the only being certainly a very sweet thing to me. when he had read the letter. either. which constitutes^ it is said. sir. and as fast as the crowns came in. and it was no small amount. and skillful they took a cruel advantage of him. franc is worth twenty cents. sir? There is nothing in it that can dishonor you. I have not the necessary cleverness to build up my fortune. but holding fast to the skirt of Croisilles' coat. Your father paid all he could. And.CROISILLES 163 perhaps. . business. A . attending to his "What can you ceived . as sure as my father embarked there. But I wish I could have kissed him. It took him thirty years. > 1. but a very sad one for you for. the last possession one loses. for what is to become of me ? I am not accustomed to poverty.12. "than I have of his misfortune. Obsolete French coins worth $1." replied Jean. coming in one by one. Could he stay here? I have seen him. for a whole day. sea which is bearing him away. is . "Jean. I saw them go out of the shop again. and. my dear master? he was expecting money which did not come. when his desk was empty he could not help telling me. He was an honorable man. you carried me in your arms/' said Croisilles.

It would be neither brave nor Christian for. — . streets and the sea was no longer so near "It seems to me. like a man." find him . If you had been here. nobody is secure from bankruptcy. and thus When they had entered the both returned to the town. "that a good man has a right to live and that a misfortune proves nothing. has borne himself. I can j oin much Utterly distressed as Croisilles was. all. and I cannot even go and him only by dying." said Jean. it would have given you courage. and all the town knows it is so. thank God. nothing is in such a case? — Your father was not born rich. after What would you do impossible to God. but your father. sir. far from it. what would they think of you? That you felt unable to endure poverty. I accompanied him to the wharf. Although religious feeling. Every one has his time of trial in this world. how can you think of dying? Since there is no dishonor in his case. At the first words of this interview. though he did leave us so hastily. he had taken hold of old Jean's arm. what is there to frighten you? There are plenty of people born poor. through it all. But what could he do? It is not every day that a vessel starts for America. Since your father has not killed himself. and who have never had either mother or father to help them on.nd will he be living then? longer. and if you had seen how sad he was How he charged me to take care of you to send him news from you Sir. that throwing the helve after the hatchet. I know that we are not all alike. meaning no perhaps what consoles him now. I make bold to say. it is a right poor idea you have. he possessed despondency made him wish for death. Yes. I suf- offense — and that is ! ! . at the very worst. Certainly not. he will die over there.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 164 how long would me take it Much to repair this disaster? ^. sir. he hesitated to take his life. and I was a soldier before I was a servant. this last month. his . a man may be ruined. but.

and without explanation. CroisThis meeting produced on him more illes saw her enter it. and. It is always easy to go out of this world. we what was invariably imagine enormous corpulence. you will come out all right. or three years. called a "financier" in times gone by. the daughter of the fermier-general. happened to pass with her governess. but also upon — the work of others. Without hesitating an instant. and a broad and it is not without reason that face with a triple chin. not only upon their own laziness. just wait two right. and. was looking this way and that as though seeking for something which might bind him to life. it II When we try to picture to ourselves. and nearly always yielded to the first impulse. and crossing the street. Why will you seize an unlucky moment?" While Jean was thus exerting himself to persuade his master. as those who suffer often do. I have said that he was rather erratic. nowadays. he suddenly left the arm of his old servant. I was of your seemed to me that Providence could not have spoken His last word to a young man of twenty-five. knocked at Monsieur Godeau's door. I would say. Mademoiselle Godeau. Everyone knows to what great abuses the royal taxf arming led. The mansion in which she lived was not far distant. As chance would have it. and it seems as though there were a law of nature which renders fatter than the rest of mankind those who fatten. fered severely at the time. we have become accustomed to form such a picture of such a personage. effect than all the reasonings in the world.CROISILLES 165 I was young. but age. and I will answer for it. and all will come that has befallen you? If I might advise you. sir. the latter walked in silence. at this juncture. . a gigantic wig. short legs. Why do you wish to prevent the kind God from repairing the evil Give Him time.

$4. The panel-mirrors which surrounded him.00. The bankruptcy of a partner has forced him to suspend his payments. on leaving . . expressed himself in these terms "Sir. the doors. The young lady seated herself on a sofa. the wainscot. The young man entered with an humble. 4. the locks. standing. —that financiers. among was one of the most At the present time he had the gout. he was coddling himself in the coziest corner of a dainty boudoir. remaining classical to be found. which was nearly as fashionable in his day as the nervous headache is in ours. He was calculating the issue of a little business affair which could not fail to bring him a few thousand louis 3 and was even deigning to smile over it to himself when Croisilles was announced. and unable to witness his own shamed he has fled to America. and with every outward manifestation of that inward tumult with which we find no difficulty in crediting a man who is longing to drown himself.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 166 Monsieur Godeau. after having paid his last sou 4 to his creditors. . absolutely without resources. I was absent when all this have just come back and have known of these to die. his eves half-closed. the furniture. I am events only two hours. one of the fattest. the ceiling were gilded so was his coat. but resolute air. is to say. I and determined It is 3. my father has failed. He made a sign to Croisilles not to sit down but to speak. . I do not know but that his brain was gilded too. majestically duplicated on every side his enormous person bags filled with gold covered the table. around him. Stretched upon a lounge. happened. and was confirmed in that thought by seeing her appear almost at the same time with the young man. A gold coin worth One cent. Monsieur Godeau was a little surprised at this unexpected visit then he thought his daughter had been buying some trifle. and Croisilles. the mantel-piece. very probable that.

she retired. in declaring my passion to you. Mademoiselle Godeau had blushed as a peach in the month of August. and so he prudently threw his handkerchief over the bags that were lying around him. but today. He merely told his daughter to retire. the fermier-general took pity on so inoffensive a case of insanity. the young man making her a profound bow. While Croisilles was speaking. I for her. I fulfill an imperative duty. sir. Monsieur Godeau had supposed that the young man came to borrow money. have him put out but. proves better than anything else the respect I feel your house. sir. and when a good Christian sees himself come to such a point of misery that he can no longer suffer life. at the very moment. this young lady. I have not the slightest hope that you will grant this request. and understood the purport of his visit. your daughter. I did not come to ask you Mademoiselle Julie in marriage. to extenuate his crime." At the beginning of this speech. before giving myself over to death. preparing in advance a refusal. for he always felt some good-will toward the father of Croisilles. he never doubted one moment but that the poor fellow had gone comHe was at first tempted to ring the bell and pletely mad. which she did not seem to notice. But when he had heard the young man to the end. he must at least. In all would already have done so. his determined look. noticing his firm demeanor. nevertheless. so that she might be no longer exposed to hearing such impro. prieties. Left alone with . exhaust all the chances which remain to him before taking the final and fatal step. for I am a good Christian. from the very depths of my heart for two years I have been in love with her. and I would think I was offending God. if. I love her. until now. if I had not chanced to meet. and my silence. but I have to make it. At her father's bidding.CROISILLES 167 shall throw myself into the water. I probability. and a polite one.

I wish you every good fortune. It is indeed very sad. I wish to do something for you. whoever he may be. at least I think so.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 168 Croisilles. — . I am sorry that your poor devil of a father has become bankrupt and has skipped." "And where are you going?" "To write to my father and say good-bye to him. but you have really lost your head. You do not know what you are saying. friend. one must reflect upon the well. sir. He therefore coughed once more. and. and continued "It is evident that you are nothing but a simpleton. and listen to me. so take this stool and sit down there. I have nothing left but to take my leave." "Yes. as I see you do. "If you refuse me. good If you came to ask me things of this world." answered Croisilles. all that is But." Monsieur Godeau had just made a very wise reflection. I tell ! How can you be such you. threw himself into the water on leaving your house. cast a careless glance upon his shirtfrill. ! Fie on you sir. if my courage does not for- sake me. and I quite understand that such a misfortune should affect your brain. which was that it is never agreeable to have it said that a man. I'll be damned if I don't think you are going to ! ! drown yourself." "That's a bright idea a fool? Sit down. then dropped again upon the cushions. sir. Monsieur Godeau coughed. a fool. I not only excuse this proceeding." "It is useless. took his snuff-box." "Eh the devil Any one would swear you were speaking the truth. are ruined. "I am willing to believe that you are not poking fun at me. but I consent not to punish you for it. my You dear not enough. trying to assume a paternal air. Besides. delivered himself to the following effect "My boy. a regular baby. that's what has happened to you." said he. rose.

sir. sir." "You are very impertinent." "Your name is Croisilles. unless it is to be as ! rich as she. have you seen my daughter?" "In my father's shop." "Indeed. do not be angry. I had not the least idea of offending you. I am completely ignorant of it." "Who told you her name was Julie ? What are we coming to. for instance. it seems to me to be as good a name as Godeau. and you shall rue it. sir. which could prevent me from dying." no business of yours. Answer me first: where or not. sir. my boy name." "Well! my name is Croisilles. when I brought jewelry for Mademoiselle Julie. if you believe in God. in order to avoid all scandal. Godeau had promised himself to send Croisilles his away as gently as possible.CROISILLES 169 — advice. prudence could not resist the vexation of his wounded . I might give it to you. and wish to punish me for it. as I do not doubt you do. you must have a Do you call that a name?" "Upon my soul and conscience. and in this house. but what is it you are after ? You are in love with my daughter ?" "Yes. you . there is no need to get angry. understand the reason that brings will "Whether I believe in God me here. great heavens But be her name Julie or Javotte." "Something more is necessary. poor wretch ! . that I am far from supposing that you can give her to me in marriage but as there is nothing in the world but that. do you know what is wanted in any one who aspires to the hand of the daughter of a fermier-general?" "No. and I repeat to you. Have I not told you that on leaving here I am going straight to drown myself?" Although M. If you see in what I said anything to wound you. is I do not intend to be questioned.

during this time. instead of going to her room. What is this frenzy that brings you here? You come to worry me. has never passed as an insult. and resumed his left the his conscience at rest by the meditations. it is true. . I your money. and the financier. . ." "One moment! It shall not be said that you had recourse There. withdrawn in obedience to her father. since the world has existed. Have you any right to complain of me? Do I owe a sou to your father ? Is it my fault that you have come When a man is going to drown himself. and determined to close the matter at any cost. my boy. you know perfectly well that it is useless you wish to make me responsible for your death. "You are not such a fool that you cannot understand a word of common sense. to this ? Mon Dieu he keeps quiet about it "That is what I am going to do now. still she found nothing to offend her in it for love. what he felt at hearing himself spoken to in such terms. "Listen/' he said. and let me hear no more to me in vain. as it was not possible to doubt the despair of the young man. . but." So Croisilles am not hungry. here are three louis d'or go and have dinner in the kitchen. and I have no use for room. she had remained listening behind the door. Mademoiselle Godeau. ! — humble servant. about you. almost beside himself. was not so far as one might suppose. you think you are doing something clever. away . Are you noble? Still less so. she had. Are you rich? No. On the other hand. settled himself more comfortably in his chair. I am your very pride. having set offer he had just made." "Much obliged. If the extravagance of Croisilles seemed incredible to her.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 170 The interview to which he had to resign himself was monstrous enough in itself it may be imagined then.

" replied Jean. alone again. not knowing what to think of his adventure. Ill Scarcely had he taken a few step in the street. and the two young people came slowly towards each other. I have been running about for . and Croisilles ready to come out. When she saw the interview at an end. He at once bent down and picked up the bouquet in order to give it back to her. . and Mademoiselle Godeau vainly sought words to express her feelings. she passed on without uttering a word. she walked to meet him the drawing-room was large. she let fall on the floor a bunch of violets which she held in her hand. and you have not lost everything. . and hurried towards her apartment but she almost immediately retraced her steps. and left the house with a troubled same time. heart. Croisilles. "I have to tell you that the seals have been officially broken and that you can enter your home. Croisilles was as pale as death. The idea that perhaps Croisilles was really going to put an end to his life troubled her in spite of herself. Scarcely aware of what she was doing. she rapidly crossed the drawing-room where she stood. and entered her father's room.CROISILLES 171 Mademoiselle Godeau found herself a victim. In passing beside him. you remain the owner of the house. not wishing to be surprised eavesdropping. but instead of taking it. "have you news me?" to tell "Yes. It is true that all the money and all the jewels have been taken away but at least the house belongs to you. "What has happened?" he asked. at one and the to the two sentiments most dangerous to women compassion and curiosity. when he saw his faithful friend Jean running towards him with a joyful face. . All your father's debts being paid. put the flowers in his breast.

172

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

an hour, not knowing what had become of you^ and I hope,
dear master, that you will now be wise enough to take a

my

reasonable course."

"What

course do you wish

"Sell this house,

me

sir, it is all

to take?"
your fortune.

With

It will

bring you

you will
and what is to prevent you from buying a
little stock in trade, and starting business for yourself ?
You
would surely prosper."
"We shall see about this," answered Croisilles, as he hurried to the street where his home was. He was eager to see
the paternal roof again. But when he arrived there so sad
a spectacle met his gaze, that he had scarcely the courage to
enter.
The shop was in utter disorder, the rooms deserted,
his father's alcove empty. Everything presented to his eyes
the wretchedness of utter ruin. Not a chair remained; all
the drawers had been ransacked, the till broken open, the
chest taken away nothing had escaped the greedy search of
creditors and lawyers who, after having pillaged the house,
had gone, leaving the doors open, as though to testify to all
passers-by how neatly their work was done.
about thirty thousand francs.

not die of hunger

that at any rate

;

;

;

"This, then," exclaimed Croisilles, "is
after thirty years of

all

work and a respectable

that remains
life,

—and

all

through the failure to have ready, on a given day, money
enough to honor a signature imprudently given !"
While the young man walked up and down given over to
the saddest thoughts, Jean seemed very much embarrassed.
He supposed that his master was without ready money, and
that he might perhaps not even have dined. He was therefore trying to think of some way to question him on the
subject, and to offer him, in case of need, some part of his
savings.
After having tortured his mind for a quarter of
an hour to try and hit upon some way of leading up to the
subject, he could find nothing better than to come np to Crois-

CROISILLES
illes,

173

and ask him, in a kindly voice
you still like roast partridges?"

"Sir, do

The poor man

uttered this question in a tone at once so

comical and so touching, that Croisilles, in spite of his sadness, could not refrain

from laughing.

"And why do you ask me that?"

"My

said he.

me some for dinner,
by chance you still liked them
Croisilles had completely forgotten till now the money
which he was bringing back to his father. Jean's proposal
reminded him that his pockets were full of gold.
"I thank you with all my heart," said he to the old man,
"and I accept your dinner with pleasure; but, if you are
I have more
anxious about my fortune, be reassured.
money than I need to have a good supper this evening, which
you, in your turn, will share with me."
Saying this, he laid upon the mantel four well-filled
purses, which he emptied, each containing fifty louis.
"Although this sum does not belong to me," he added, "I
can use it for a day or two. To whom must I go to have it
forwarded to my father?"
sir,

wife," replied Jean, "is cooking

and

if

replied

"Sir,"

charged
if I

me

to tell

Jean,

affairs in

"your

father

especially

money belongs to you, and,
it before, it was because I did not know
Paris had turned out. Where he has

you that

did not speak of

how your

eagerly,

this

gone your father will want for nothing; he will lodge with
one of your correspondents, who will receive him most gladly
he has moreover taken with him enough for his immediate
needs, for he was quite sure of still leaving behind more than
was necessary to pay all his just debts. All that he has left,
sir, is yours he says so himself in his letter, and I am especially charged to repeat it to you.
That gold is, therefore,
legitimately your property, as this house in which we are
now. I can repeat to you the very words your father said
;

;

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

174

me on embarking: 'May my son forgive me for leaving
him may he remember that I am still in the world only to
love him, and let him use what remains after my debts are
paid as though it were his inheritance.' Those, sir, are his
to

;

own

expressions

you accept

my

;

so put this

back

in

your pocket, and, since

dinner, pray let us go home."

The honest joy which shone in Jean's eyes, left no doubt
mind of Croisilles. The words of his father had moved

in the

him

to such a point that he could not restrain his tears

;

on

the other hand, at such a moment, four thousand francs were

no bagatelle. As to the house, it was not an available resource, for one could realize on it only by selling it, and that
was both difficult and slow. All this, however, could not but
make a considerable change in the situation the young man
found himself in; so he felt suddenly moved shaken in his

dismal resolution, and, so to speak, both sad and, at the same
time, relieved of much of his distress. After having closed
the shutters of the shop, he left the house with Jean, and as

he once more crossed the town, could not help thinking how
small a thing our affections are, since they sometimes serve
to make us find an unforeseen joy in the faintest ray of hope.
It was with this thought that he sat down to dinner beside
his old servant, who did not fail, during the repast, to make
every effort to cheer him.
Heedless people have a happy fault.

They

are easily cast

down, but they have not even the trouble to console themselves, so changeable is their mind.
It would be a mistake
to think them, on that account, insensible or selfish; on the
contrary they perhaps feel more keenly than others and are
but too prone to blow their brains out in a moment of despair;
but, this moment once passed, if they are still alive, they must
dine, they must eat, they must drink, as usual only to melt
into tears again, at bed-time. Joy and pain do not glide over
them but pierce them through like arrows. Kind, hot-headed
;

CROISILLES

*

175

know how to suifer, but not how to lie, through
which one can clearly read, not fragile and empty like
glass, but solid and transparent like rock crystal.
After having clinked glasses with Jean, Croisilles, instead
of drowning himself, went to the play. Standing at the back
of the pit, he drew from his bosom Mademoiselle Godeau's
bouquet, and, as he breathed the perfume in deep meditation,
he began to think in a calmer spirit about his adventure of
the morning. As soon as he had pondered over it for awhile,
natures which

he saw clearly the truth that is to say, that the young lady,
in leaving the bouquet in his hands, and in refusing to take
it back, had wished to give him a mark of interest; for other;

wise this refusal and this silence could only have been marks
of contempt, and such a supposition
illes,

was not

Crois-.

possible.

therefore, judged that Mademoiselle Godeau's heart

was of a

and he remembered

softer grain than her father's

distinctly that the

young

lady's face,

when she

crossed the

drawing-room, had expressed an emotion the more true that
it seemed involuntary.
But was this emotion one of love, or
only of sympathy? Or was it perhaps something of still less
importance, mere commonplace pity? Had Mademoiselle
Godeau feared to see him die him, Croisilles or mereh' to
be the cause of the death of a man, no matter what man?
Although withered and almost leafless, the bouquet still retained so exquisite an odor and so brave a look, that in
breathing it and looking at it, Croisilles could not help hoping. It was a thin garland of roses round a bunch of violets.
What mysterious depths of sentiment an Oriental might have
read in these flowers, by interpreting their language
But
after all, he need not be an Oriental in this case. The flowers
which fall from the breast of a pretty woman, in Europe, as
in the East, are never mute were they but to tell what they
have seen while reposing in that lovely bosom, it would be
enough for a lover, and this, in fact, they do. Perfumes have

.

-

!

;

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

176

more than one resemblance

who

to love,

and there are even people

think love to be but a sort of perfume;

flowers which exhale

it

it is

true the

are the most beautiful in creation.

mused thus, paying very little attention
was being acted at the time, Mademoiselle
Godeau herself appeared in a box opposite.
The idea did not occur to the young man that, if she should
notice him, she might think it very strange to find the wouldbe suicide there after what had transpired in the morning.
He, on the contrary, bent all his efforts towards getting
While

Croisilles

to the tragedy that

nearer to her; but he could not succeed.

A

fifth-rate actress

Merope, 5 and the crowd was so
dense that one could not move. For lack of anything better,
Croisilles had to content himself with fixing his gaze upon his
lady-love, not lifting his eyes from her for a moment. He
noticed that she seemed pre-occupied and moody, and that
from Paris had come

to play

she spoke to every one with a sort of repugnance. Her box
as may be imagined, by all the fops of the

was surrounded,

neighborhood, each of

whom

passed several times before her
which her

in the gallery, totally unable to enter the box, of

father filled more than three-fourths.
ther that she

Croisilles noticed fur-

was not using her opera-glasses, nor was she

Her elbows resting on the balustrade,
her chin in her hand, with her far-away look, she seemed, in

listening to the play.

all her sumptuous apparel, like some statue of Venus disguised en marquise. The display of her dress and her hair,
her rouge, beneath which one could guess her paleness, all
the splendor of her toilet, did but the more distinctly bring

Never had Croisilles
Having found means, between the acts,

out the immobility of her countenance.

seen her so beautiful.
to escape

from the crush, he hurried

off to

look at her from

the passage leading to her box, and, strange to say, scarcely

had he reached
5.

A

it,

when Mademoiselle Godeau. who had not

play by Voltaire.

CROISILLES

171

She started slightly
him and only cast a glance at him; then she
resumed her former attitude. Whether that glance expressed
surprise, anxiety, pleasure, or love; whether it meant "What,
There you are, living !"
not dead !" or "God be praised
do not pretend to explain. Be that as it may; at that glance,
stirred for the last hour, turned round.

as she noticed

!

Croisilles

inwardly swore to himself to die or gain her

love.

IV

Of all

the obstacles which hinder the smooth course of

love, the greatest

shame, which

is,

without doubt, what

is

called false

indeed a very potent obstacle.
Croisilles was not troubled with this unhappy failing,
which both pride and timidity combine to produce; he was
not one of those who, for whole months, hover round the
woman they love, like a cat round a caged bird. As soon as
he had given up the idea of drowning himself, he thought
only of letting his dear Julie know that he lived solely for
her. But how could he tell her so ? Should he present himis

self a second time at the

was but too
Julie,

when

her maid

To

;

it

certain that

mansion of the fermier-general,

M. Godeau would have him

it

ejected.

she happened to take a walk, never went without

was therefore

useless to undertake to follow her.

pass the nights under the windows of one's beloved

is

a

would certainly prove vain.
I said before that Croisilles was very
religious it therefore never entered his mind to seek to meet
his lady-love at church.
As the best way, though the most
dangerous, is to write to people when one cannot speak to
them in person, he decided on the very next day to write to
the young lady.
His letter possessed, naturally, neither order nor reason.
It read somewhat as follows
folly dear to lovers, but, in the present case,

;

it

that you looked at me at the play. Chance. and I dare ask you to tell me so. but I love you. Having sealed his letter. Croisilles went out and walked up and down the street opposite the Godeau mansion. and to see you listening to my love with that angel smile which belongs only to you. which always serves mysterious loves. when I who suffer so cruelly. last evening. that you are a little to blame for this. commanded me to live. would to God I were indeed dead. waiting for a servant to come out. that it is impossible for me not to ask it. but I love you so desperately. I will cherish hope. as long as a word will tell of love. which will perhaps bring down your anger upon me. I beseech you. . beautiful. But think also. nevertheless. Tell me exactly. "Whatever you may do. I am asking you a strange question. what fortune one must possess to be able to pretend to your hand. I would give my life's blood to be sure of not offending you. in my place. I beg of you." to be . You Your father is arrogant and are rich. Tell me if Fate can be so cruel as to let a man deceive himself in I believe that you a manner at once so sad and so sweet. mademoiselle. As long as your look lives in my remembrance. an inexpressible joy in writing you this mad letter.178 FRENCH SHORT STORIES — "Mademoiselle. as long as the bouquet keeps a trace of its perfume. and you are the only person in the world to whom I can address it. if possible. I had wished to die . Fix your charming eyes on me think of what love can do. Forgive me. and you have a right proud. I know it. when it can do so without compromising itself. your image remains mine. I dare think that you love me. who must stand in fear of everything. and if that look was not meant for me. my folly. feel. you can remove it only by tearing out my heart. miserly. Why did you drop that bouquet? Put yourself for an instant. if I am mistaken. and the rest is a dream. It seemed to me.

when . in full up and down. Croisilles. nothing can describe the last look which she cast at her mirror before leaving the room. not seeming to hear the conversation going on around her. proposed to make her some present of her own choice. a spoilt child. she took an hour to decide. and asked her to take charge of his letter. but her good nature was ever uppermost. When her father. Godeau gave a reception or a dinner. her fan in her hand. she turned away her head. She was going to the milliner's when Croisilles accosted her. A wrinkle in her collarette. a word must be said about Mademoiselle Godeau. She was not quite free from the vanity of her father. dress. The play wearied her. she was prodigiously coquettish. and her own face was surely what she thought most of on earth. in the full meaning of the term. went home and sat at his door awaiting an answer. . If a compliment was addressed to her. would have distressed her and. and at such times she passed the evening alone in her own room. She showed neither taste nor aversion for the pleasures in which young ladies usually delight. an ink-spot on her finger. it often happened that Julie would not appear in the drawing-room. When M. Before speaking of this answer. full of joy. walking . sometimes without motive. She habitually spoke very little. and her evenings on the sofa. the servant took the money to pay for her cap and promised to do the errand out of gratitude. who worshiped her. The bargain was soon struck. not being able to think of anything she cared for. As regards her dress.CROISILLES 179 willed it that Mademoiselle Julie's maid should have arranged to purchase a cap on that day. her dress pleased her. She went to balls willingly enough. slipped a louis into her hand. She was. and renounced going to them without a show of temper. and never was she seen with a needle in her hand she spent her days at her toilet. and she was in the constant habit of falling asleep there.

moved her indeed. . vain.« FRENCH SHORT STORIES 180 and if any one attempted to pay court to her. she would have thought herself guilty of sacrilege. and she disdained to stake it piece by piece she needed an adversary worthy of herself but. and in smiling. inflexible. She was convinced of this. Had she said what was really behind her thoughts. never had her heart given a sign of life. secret. From the age of ceaselessly repeated that nothing was so charming as she. in simpering. she did not seek that adversary. accustomed to see her wishes anticipated. The coquetry of ordinary women. like a child in its holiday dress but she was very far from thinking that her beauty was to remain useless. she certainly would have replied to her . She walked. Some said she loved nothing. to explain her character. She felt herself in possession of a treasure. others that she loved nothing but herself. a flight of tragedy. her furbelows. walking through the world as in a trance. . suffices —she was it waiting. For the four or five years that she had been out in society and had conscientiously dis- played her flowers. Beneath her apparent unconcern she had a will. it seemed to her inconceivable that she had not yet inspired some great passion. so to speak. and the more potent the better it was concealed. almost contemptible way of fighting with shadows. and her beautiful shoulders. on seeing her pass in all the splendor of her nonchalant loveliness one might have taken her for a beautiful somnambulist. Never had a sally made her laugh never had an air in an opera. too . So much indifference and coquetry did not seem easy to understand. it may even be said that she felt astonished at his failing to present himself. in her beauty. and. she responded only by a look at once so dazzling and so serious as to disconcert even the boldest. fourteen she had heard A single word. and that was why she paid so much attention to dress. which spends itself in ogling. however. seemed to her a childish. In failing to do honor to her own person.

to look at herself in her mirror and see herself charmingty dressed. — . and never a look of humbly sincere adoration meets mine. and all this helps me to nothing but to go and yawn in the corner of some drawing-room! If a young man speaks to me he treats me as a child if I am asked in marriage.CROISILLES 181 many flatterers: "Well! if it is true that I am so beautiful. and which more than one who says nothing hides away in a corner of her heart. my coiffure is irreproachable. she was in just such a fit of ill-humor. more tantalizing for a woman than to be young. and there were hours when that thought inspired her with so gloomy a feeling that she remained mute and almost motionless for a whole day. . it is sure to be some provincial fop. My gown is by the best maker. When Croisilles wrote her. my face the most beautiful on earth. Still I have an ardent soul full of life. to be dressed by a maid in the morning and undressed at night beginning the whole thing over again the next day. She had just been taking her chocolate and was deep in meditation. What is there. I excite a murmur of admiration but nobody speaks low. in the world. I hear impertinent men praising me in loud tones. beautiful. fully disposed to allow herself to be have to say to herself: "I am admired. I am me charming. only a pretty doll to be shown about. to be made to dance at a ball. when her maid entered and handed loved. worthy in every way to please. as soon as I appear anywhere. rich. my laces are superb. a couple of feet away. all the world thinks . in my ear. it is for my dowry if somebody presses my hand in a dance." That is what Mademoiselle Godeau had many times said to herself . my foot prettily turned. and I am not. by any means. . indeed. why do you not blow your brains out for me?" An answer which many other young girls might make. stretched upon a lounge. and to praised. my figure slender. a word that makes my heart beat. but nobody loves me. not far perhaps from the tip of her tongue.

might be worth about thirty thousand which. He possessed two hundred louis in cash.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 182 She looked at the her the letter with a mysterious air. as francs. What was to be done? How was he to go about transfiguring these thirty-four thousand francs. address. If you had only a hundred thousand crowns. and lie dreamed from that moment of nothing but trying to secure key's hoof-print. who gave her another louis for her*trouble. and not recognizing the handwriting. while dreaming what he would do with the money ." Such was the reply which the maid at once took to Crois- the letter. week went by. stating that his house was for sale then. He thought neither. then another. but for that he must sell the house. hundred thousand. which she did with a rather disconcerted air. not being at all sure how the 3^oung lady would take the matter. I assure you I am not proud. The first idea which came mind of the young man was to find some way of into three into the staking his whole fortune on the toss-up of a coin. at a jump. Mademoiselle Godeau listened without moving. plus a house I have said. and that he must have a hundred thousand crowns. he awaited a purchaser. not a single purchaser . a sheet of paper. I would willingly marry you. fell again to musing." and if Croisilles chem. that he would get for A it. illes. for he only saw in it that his darling Julie loved him. Croisilles therefore began by putting a notice upon the door. sir. The maid then saw herself forced to explain what was. V A hundred thousand crowns are not found "in a don- had been suspicious he might have thought in reading Mademoiselle Godeau's letter that she was either crazy or laughing at him. then opened it and cast only a glance at it she at once asked for and nonchalantly wrote these few words "No. .

had not yet been invented. he bowed to Croisilles and retired. . determined to tempt fortune with this sum. Croisilles one morning took his two hundred louis and went out.CROISILLES applied. after having thoroughly examined everything. brought moral pressure to bear to dissuade his master from selling his house in so hasty a manner and for so ex- The Jew visited all the rooms.ejs in their locks. since he could not have more. Croisilles spent these days with Jean. without saying a word and without making the slightest proposal. counting the steps of the staircase. as may be imagined. The gaming-houses at that time were not public. and that refinement of civilization which enables the first comer to ruin himself at all hours. sir. not daring to go out for fear of missing his visit. and love. Jewish broker rang at the door. my father say so. Croisilles. the Jew did not reappear. true to his unpleasant role of adviser. is it not? Are you the owner of it?" "Yes. turning the doors on their hinges and the h. He waited a week for him. Jean. Dying of impatience. at least I have heard went upstairs and down knocking on the walls. opening and closing the windows then. "This house is for sale. and looking out of the windows from morning till night. was not a little disappointed at this silent retreat. at last. who for a whole hour had followed him with a palpitating heart. ennui. More and more 183 distressed. sir." "And how much is it worth?" "Thirty thousand francs. travagant a purpose. into the cellar. and despair was taking possession of him once more. But it was in vain. as soon as the wish enters his mind. . when a." I believe. He thought that perhaps the Jew wished to give himself time to reflect and that he would return presently.

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

184
Scarcely was
knowing where

Croisilles in the street before he stopped, not
to

go to stake his money.

He

looked at the

houses of the neighborhood, and eyed them, one after the
other, striving to discover suspicious appearances that

might point out to him the object of his search. A goodlooking young man, splendidly dressed, happened to pass.
Judging from his mien, he was certainly a young man of
gentle blood and ample leisure, so Croisilles politely accosted him.
"Sir," he said, "I beg your pardon for the liberty I take.
have two hundred louis in my pocket and I am dying either
Could you point out to me some
to lose them or win more.
respectable place where such things are done?"
At this rather strange speech the young man burst out
I

laughing.

"Upon my word, sir!" answered he, "if you are seeking
any such wicked place you have but to follow me, for that is
just where I am going."
Croisilles followed him, and a few steps farther they both
entered a house of very attractive appearance, where they
were received hospitably by an old gentleman of the highest
breeding. Several young men were already seated round a
green cloth. Croisilles modestly took a place there, and in
less than an hour his two hundred louis were gone.
He came out as sad as a lover can be who thinks himself
beloved. He had not enough to dine with, but that did not
cause him any anxiety.
"What can I do now," he asked himself, "to get money?
To whom shall I address myself in this town? Who will
lend me even a hundred louis on this house that I can not
sell?"

While he was

He

in this

quandary, he met

his

Jewish broker.

did not hesitate to address him, and, featherhead as he

was, did not

fail to tell

him the plight he was

in.

CROISILLES
The Jew did not much want
come

to see it only

to

185

buy the house; he had
or, to speak more ex-

through curiosity,

actly, for the satisfaction of his

own

conscience, as a passing

which stands open, to see
But when he saw Croisilles so
if there is nothing to steal.
despondent, so sad, so bereft of all resources, he could not
resist the temptation to put himself to some inconvenience,
He therefore offered
even, in order to pay for the house.
him about one-fourth of its value. Croisilles fell upon his
neck, called him his friend and savior, blindly signed a bargain that would have made one's hair stand on end, and, on
the very next day, the possessor of four hundred new louis,
he once more turned his steps toward the gambling-house
where he had been so politely and speedily ruined the night
dog goes

into a kitchen, the door of

before.

On

his

way, he passed by the wharf.

A

vessel

was about

leaving; the wind was gentle, the ocean tranquil.

On

all

merchants, sailors, officers in uniform were coming and
going. Porters were carrying enormous bales of merchansides,

Passengers and their friends were exchanging farewere rowing about in all directions; on
every face could be read fear, impatience, or hope; and,
amidst all the agitation which surrounded it, the majestic
vessel swayed gently to and fro under the wind that swelled
her proud sails.
"What a grand thing it is," thought Croisilles, "to risk all
one possesses and go beyond the sea, in perilous search of
fortune
How it fills me with emotion to look at this vessel
setting out on her voyage, loaded with so much wealth, with
the welfare of so many families
What j oy to see her come
back again, bringing twice as much as was intrusted to her,
returning so much prouder and richer than she went away
Why am I not one of those merchants? Why could I not
stake my four hundred louis in this way ? This immense sea

dise.

wells, small boats

!

!

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

186

What

a green cloth, on

should

which

to boldly

tempt fortune

!

not myself buy a few bales of cloth or silk ?

I

my

Why
What

W

r

have gold?
hy should
charge of my merchandise ? And
who knows ? Instead of going and throwing away this my
little all
in a gambling-house, I might double it, I might
triple it, perhaps, by honest industry.
If Julie truly loves
me, she will wait a few years, she will remain true to me
is

to

prevent

doing

so, since I

this captain refuse to take

am

Commerce sometimes yields
examples are not wanting in
this world of wealth gained with astonishing rapidity in this
way on the changing waves why should Providence not
bless an endeavor made for a purpose so laudable, so worthy
of His assistance? Among these merchants who have accumulated so much and who send their vessels to the ends of
the world, more than one has begun with a smaller sum than
I have now.
They have prospered with the help of God
why should not I prosper in my turn? It seems to me as
though a good wind were filling these sails, and this vessel
inspires confidence. Come the die is cast ; I will speak to
the captain, who seems to be a good fellow I will then write
to Julie, and set out to become a clever and successful
until I

marry

able to

her.

greater profits than one thinks

;

!

;

trader."

The

greatest danger incurred by those

but half crazy,

The poor

is

are habitually

fellow, without further deliberation, put his

into execution.

To

find

The

his friends, a

whim

goods to buy, when one has money

and knows nothing about the goods,
world.

who

that of becoming, at times, altogether so.

is

the easiest thing in the

captain, to oblige Croisilles, took him to one of

manufacturer, who sold him as much cloth and

he could pay for. The whole of it, loaded upon a cart,
was promptly taken on board. Croisilles, delighted and full
of hope, had himself written in large letters his name upon
silk as

the bales.

He

watched them being put on board with inex-

CROISILLES

187

pressible joy; the hour of departure soon came.,
vessel

and the

weighed anchor.

VI
need not say that

in this transaction, Croisilles had kept
His house was sold and there remained
to him, for his sole fortune, the clothes he had on his back
no home, and not a sou. With the best will possible, Jean
could not suppose that his master was reduced to such an
I

no money in hand.

;

;

Croisilles was not too proud, but too thoughtless
him of it. So he determined to sleep under the starry
vault, and as for his meals, he made the following calculation: he presumed that the vessel which bore his fortune
would be six months before coming back to Havre Croisilles,
therefore, not without regret, sold a gold watch his father
had given him, and which he had fortunately kept; he got
thirty-six livres 6 for it.
That was sufficient to live on for

extremity

;

to tell

;

about six months, at the rate of four sous a day. He did
it would be enough, and, reassured for the
present, he wrote to Mademoiselle Godeau to inform her of

not doubt that

He was very careful in his letter not to
speak of his distress he announced to her, on the contrary,
that he had undertaken a magnificent commercial enterprise,
of the speedy and fortunate issue of which there could be no
doubt; he explained to her that La Fleurette, a merchantvessel of one hundred and fifty tons, was carrying to the
Baltic his cloths and his silks, and implored her to remain
what he had done.

;

faithful to

him

for a year, reserving to himself the right of

asking, later on, for a further delay, while, for his part, he

swore eternal love to her.
When Mademoiselle Godeau received this letter, she was
sitting before the fire, and had in her hand, using it as a
screen, one of those bulletins which are printed in seaports,
6.

The

liyre

was worth twenty

cents.

FRENCH SHORT STORIES

188

announcing the arrival and departure of vessels, and which
also report disasters at sea. It had never occurred to her, as
one can well imagine, to take an interest in this sort of
thing; she had in fact never glanced at any of these sheets.
The perusal of Croisilles' letter prompted her to read the
bulletin she had been holding in her hand the first word that
caught her eye was no other than the name of La Fleurette.
The vessel had been wrecked on the coast of France, on
the very night following its departure. The crew had barely
;

all the cargo was lost.
Mademoiselle Godeau, at this news, no longer remembered
that Croisilles had made to her an avowal of his poverty she
was as heartbroken as though a million had been at stake.
In an instant, the horrors of the tempest, the fury of the
winds, the cries of the drowning, the ruin of the man who
loved her, presented themselves to her mind like a scene in a
romance. The bulletin and the letter fell from her hands.
She rose in great agitation, and, with heaving breast and eyes
brimming with tears, paced up and down, determined to act,
and asking herself how she should act.
There is one thing that must be said in justice to love; it

escaped, but

;

is

that the stronger, the clearer, the simpler the considera-

tions

opposed

to

it,

in a word, the less

common

sense there

is

become and the
the most beautiful

in the matter, the wilder does the passion

more does the lover

love.

It is

one

of'

things under heaven, this irrationality of the heart.

We

should not be worth much without it. After having walked
about the room (without forgetting either her dear fan or the

passing glance at the mirror), Julie allowed herself to sink
once more upon her lounge. Whoever had seen her at this

moment would have looked upon
sparkled, her cheeks were on

murmured

a lovely sight; her eyes

fire;

she sighed deeply, and
joy and pain:

in a delicious transport of

"Poor fellow

!

He

has ruined himself for

me !"

CROISILLES

189

Independently of the fortune which she could expect from
her father, Mademoiselle Godeau had in her own right the
property her mother had left her. She had never thought of
it.
At this moment, for the first time in her life, she remembered that she could dispose of five hundred thousand francs.
This thought brought a smile to her lips a proj ect, strange,
;

bold, wholly feminine, almost as

mad

as Croisilles himself,

she weighed the idea in her mind for
some time, then decided to act upon it at once.
She began by inquiring whether Croisilles had any relatives or friends; the maid was sent out in all directions to

entered her head;

find out.

Having made minute

inquiries in all quarters, she

discovered, on the fourth floor of an old rickety house, a half-

crippled aunt,

who never

stirred

from her arm-chair, and had

This poor woman, very
seemed to have been left in the world expressly as a
specimen of hungry misery. Blind, gouty, almost deaf, she
lived alone in a garret; but a gayety, stronger than misfortune- and illness, sustained her at eighty years of age, and
not been out for four or five years.

old,

made her still love life. Her neighbors never passed her
door without going in to see her, and the antiquated tunes
she hummed enlivened all the girls of the neighborhood. She
possessed a little annuity which sufficed to maintain her; as
long as day lasted, she knitted. She did not know what had
happened since the death of Louis XIV.
It was to this worthy person that Julie had herself privately conducted. She donned for the occasion all her
finery; feathers, laces, ribbons, diamonds, nothing was
spared. She wanted to be fascinating; but the real secret of
her beauty, in this case, was the whim that was carrying
her away.
She went up the steep, dark staircase which
led to the good lady's chamber, and, after the most graceful
bow, spoke somewhat as follows
"You have, madame, a nephew, called Croisilles, who

I know. but my father. for the world." The old lady. and Monsieur Godeau. for my part. I have. and if you have ever known love. a little fortune which is quite at your disposal you may take possession. but remember that my father does not know you. "Yes. that you show yourself very little in town.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 190 loves me and wish to my hand. you will have to leave your arm-chair and take a little trouble. I would not. had been in turn surprised. you will be obliged to insist and you must have a little courage I. — . I love him. give occasion to scandal. too. madame. touched. and that. As nobody on earth excepting myself has any right to the sum of which I am speaking to you. I hope you will not refuse me. but you will make two people happy. I come to ask you a favor. and delighted. fermier-general of this town. nor cause trouble to anybody I would therefore never think of disposing of myself without the consent of my family. You are not very rich yourself. debt which I Croisilles. It is not a present that I am and paying. nobody will ever know in what way this amount will have passed into your hands. my child. ." she repeated several times. during this discourse. I know what it is. of five hundred thousand francs at my notary's. and you may fear that people will be astonished to see you thus endowing your nephew. because your nephew is not rich. fact it does. . it is a the cause of the ruin of but just that I should repair it. it will be easy for you to pretend that you have just arrived from some journey. for it is I am am making him. thank God. My father will not easily give in. whenever you see fit. "I know what it is." . The last words persuaded her. which in has asked for marry him. Yoir will say that this sum belongs to your nephew. which I beseech you to grant me. This step will doubtless be some exertion to you. will not fail. refuses his consent. consequently. anxious. You must come yourself and propose this marriage to my father.

"a means of flattering you will have won our cause. the handsomest in the town." These words settled the happiness of the two lovers. finished her toilet without another word. The good lady prepared the speech she was going to make to Monsieur Godeau. he consented to everything. Although five hundred thousand francs seemed little to him. All the explanations having been made. she braced herself up so gallantly for her entrance that she seemed ten years younger." said she. not a grain of dust had disfigured it Julie was in ecstasies over it. and entered the carriage. her feeble limbs could barely support her .CROISILLES As she said this she made an effort to rise 191 . the good lady drew from her wardrobe a venerable gown of taffeta. clasped the hands of her future niece. and the necessary and confidential consultation followed without further trouble. I think she had thoroughly earned it. a warm kiss sealed it in advance. and when the drawing-room where Julie's bouquet the door of the boudoir opened. said in a firm voice to the lackey who preceded her "Announce the dowager Baroness de Croisilles. The good lady pondered deeply. in order to make his daughter a baroness. Julie quickly advanced and put out her hand to help her. — . in an instant. in each other's arms. who would dare contest her title? For my part. Julie tried to teach her how she was to touch the . which had been her wedding-dress. heart of her father." this weakness. A treaty was at once concluded. Monsieur Godeau was bewildered by them. A coach was sent for. She soon arrived at the Godeau mansion there. by an almost involuntary movement they found themselves. . and did not hesitate to confess that love of rank was his vulnerable point. "If you could imagine. She ma j estically crossed had fallen. This antique piece of property was not less than fifty years old but not a spot. and such she became.

faithfully. with the result that when the young apprentice finally began to publish his work it was the finished product of an expert in the art of writing. He chose his characters him in his own experience. . comprising six novels and two hundred and twelve short stories. his god-father Flaubert. the bourgeoisie and the working classes both of the country and of Paris. that is. no propaganda to advance. in other words. The range of his characters and situations is equally extensive. he simply gives the facts. The reader draws his own conclusion. The two outstanding features of Maupassant's stories are precision of observation and simplicity of style. and then contrived the story around them. He never tries to explain . He taught Maupassant how to observe accurately and express himself clearly how to choose his characters and make them act in such a way as to seem real and fit the part assigned to them in the story. and then destroyed them. uncomas they presented themselves to promisingly realistic. Maupassant is. He had no theories of life to expound. He himself says that his only doctrine was to portray nature. Maupassant's work fills thirty volumes. pointed out their faults. small tradesmen and their employees. government clerks. He portrays the peasants of his native Normandy.MAUPASSANT (1850-1893) Guy de Maupassant was born in Normandy (northern France) in 1850. While yet a boy it was his good fortune to have as the directing hand for his genius an acknowledged master of prose style. He completed his education at Rouen and then went to Paris where he was for a time a clerk in the Ministry of Marine. the men and women working on the Parisian news- 192 . human nature. Flaubert read all of Maupassant's early poems and stories.

Of the other selections in this book. nothing to impede the progress of the story. and The Hand are excellent examples of the author's power of calm and unadorned realism in depicting the horrible. and of the salons. These are some of the qualities of Maupassant's style that are the despair of all imitators. there are no overwrought pasSo sages. yet he makes the reader feel that the bitterness is not in the writer but in the essence of things as they are. The Wreck is a pleasant love story. The Necklace being not only the best of this type of Maupassant story. and the category of Maupassant's material is fairly complete. Fright. the mere difficulty of making ends meet or again. especially in his earlier stories. every idea. even in the most unpleasant of his stories the reader is conscious of the high art of the writer. He liked to tell of the barren life of the underpaid officials of the bureaus. wanting. carefully did Maupassant write that not a word seems superfluous. Some- humor. And the fact that he wrote mostly about people in ordinary life makes the gloom all the deeper. a type not at all common with Maupassant. but in the opinion of many critics the most perfect short story in any times there is language. . a sort of grim humor. However. There is no exuberance of words. Even when he laughs it is the laugh of irony. the emphasis is placed upon the desire for money to secure certain ends jects that .MAUPASSANT papers and magazines. often in its most primitive form. the to these the came to him in those moments when his chronic nervous disorder caused his visions to be distorted. Every word. Add I93 gentlemen and ladies mystic and fantastic sub- finally. In the appreciation of Maupassant's work his general pessimism should be noted. Many of his stories touch upon the harshness of the struggle for existence. social or political or for the pursuit of pleasure. every incident is given its proper value. His outlook on life was essentially bitter. His stories almost invariably emphasize the tragedy of the commonplace. out of place. The Two Friends. just that and no more.

loved. feeling herself born for every She suffered because of the delicacy and every luxury. 1893. She suffered ceaselessly. like one kept out of her . Their beauty. or married by a rich and distinguished man so she let herself be married to an ordinary clerk in the Department of Public Instruction. the worn chairs. made drowsy by the heavy warmth of the stove. in a family of clerks. an instinct for what is fine. no expectations. but she was unhappy. for with women there is neither caste nor rank. . understood. Translated by H. C. tortured her and made her angry. THE NECKLACE 1 By GUY DE MAUPASSANT She was one of those pretty and charming girls. no means of being known. proper class. and their charm serve instead of birth and family. and on the two tall footmen in knee breeches. She thought of long par- things which any other 1. All the woman of her class would not even have noticed. and their nimbleness of wit constitute their only hierarchy. in a private sanitarium near Paris. Her mind dwelt on silent ante-rooms hung with Oriental tapestries. poverty of her dwelling. Schweikert. making daughters of the people the equals of the greatest ladies. and the ugliness of the hangings. the wretchedness of its walls. She was simple in her dress because she could not be elegant. She had no dowry. lighted by tall bronze lamps. born as by a mistake of destiny. their grace. Native delicacy.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 194 The last few years of his life * were spent very miserably where he died July 6. The sight of the little Breton girl who did her humble housework awoke in her tormenting regrets and distracted dreams. dozing in the big armchairs.

to be attractive. no jewels. the good pot-au-feu! 2 I don't know anything better than that/' she was thinking of dainty repasts. whom she no longer wanted to go to see. opposite her husband. "Ah. with shining silver. she 2. a companion of her convent days. Monday. triumph. who uncovered the tureen." She quickly tore the paper and drew out a printed card which bore these words "The Minister of Public Instruction and Mme. and said with an air of satisfaction. She had a rich friend. . from despair. men well known and much sought after. of tapestry which peopled the walls with ancient personages and strange birds in the midst of a fairy forest and of exquisite dishes served on marvelous plates. But one evening her husband came home with an air of made . whose attention is the envy and desire of every woman. A dish consisting of meat and vegetables boiled together." Instead of being delighted. and Mme. of delicate furniture laden precious bric-a-brac. Georges Ramponneau beg M. When she sat down to dinner. from regret. scented. to be envied. She would so much have liked to please. of whispered gallantries listened to with sphinx-like smile. their Loisel to honor them with presence at the palace of the Ministry." said he. from chagrin. at the round table covered with a cloth three days old. while eating the pink flesh of a trout or the wings of a quail. and from distress.and sought after. for the small-talk at five o'clock with one's most intimate friends.THE NECKLACE 195 lors decorated with old silk. "There. "there is something for you. because she suffered And she wept all day long. And she loved nothing more than that she felt herself made for that. nothing. and of coquettish little with rooms. January 18. She had no dresses. so much when she returned. holding a large envelope in his hand. as her husband hoped.

Two large tears rolled slowly from the corners of her eyes to the corners of her mouth. as she wiped her moist cheeks "Nothing. and here You an opportunity." He was grieved. The entire official world will be there. one which you could use on other occasions.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 196 disdainfully threw the invitation on the table. That seems very fine to me. I had considerable trouble to get it. I thought you would be pleased. it is a very select affair and not many are given to clerks." Astonished and distracted." She looked at him with an expression of irritation and is declared impatiently "What am He had I to put on my back to go there?" not thought of that. His wife was crying. murmur- ing: "What am "But. Mathilde. and sum she could ask without an immediate refusal and a frightened exclamation from the eco- thinking also of the nomical clerk. something very simple?" She reflected several seconds. a splendid one. Everybody is after them. making calculations. Only I have no clothes and therefore can't go to this affair.. hesitatingly: . he stammered: "Why. How much would a suitable dress cost. Give your card to some colleague whose wife has better clothes than I. never go out. the. and she replied in a calm voice. He stuttered "What's the matter? What's the matter?" But by a violent effort she had overcome her difficulty. At last she replied. my I to do with that?" dear. He resumed: "Let's see. he said nothing more.dress you wear to the theater.

About eighty dollars. Her dress was ready.THE NECKLACE 197 "I don't know exactly. for he was reserving just that amount to purchase a gun and treat himself to a little shooting the coming summer on the plain of Nanterre with several friends who used to go there Sundays to shoot larks." The day of the party was drawing near. "No. Her husband said to her one evening: "What's the matter? You've been quite queer the last three days. magnificent roses. he said "All right." She gave a cry of joy: "That's true. I'll give you four hundred francs." But her husband continued: "How stupid of you! Go find your friend Mme. You have been close enough to her to do that." 3 He grew pale. tress." She was not convinced. 3. However. and Mme. I had not thought of that. It's very stylish this For ten francs you can get two or three time of the year. anxious. not a stone to put on. . Loisel seemed sad. but I believe I could do with four hundred francs. I'd almost rather not go to the reception. Foresand ask her to lend you some jewelry. restless. there's nothing mere humiliating than among women who to look poor are rich." "You could wear natural flowers. I shall look wretched." And - she answered: "It annoys me not to have a single jewel. however." The next day she went to her friend and told her dis- tier. But do try to have a pretty dress.

Mme. in the glory of her success. then a Venetian cross. opened "Choose." All at once she discovered. yes. and her heart began to beat with immoderate longing. my First she saw some it. hesitatingly. smiling. in a box of black satin. . of this victory so complete and so dear to the heart of woman. then a pearl necklace. thinking of nothing. intoxicated with pleasure. only this?" "Why. certainly. yes. a superb diamond necklace. took out a large jewelry-box. full of anxiety: "Can you let me have this. Forestier went to her mirrored wardrobe. All the men were looking at her. and could not make up her mind to leave them. dress. elegant. gold and precious stones. and crazy with joy. in a sort of cloud of happiness produced by all this homage and admiration. Then she asked. Look. She kept on asking: "You haven't any others?" "Why. I don't know what may please hesitated. She tried on the ornaments before the glass." She sprang upon her friend's neck. The Minister himself took notice of her. in the triumph of her beauty. and then escaped with her treasure. The day of the party came. Loisel: dear." bracelets. Loisel was a success. of admirable workmanship. gracious. She fastened it around her neck. to give you. and seeking an introduction. embraced her warmly. them back. She was the best looking of them all. Her husband had been sleeping since midnight in a small deserted ante-room. All the attaches of the Cabinet wanted to waltz with her. over her high-necked and was rapt in ecstasy at the sight of herself. Her hands trembled as she took it up. She danced in a transport of delight. and said to Mme. asking who she was.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 198 Mme. She left about four in the morning.

and went rapidly down the stairs. Finally they found on the quay one of those old night carriages which one does not see in Paris until after nightfall." —— frightened. I'll call a cab. She removed the wraps from her shoulders. It was all over. on the other hand." But she did not listen to him. Rue des Martyrs. and sadly they mounted their own steps. Forestier's necklace. before the looking-glass. the pockets. modest wraps of everyday life. It took them to their door. When they came to the street they could not find a carriage and they began to look for one. But they did not find it. the folds of her cloak. asked: "What's the matter?" She turned to him in terror I "I I no longer have Mme. the poverty of which was in contrast with the elegance of her ball dress. as if they were ashamed of their . Loisel held her back.THE NECKLACE 199 with three other gentlemen whose wives were having a good time. You'll catch cold. was thinking that he would have to be at the office by ten o'clock. He threw over her shoulders the wraps he had brought. She no longer had the necklace around her neck Her husband. They went down towards the Seine. "What? — How? — He rose. in disgust and shivering from the cold. She felt this and wished to get away without being noticed by the other women who were wrapping themselves up in rich furs. everywhere. "Wait a minute. shouting to drivers whom they saw at a distance. in order to see herself once more in her glory. He. It isn't possible!" And they searched the folds of her dress. But all at once she gave a cry. already half undressed. for her. . wretchedness during the day.

"on foot. "that you have broken the clasp of the necklace and that you are having it repaired. very likely. "I'm going back over the whole route. She remained there. Loisel came home in the evening." Next day they took the box in which it had been contained He consulted to the jeweler whose name was on the inside. At the end of the week they had lost all hope. to see if I can't find it. You took his number?" "No. who had aged five years. And you. He had not it. Her husband returned about seven found o'clock. indeed. That will give us time to turn round." he said. utterly depressed. he had discovered nothing. And Loisel. his books. didn't you look at it?" "No.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 200 He asked: "You are sure "Yes. ." She wrote as he dictated." And he went out. declared "We must see about replacing that piece of jewelry. He went newspapers companies. She waited all day. to the cab this frightful disaster." said he." that you touched it you had lost it in the street we should have heard must be in the carriage. with his face pale and sunken. in the same state of distraction over to the Prefecture of Police. he went wherever a glimmer of hope impelled him to go. still had it when leaving the ball?" while in the vestibule of the Ministry. in her evening gown." "Yes." "But it I if drop. without thought. . thoroughly upset. "You must write to your friend. Finally Loisel dressed again. without strength to go to bed. to the to offer a reward. It They looked at one another. without a fire.

who 201 sold that necklace. Her 4." tier said. five hundred from another. I must only have furnished the case.THE NECKLACE "It was not I. they could have for thirty-six. five louis 5 here. 5. Loisel had eighteen thousand francs which his father had left him. Mme. did business with the whole tribe of money-lenders. Loisel took the necklace back. risked his signature without even knowing whether he could meet his obligation and. sick. . He He had to borrow the rest. made ruinous obligations. Foreswith an air of inquiry: "You should have brought it back sooner. He gave notes. by the black misery which was going to fall upon him. Twenty dollars. madame." Then they went from one jeweler to another. but looking for. it back for was found before the end of February. Mme. by the prospect of physical privations and moral tortures of every kind. consulting their memories. five there. A friend had been in dread lest Forestier should palace in Paris built by Richelieu and afterwards left to Louis has galleries and arcades still famous for shops. asking a thousand francs from one. He compromised all the rest of his existence. laying down thirty-six thousand francs on the jeweler's . When Mme. especially It jewelry sbops. In a shop in the Palais Royal 4 they found a diamond necklace which seemed to them quite like the one they were It was priced at forty thousand francs. borrowed. with chagrin and anxiety. it They begged the jeweler not to sell it for And they made a bargain that he would take thirty-four thousand francs if the other three days. counter. searching for a necklace like the other. he went and bought the necklace. XIV. both of them. terrified by the anguish of the future. for I might have needed it.

Her husband worked evenings making fair copies of a tradesman's accounts.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 202 open the case. stopping to regain her breath on every landing. the butcher. And this life lasted ten years. the shirts. One cent. what would she have thought? What would she have said ? Would she not have been taken for a thief? Mme. away . 6. and her hands red. at times. insulted. wearing off her rosy nails on the greasy kettles and the bottoms of the pans. she took her part heroically. but her fear was groundless. and rough. accumulations of compound interest. the disagreeable She washed the duties of the kitchen. she talked in a loud voice. hard. dishes. And. If she had observed the substitution. She learned what heavy housework was. she went to the fruiterer. With hair badly combed. they rented an attic under a roof. She would pay they changed lodgings . That frightful debt They sent the servant had to be paid. Loisel now experienced the horrible life of the Presently. and at night he often did copying at five sous a page. and washed the floor with copious splashings of water. her skirts untidy. of usury. all. She had become a typical woman of a poor household. bargaining. however. They had to pay some notes each month. Loisel seemed old now. every morning she carried the garbage down to the street. She washed the soiled linen. and all the rougher things. At the end of ten years they had repaid everything. it. when her husband was . which she dried on a line. dressed like a woman of the people. with her basket on her arm. But. and renew others to gain time. the grocer. fighting sou 6 by sou with her wretched money. rates Mme. and brought up the water. strong. needy.

THE NECKLACE at the office. Now that she had paid. I am Mathilde LoiseL" —My poor Mathilde. I do not know woman of the — You must have made a mistake." The other woman did not recognize her. still beautiful. still young. What would have happened if she had not lost that neckWho knows? How singular is life. She stammered — "But. she would sit down by 203 the window. Forestier. was Mme. of that ball so beautiful ! or saved But. and think where she had been and so courted." "No. and was aston- ished at being spoken to so familiarly by this common people. how you have changed!" saw you. lace? A^ho knows? How little a thing it takes to be lost and how changeable of that evening of long ago. have indeed had hard days and much misery— and that because of you. "Good afternoon. You will understand that it was no easy "What? . It she all at once saw a woman walking with a child." "Of me— How can that be "Oh! since I last I ?" "You remember that diamond necklace to the ball at the }^ou lent me to go Ministry ?" "Yes. as she was taking a walk in the Champs-Etysees as a relief from her cares of the week. madame. one Sunday. Should she go and speak to Why. Mme. What of that?" "Well. And for ten years we've been paying for it. Loisel was moved. certainly. you returned it. She approached not? her. "Yes. I lost it." "I bought you one just like it. she would her? tell Why her everything. Jeanne." Why. still attractive.

At last that is over. strongly moved. hands. who had nothing." And she smiled with a proud and naive joy." Mme.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 204 matter for us. and Forestier had stopped. then. I'm happy enough. "Oh! worth at My poor Mathilde Why. Forestier. mine was !" most five hundred francs ! false. took hold of both her . You didn't even notice it. Mme. It was . did you? They were very much alike. "You say that you bought a diamond necklace to replace mine?" "Yes.

Georges said to me "Allow me?" "Certainly. Schweikert. withal. for I was then thirty years old. and one which happened me! Oh! That was a red-letter day for me. scrawled in every direction.THE WRECK By 1 GUY DE MAUPASSANT It was yesterday. that year. That was twenty years ago. C. "I was then an inspector for the Maritime Insurance Company. with that interest which one gives only to things that touch the heart. my old friend. piece and said: "Well. It was then eight o'clock in the morning.. I had just finished breakfast with The servant brought him Garin. when it is the custom to from the manager ordering me to set out immediately for the Island of Re. and I am now fifty. I had expected to to pass New make that Year's Day in Paris. Georges a letter covered with seals and foreign stamps. By ten o'clock I was at the office 1. Translated by H. insured by us. the 31st of December. 2 where a three-masted schooner from Saint-Nazaire." And he began to read an eight-page letter written in a He read slowly. of which I am now manager. 205 I received a letter . An island in the Bay of Biscay. 2. since day a holiday. Then he placed the letter on the edge of the mantel- large English hand. had just been stranded. here is a curious story which I have never told you. a sentimental story. giving it serious attention.

and none of those wonderful monuments which make Rouen 6 so magnificent. They were often subjected in France in the 15th and to persecution. La Rochelle is indeed a unique town of impressive character. for its architectural monuments. discreet. black and squat. with an air of mystery. passed between the two ancient towers which guard the port. passed out beyond the mole built by Richelieu. I took a turn about the city. 4. 9. crossed the channel. It is indeed the old Huguenot 5 city. 1822. a city of determined fighters. The name given to the Protestants 16th centuries. galleries and arcades like those of the Rue de Rivoli. In France they were called Huguenots. the faith of the Calvinists Sergeants' 8 . which was to take me to the Island of Re. a city in which flourished 7 and where the plot of the 'Four was born. A A city in southeastern France. without any great art. Four conspirators beheaded in Paris. encircling the city like an immense necklace then we turned towards the right. the 31st of December. and of antique appearance. 9 the enormous rocks of which were visible above the water's edge. 4 but low. Bay of Biscay. A famous French statesman (1585-1642). "After I had wandered about these picturesque streets for some time I boarded the small steamboat. the birthplace of many fanaticisms. yet it is striking because of its severe physical outlines. 5. savoring of the wars of olden times. 3. on the street in Paris noted for its shops. the heroic and savage wars of religion. 7. the Jean-Guiton.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 206 get to my instructions. a little elusive too. 8. It is noted for its shipping. for treason. "I had two hours on my hands before going aboard the boat for Re. 6. The Protestants who were followers of John Calvin instead of Luther. grave. as though specially built to tempt conspirators. which got me and that same night into La Rochelle 3 I took the the next day. It started. express. with its labyrinthine maze of streets whose sidewalks run under galleries without end. . puffing angrily. A city on the Seine River. and as the scene of the burning of Joan of Arc.

driven by the furious gale. if necessary.THE WRECK 207 "It was one of those gloomy. a few splashes. "He told me the story of the wreck. heavy with salty fog. affecting the breathing like the stench of a sewer. and that they had had to take off hastily everything detachable. attempts at salvage. and decide had been made to float it. which weigh heavily upon one's mind. "The storm had thrown the ship so far in. shallow and sandy from washing over the long stretch of beach. the yellow sea. figure out its condition before the storm. too. then. without movement. which make one sick at heart. with his boat. very simply. and some heavings which soon calmed them- "Under this selves. damp as rain. so that I might give contradictory testimony later. of the Jean-Guiton knew all about the having been called on for help. had gone aground on a stormy night. deadening in us all our force and energy a day gray and frigid. The Marie-Joseph. became lost . the manager would take such steps as he thought necessary for safeguarding our interests. wrote the owner. low-hanging and forbidding fog. to examine the situation of the wreck. if all possible efforts "Upon receipt of my report. It was my business. that it had been impossible to float it again. leaving behind a few waves. rolling a little through habit. lifeless. in the lawsuit. A large three-masted vessel from Saint-Nazaire. depressing days. The Jean-Guiton went over it. a little short man almost without feet. in the "The captain affair. greasy and stagnant. frost. round as his boat and balanced like it. I came as agent of the company. "I began talking to the captain. I wanted some details about the wreck upon which I was going to make an estimate. a sea of muddy water. remained without a ripple. on the sand-bars near the Island of Re. ^cutting the smooth dark surface. the Marie-Joseph. cold as^ .

'A hundred fathoms. assure you!' . there is your ship !' The Marie-Joseph?' " 'Yes. and I'll guarantee that by ten minutes of three. your hands in your pockets. In the it is . indicated to object almost imperceptible on the open sea. without getting your feet wet. Not two fathoms. well-nigh invisible. Between the ocean and the lowering sky there was an open space through which one could see far. That black speck. twenty minutes of ten. monsieur. . which I should have taken for a reef.' "He " I laughed.' "And all at once the captain. We were skirting a shore. which impossible to reproduce in translation. after you have lunched at the Hotel Daupin. captain. Walk along the beach. . "I resumed: " 'But. there must be a hundred fathoms of water at the spot you are indicating. you will have walked to the wreck. pointing with his right hand straight before me an us. 10 He " 'It is sir ! . . continued: high tide now. and said " 'Look. . — " 'Is that the Island of Re?' " 'Yes. and you will have from an hour and three-quarters to two French the captain speaks the dialect of Bordeaux.' "I was astounded. or three o'clock at the most. my dear "He was from Bordeaux. 10. seemed to me about two miles from shore. "As we spoke I looked around and ahead. I asked: in the night.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 208 — and steering by chance on a foamy sea 'a milk-soup sea' it was called by the captain was wrecked on those immense shoals of shifting sands which make the coasts of this region seem like limitless Saharas during the hours of low tide.

well populated. and went to take a seat on the back. now I saw it far out. but now it seemed to have disappeared into the strand. little I cultivated. . Only the feeling and the breath of the salt water remained with me. but seems did not penetrate into the interior. its people living on it in the fish and wild-fowl. radishes and mussels. which will take you back this very night to the quay at La Rochelle. I felt as though I were a part of a gigantic and supernatural spectacle. to take a look at the little Martin. though. which we were town of Saint- rapidly approaching. Be sure to back at ten minutes of five. went up a little promontory. the good. the smell of the ocean. start bow of the boat. The sea had been there a while before. as the tide above the water. I was no longer cold. "It was like all the miniature seaports which serve as for the barren little islands capitals continent. and I could no longer distinguish the line which separated the land from the sea. and at seven-thirty you. like stage scenery into a trap. part of water and part on land.' "I thanked the captain. "I walked rapidly across this yellow level of sand. will again be on board the Jean-Guiton.THE WRECK 209 hours to remain on it. and from was going out fast. The island is very low. It was scattered along the a large fishing village. strong-scented smell of the coast. elastic as flesh. the quicker it comes caught. or you'll get The further out the tide goes. vegetables and shell-fish. The coast along here is as flat as a bug. I smelled the odor of the debris left by the sea. as though fleeing from sight. no longer. I proceeded across the sand towards a kind of black rock which I noticed just "After lunch I there. and it seemed to sweat under my steps. However. and I walked now in the middle of a desert. The Atlantic had just been before me. way out. I walked fast.

and I stopped writing at times to listen to the vague and mysterious sounds in the wreck the sound of crabs scraping the timbers with : their hooked claws. soft and regular. the sound. and its ribs of tarred wood pierced by large nails clearly visible. There was nothing inside except sand. holding it. which became larger the nearer I approached. illuminated sadly what looked like long and somber caves. Marie. which served as a floor to these vaults of planks.Joseph. making a noise like that of a gimlet. and on that vast expanse of sand. its broken bones showing like those of an animal. while the stern. it assumed surprising I reached it at last. seemed to throw toward the sky. "I began to take notes on the condition of the vessel. proportions. down on a broken empty barrel. crept over peculiar shiver. The daylight. and after gaining the deck I went down into the interior. treacherous sand. split open. as they dig out and devour the old planks. those two white words on the black planking. rooted in the sand. entering through the rents. of the worms gnawing ceaselessly. The prow had sunk deep into that soft. writing by the light I sat of a large crack through which I could see the limitless stretch of the shore. quite near me. and now resembled a huge stranded whale. like a hopeless cry of appeal. It seemed to have become possessing it. due to the cold and me from time to time .FRENCH SHORT STORIES 210 ' I looked at the wreck. coming in through the broken hatches and the fissures in the sides. shattered. "I climbed upon this corpse of a ship by the lower side. flat and yellow. never to let go. It lay upon its side. high in the air. The sand already was enveloping it. after an hour's walk. "And suddenly I heard human voices. full of broken timbers. the sound of a thousand small animals of the sea already attached to this corpse. "It seemed to rise out of the earth. A the solitude. I .

as for him. the two others caught hold of their father's arms. youngest of the girls ran away . One could have said that this one had just risen from the sand and that her hair had kept some of its tint. a blonde of eighteen years. reas- especially the oldest. thought that I was going to see two drowned men rise from the depths of that sinister hold. when they saw this apparition sudThe denly appearing on the abandoned three-master. the best one and gave him a helping hand. of the delicate colors of pink sea-shells and mother-of-pearl. with their exquisite freshness. rare. I had to tell the story of the wreck . in which I the word 'gracious.THE WRECK 211 For a moment as though a ghost had appeared. fresh as a flower. born in the unknown depths of the ocean. standing below the stern. "Then. girls. " 'Yes. a tall Englishman and three young misses. they were more frightened than I was. little better than her father and "She spoke French a served as interpreter. with all the strength I saw. rather. he said: jumped I really " 'Ah. sir/ " 'May you are the proprietor of this ship?' I visit it?' " 'Yes/ "He then spoke a long sentence in English. so delicate and dainty Truly. mysterious. after a few seconds. the pretty English girls have the look of the tender fruits of the sea. They made you think. mosieu. he opened his mouth that was the only sign which indicated his emotion. "As he was looking for a place to climb up.' repeated several distinguished only times. who would tell me how they died. a that lay in my wrists. assisted the three young They were charming. or. I pointed out He came who were now up. You can imagine that it did not take me long to pull myself up on the deck. Indeed. tall gentleman and three young ladies. then we sured.

a sort of living sandwich. poorly lighted. They did not have the usual English arrogance. and all three were good-looking especially the to — tallest. of understanding and not understanding. and they began at the same time four pencil sketches of this bizarre and gloomy scene. which doubtless they had carried concealed in the folds of their heavy wraps. "They were seated side by side on a projecting beam. and I invented them. these people. as though I had been present at the catastrophe. of stopping her drawing to figure out of beginning her 11. slender also. The father was tall and slender. The daughters were like young and growing herons. A French work again. of that class of wanderers with which England is covering the world. Then the whole family went down into the interior of the wreck. of telling things. "I learned that they were spending the winter at Biar11 and that they had come to the Island of Re expressly ritz.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 212 to the minutest details. a slice of ham in the form of a human head between two layers of hair. and the four sketch-books on the eight knees were covered with little black lines which were to represent the shattered hull of the Marie-Joseph. they uttered cries of astonishment and admiration. long-legged. As soon as they had entered that dark gallery. his red face fringed with whiskers. 'Yes' or 'No' bathing resort on the Bay of Biscay. they were simple and straightforward. and suddenly the father and his three daughters were holding sketch-books. and —that I . except the oldest. saying what I had said. of raising her eyes to question me. the oldest talking to me as I continued my girl kept on inspection of the remains of the ship. view this three-master stuck in the sand. of laughing. "Although busy with her sketch. "She had such a droll way of speaking. eyes like the deep blue sea.

. Then the little English girl smiled and remarked " 'It is we who are the shipwrecked !' "I wanted to laugh. and which we should be sure to fall into on our return. who looked in consternation at the boundless sea around us. wet and icy. !' "I said: ' 'There is nothing to do but to remain on the boat. and peculiar. Hardly more than a few inches of water covered the sand but already the water was so far in that we could no longer see the fleeing line of its edge. I felt like shouting 'Help But to whom? "The two younger girls were clinging to their father. stretching itself as though it were carrying out a definitely assigned task. a half hour. like the tide. and was running towards the shore with frightNo.' "And we remained there a quarter of an hour. it did not run. What was it? "'I heard a slight "I listened. ful speed.THE WRECK 213 could have stayed indefinitely to listen to her and look at her.' "The Englishman responded: " 'Oh! yes. but fear prevented me. and uttered a sharp cry. "The tide had returned. and it was about to surround us "We were on deck in a trice. "All of a sudden she murmured: movement on the ship. "In our hearts there was a moment of horrible anxiety. because of the deep pools which we had avoided in coming. it crept. "The Englishman wanted to jump in. The water encircled us. I through the crack.' immediately made out a slight sounds I got up and looked continuous. . but I held him back for flight was impossible. It was too late. base and stealthy. All the dangers to which we were exposed appeared to me at once. a heavy night. it glided along. a cowardly fright. "And the night was falling with the same rapidity that the ocean was rising.

I began to feel happy being there."I was leaning on the hatch. I did not know her. in spite and growing danger. to shelter ourselves motionless. glad of those long hours of darkness and anxiety which I had to spend on that spot. . and that warmth was as pleasing to me as a kiss. and by the sea. conquered I would have liked to save her. surrounded by the shadows of the night. We no longer talked. Yet in spite of all this. to do a thousand foolish things Strange thing How does it happen that the presence of a woman so upsets us? Is it the power of her charm which envelops us ? Is it the allurement of beauty and youth which intoxicates us like wine? of the terrible at ! ! . which protected us somewhat. "One and the idea suggested from the light but icy breeze. The ship was full of water. . eddying about so that it seemed to play over the immense shore once more recovered. and we remained crowded one against the other. to devote myself to her. so near that pretty and charming girl. watching the yellow water around us becoming deeper and deeper. "Why? Who knows? Because she was there? Who. silent. she? A little English girl whom I did not even know? I did not love her. which struck us and bit our skins. we remained of the itself that little girls was we go below again cold. "Darkness now enveloped us. cowering like beasts in a ditch during a storm. Against my shoulder I felt the trembling of that little English girl.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 214 in truths I know not how long. in spite of the night. and yet I felt myself attracted. "I asked myself why that strange feeling of happiness and joy which permeated me. glad of the peril and the cold. but I felt also the soft warmth of her body through her heavy cloak. We had to keep close to the bulwarks at the stern. whose teeth chattered every now and then.

Her father wanted to console her. But I had taken it off and wrapped her up in it in spite of herself. for we could hear around us. secret. miss?' "'Oh! yes. . it was certain death if the waves. struck the wreck and moved it. the mysterious love which ceaselessly seeks to unite two beings. which I did not understand. that. I gathered that they were reassuring her. The youngest of the girls was crying. even feeble waves. I am very cold.' . she refused it. "I rose. "Of a sudden. and the monotonous beating of the current against the vessel. "For some minutes the air had been growing brisker. . and he said simply: " 'That is bad for us. a strong gust of wind blew over my face. and which pervades them with emotion. the breaking of the water against the sides of the ship more strong. I heard sobs. the silence of the sky. and they began to talk in their own language. "I asked the one next me: " 'Are you not too cold. the infinite hollow roar of the rising sea. In the brief struggle my hand met hers.' "I wanted to give her my cloak.THE WRECK "Is it 215 not rather a sort of touch of love. which tries its power when a man and woman are brought face to face. The wind was rising "The Englishman perceived it at the same time. a light rustling noise. profound. vaguely. so shat- . just as you water the ground to make the flowers grow? "But the silence of the darkness. became frightful. and it gave me a pleasing shiver all over. and that she was still afraid. an emotion confused. "That surely was bad.

and I had a "Out mad I felt her shivering desire to fold her in my arms. to the Caesar. went out every thirty seconds. salute you. was truly an eye. then I was seized by a strong and queer emotion. the eyes of a who was giant looking at us. this song of the shipwrecked.Joseph. while each wave shook the hulk of the Marie. against me. "From time to time the Englishman struck a match to see then he put his watch back into his pocket. gusts became stronger and stronger. something like a prayer. I wish you a Happy New Year/ my hand to him and he shook it. "It was something sinister and superb. and I saw in the darkness lines of white appear and disappear. of the condemned. "Hail. Then he said something in English. with its lid always lowered for us to disappear. there." It was the address of the Gladiators entering the arena. Suddenly he said to me. before us. It it over its fiery glare. watching us. Now the sea was becoming a little rougher. I held out 12. behind us. to the left. and presently he and his daughters began to sing 'God Save the Queen/ which rose in the dark. to be re-lit immediately. silent air and was lost in space. and also something grander. lines of foam. the lighthouses were glaring along the coast — lights white. who are about to die. ! . "First I had a desire to laugh. Caesar We. "The English girl was shaking. over the heads of his daughters.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 216 tered and disjointed was first heavy sea would "So our anxiety increased from second to second as the carry it that the it off in pieces. comparable to the old and sublime Ave Ccesar morituri te salutamus. revolving like enormous eyes. with the time . causing an abrupt tremor which rose to our hearts. supreme gravity: " 'Monsieur. 12 "It was midnight. to the right. yellow. waiting greedily One of them especially irritated me. that one. red.

and who. for the notes were long drawn out. no doubt. If a boat had passed near us. was going to sink with me into the waves ? "But all five of us were suddenly rolling promiscuously I ! ! over the deck. this child of the sea. I have my three safe. all at once. and fluttered. in fact. he had. believing my last moment had come. was a boat . without knowing what I caught her in I was doing.THE WRECK 217 "When they had finished I asked the girl to sing by hersome ballad. The boat no longer moved. sad. at first. so that I might fall into the sea with her. on the temples. a carried away in a dream Siren. at that instant. and. tide As became higher and now was battering our And for me. across the waters. saw a light some one answered. "Surely. what she would. "The Englishman went on: " 'Just a trifle of a lurch daughters . coming slowly from her mouth. I thought of nothing but that voice. thought her lost! "I rose slowly. The English my girl had fallen right over me. what would the sailor have said? My troubled spirit was A Siren was she not. who had held me on this wormeaten ship. I could have wished that the boat would split in two. thought also of the Sirens. I kissed her on the lips. "The wreck. like wounded birds. She consented and soon her clear and youthful She was singing something voice took wing in the night. I quite near us. It on the sea. I shouted .' "Not seeing the oldest girl. to make us forget our anxiety. and madly. arms. because the Marie-Joseph had given a lurch to her right side. self. and we also remained motionless. on the hair. it is nothing. in a very short while. "The father said: 'Kate!' The one I was holding answered 'Yes/ and made a movement to disengage herself.

I ever loved But Ah! Does one know? The events of life And then carry you along. ... me No The ! .FRENCH SHORT STORIES 218 looking for us. . I speak only of the Marie-Joseph. . .. What a creature She writes me that her hair is quite white. . . . gives . . How sad . and then everything passes. . . . locks. Why? Ah. girl I all that. her sisters. . ! . I regretted the Marie!' ! Joseph. . . "I was hit hard. . "We were saved. . I was sorry for it! They took us off from our raft and brought us back to Saint-Martin. . . but never about her husband." . the proprietor of the hotel having foreseen our imprudence. it is . I Ah Those old days wouldn't know her. . Then I received a letter from New York. . . She tells me about her life. talks about her children. and wrote to tell me. . ! . And since then we write every year. . after They went shakes and promises to write. . and how incomprehensible "Two years rolled by without my hearing a word from them. but I was not lively. and to Biarritz. . . . . She is perhaps the only woman no should have loved. . . . . why? And as for me. . . that divine wreck. . . . . Her blonde exists. She was married. "The Englishman now rubbed his hands and murmured: " 'A good supper A good supper "We supped. She must be old now. . . I am sure that if we had passed eight days together I should have married her.. . . . . . . . . Good heavens That . "We had many hand- to separate the next day. . a terrible pain. I came near following them. . . . . on the first of January. Ah knew no longer . I wanted to ask that young girl to marry me. How weak a man is sometimes. ! ! .

C. Fortunately for us its side. Translated by H. whither we were bound. 219 . resumed the conversation begun at dinner. so serpent-like trail of black its white surface. who was smoking his cigar with us. now spoke for the first time "You say. was churned into foam by the blades of the propeller. and whose tranquil eyes seemed to retain in their depths something of those strange lands which he had seen one of those men who seem to be fearlessly daring. always surrounded by expression. broken into many rays of light.FRIGHT By 1 GUY DE MAUPASSANT After dinner we again went up on lay the Mediterranean. swift movement of the heavy vessel. A strong man is never frightened 1. I have to differ. that you were frightened. Schweikert. The captain. Before us calm undisturbed by even Our steamer glided along. its silvery the bridge. You use the wrong word for the feeling you experienced on that occasion. made appear as though the very moonlight was boiling. captain. constantly battered by the we were picked up towards evening by an English collier which happened to sight us. one of those having traveled far in danger. in silent admiration. a single ripple." Thereupon a tall man with a tanned face and a serious men who give the impression of unknown lands. casting a long smoke against a sky which seemed Behind us the sea. and it seemed to writhe. "Surely I was frightened that day. our eyes fixed on distant Africa. Here we were. some six or eight of us. stirred by the sprinkled with stars. My ship remained six that it hours with that rock in sea.

A man who believes in and imagines himself seeing a ghost rience fright in all "As about ten years ago. a dreadful sensation. child of the north. or when confronted by inevitable death. but frightened. spirits must expe- fearful horror. from the bridge of a ship. I have certainly had many a narrow escape. And it yet fright as though it is a were gentlemen: among the Orientals life they readily resign themselves. Note counts for nothing. have often been in fights. mysterious influences in the face of unknown perils." The captain replied. one night in taste of fright in I felt it December. "And yet. I ber bands. . or in the presence of any of the known forms of danger it takes an abnormal situation. near the coast of China. I have been left for dead by robI have been condemned to the gallows in America to be hanged as a rebel and I have been thrown into the sea. . Fright (and the hardiest of men can have it) is something horrible. its for myself. "But that was not fright. accepting my fate without comment or even regret. laughing I insist "The devil you say ! that I was a frightened man. of the fantastic terrors of old. the this well. anxious. sunshine dissipates a fog." the man with the bronzed face said. in the presence of He moved. a fearful . many an adventure which pointed to deadly consequences. I in the night had a broad daylight again last winter. "I had a touch of it while in Africa. that's another thing. speaking slowly "Permit me to explain. is agitated. But a brave man does not experience it even in the moment of an attack. Real fright is like a sort of reminiscence the decomposition of the soul. Each time I thought myself lost.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 220 an immediate danger. like Then spasm of the mind and of the heart. the mere memory of which brings shivers of agony.

A part of the Sahara Desert in Algeria. here is what happened to me in that land of Africa: "I was crossing the broad sand dunes in the south of That is one of the strangest countries in the Ouargla. stopping entirelv. near us. On this raging sea. in a direction which we could not make out. climbing without end. each one different. and heaving as though they had just been unchained. but they do not know what fright is. the devouring sun of The traveler must the south beats down remorselessly. imagine a silent tempest of motionless waves of yellow sand. all of us stopped.FRIGHT 221 nights are clear. "There were two of us. tired out. we remained motionless. They are as world. sinking to their knees. Well. roll. We no longer talked. picture the ocean itself in the midst of a storm suddenly become sand. gave a sort of cry. In the East men know panic. Native horse soldiers serving in the French army in Algeria. the mysterious drum of the dunes the beating was distinct. surprised by an inexplicable phenomenon known only to travelers in those desert lands. then resuming its fantastic . we heard the beating of a drum. larger and larger. high as mountains. now weaker. without shade. and dry Suddenly one of our men as the desert itself with thirst. without rest. come down again. 2 "And You have seen the smooth sand on the interminable beaches of the ocean. J : >. acompanied by eight spahis 3 and four camels with their drivers. . and slipping as they go down the other side of these peculiar hills. these waves. climb these billows of golden ashes. go up. "Somewhere. silent and motionless. 2. unequal. weakened by the heat. myself and a friend. The horses pant. now strong. and free of the somber anxieties which harass the imagination of the people of northern climes. with furrow-like streaks on their surface.

beneath an arch of fir-trees through which the howling wind roared. that drum ceaselessly kept filling my ears with its monoto* nous noise. true fright.' And behold. continued the echo of the beating of that strange drum. looked at each other. generally attribute it to an enlarged echo. 'Death is upon us. No What was one knows. . and I began of a sudden fell to feel glide into my bones fright. six hundred miles from the nearest French village. in a forest in the northeast of France. all in his my companion and friend. Monsieur. hideous fright. intermittent and incomprehensible. but that drum ? The traveler replied "I know nothing about it. almost my brother. immeasurably swelled by the hollows of the dunes. frightened. Night two hours before its time because the sky was guide was a peasant who walked at my side.. Between the tops fell overcast. often surprised by that singular sound. along a very narrow path. knew it even better on another occasion. That's all. from sunstroke. "I go on to my second experience. there in the presence of the dead body of in that sun-scorched trough. a sort of hail of grains of sand carried by the wind and thrown against tufts of dried grass for it has been remarked that the phenomenon is produced in the vicinity of small plants parched by the sun and hard as parchment. "It was last winter. "That day I understood what it was to be frightened. one said own language. from his horse. head forward. it ?" Officers. multiplied. My . while here. . between four hills of sand.. my beloved friend. "For two hours.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 222 "The Arabs. "This drum is therefore nothing more than a sort of mirage of sound. But this I learned only later. during which I tried in vain to save him." The captain I interrupted the story-teller "Pardon.

guard whose house was not very far away. "An old white-haired man. and since that time he seemed melancholy. in a tone which almost made me smile . the wall and ordered women ' The old man my room placed his weapon against to be made ready and . muttering. Then a man's voice. I am night. as the did not budge he said to me. a loaded gun in his hands. expecting him again tonight!' "And he added. "My guide every now and then raised his eyes. At times. stood in the middle of the kitchen awaiting us. the whole forest bowed down in the same direction. while two husky fellows. nor around me. We entered.FRIGHT 223 I saw the scattered clouds sweep by. asked 'Who's there ?' My guide gave his name. a choked voice. wild-eyed. clouds distracted. We were answered by the shrill cries of women. In the dark corners I made out two women on their knees. and the cold penetrated me in spite of my rapid pace and my heavy clothing. gruffly 'You see. and the trees clashing with one another filled the night with a ceaseless rumble. as though fleeing before something fearful. their faces turned towards the wall. "It was pitch dark. as though haunted by the memory of his act. "They explained. guarded the door. with a groan as of suffering. I killed a man. I was going there to hunt. hit by a strong gust. At last I saw a light and presently my companion was knocking at a door. armed with axes. two years ago toLast year he came back and called my name. 'Miserable weather !' Then he spoke to me about the people to whose house we were going. His two married sons lived with him. The father had killed a poacher two years before. Monsieur. "We were to have supper and lodging at the home of a forest. The picture before us was one we shall never forget. I saw nothing in front of me.

erect on his feet as though haunted by a vision. and succeeded somewhat in calming nearly all of them. Tired of witnessing these foolish fears. I was once more going to try to calm them when the sleeping dog roused himself abruptly. but he remained motionless. shaggy-haired blind. stretching out his neck. he gave forth one of those mournful howls which so ! ! . pleased to have come could witness this display ot I told stories.' And the two women. began to howl with the dog. fearful. "Outside the furious storm beat upon the little house. The guard. unknown. "In spite of my efforts I could feel that a profound terror gripped these people. no doubt. and through a narrow window. a confusion of trees jostled about by the wind. both utterly distracted. a sort of peep-hole placed near the door.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 224 " 'So we are not very calm. often startle travelers at night in the country. and every time I stopped speaking every ear was turned as though to catch a distant sound. gazing into the fire with his dimmed eyes. "In spite of myself I felt a cold shiver between my shoul- . raising his head. his nose between his paws. pale.. hiding their faces and the sons again took up their axes. "Near the fireplace an old dog. I was about to ask to be shown to my room. cried: 'He scents him! He scents him! He was there when I killed him. because his hair was bristling. and.' "I removed his fears as best on just this evening. one of those dogs who seemed and almost someone to resemble whom we know. All eyes were centered on him. again seized his gun. I saw every now and then. when the old guard made a sudden bound from his chair. superstitious terror. and began to howl towards some invisible object. in the flashes ot the lightning. lay asleep. when I I could. and exclaimed in Here he is I hear a wild and broken voice: 'Here he is him!' The two women again fell to their knees in their corners.

there The old' . and we remained in more terrifying. was frightful to see. some being scraped against the wall passed against then we heard nothing for about two minutes. it the door.FRIGHT ders. upset at the least noise. there was a light scratching. "So for an hour the dog howled without moving. Suddenly all of us a spell of silence even together gave a start. and. and the body. the soul. then it came back. alert. that I was near collapsing. know ? It was fright. a plaintive murmur. an indistinct sound. outcome. spellbound by an unspeakable terror. on the outside in the direction of the forest . The 225 sight of that animal in that position at that hour. such as a child might make with its nails then all of a sudden a head appeared against the glass of the peep-hole. pale. Fright of what? Do I terrible fright. Presently my "The dog immediately became quiet. unable to move or to say a word. took hold of me. I felt such a depression of the heart. groping along as with a hesitating hand . Quickly the sons rushed' forth and stopped up the pe^p-hole by putting the table against it. with beating heart. which I was not expecting. he pitched the animal out. a white head with two glistening eyes like those of a deer. continually grazing the wall. ready to die" from fright. that's all. he howled like someone in the agony of a dream. sniffing the That beast drove us mad guide grabbed him in a sort of paroxysm of furious terror. buttressing it with the sideboard. and fright. . kitchen. And the dog began to walk around the room. which almost drove us insane. And I vow that at the crash of the gun-shot. "Then was the noise of a great explosion in the guard had fired. "We remained there until dawn. walls and growling constantly. And a sound came from its mouth. awaiting some ghastly in the midst of those excited people. "We remained motionless. opening a door which gave upon a small court.

against the door. then he added "That night. his jaw shattered by a bullet.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 226 "We did not dare to free the door of its barricade until we saw through a crack at the top a thin ray of daylight." . "At the foot of the wall. yet I should rather experience again every hour in which I was confronted with the most terrible perils than that single minute of the shot of that gun at the bearded head against the peep-hole. the old dog lay. "He had escaped from the yard by digging a hole beneath the fence." The man with the tanned face stopped talking. however. I ran no risk of danger.

John Galsworthy and printed by permission of the publisher. Sauvage. Translated by Mrs. Every Sunday he met there a little round and jovial man. a haberdasher of Rue Notre Dame de Lorette. when the young sun was raising a faint mist above the quiet-flowing river. Sauvage. For before the war Morissot had been in the habit of starting out at dawn every Sunday. rod in hand. This was M. rod in hand. and fish till night. and the sewers depleted of their rats. M. On spring mornings. A town six miles out from Paris. New 2. But they understood each other admirably without words. York. and a tin box on his back. and in this manner had become fast friends. 1. They would often pass half the day side by side. Strolling sadly along the outer boulevard on a fine January morning. also a perfect fanatic at fishing. From Yrette and Other Stories. famished. feet dangling above the stream.TWO FRIENDS By 1 GUY DE MAUPASSANT Paris was blockaded. 2 get out at Colombes. and his stomach empty. then go on foot as far as the Island of Marante. Some days they did not talk. and stopped. with his hands in the pockets of his military trousers. 007 . at the last gasp. Morissot. for their tastes and feelings were identical. Alfred A. He would take the train to Argenteuil. an acquaintance he had made out fishing. Knopf. this M. caught sight of a friend. and a man of his ease when he had the chance. Sparrows were scarce on the roofs. a watchmaker by profession. other days they did. Every mortal thing was being eaten. The moment he reached this Elysium of his dreams he would begin to fish. about ten o'clock.

the horizon flaming. the whole river stained with color. and remark: "What a sight!" and Morissot. strolling along the pavement. murmured: "Nice stances. They moved on. Or in autumn. would reply ecstatically: "Bit better than it is in town. were turned to gold. ily. Sauvage would reply: "Couldn't be jollier!" It was quite enough to make them understand and like each other. M. took an absinthe together. already russet and shivering at the touch of winter. ruminative. isn't it heavenly?" and M. quavered out: "And what weather! Today's the first fine day this year!" The sky was indeed quite blue and full of light. Sauvage. not taking his eyes off his float. they shook hands heartmoved at meeting again in such different circumM. Suddenly Morissot halted: "Another nip?" he said. to whose light-headedness this warmth was . sad. and a soft breeze caressed their faces.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 228 and blessing the backs of those two passionate fishermen with a pleasant warmth. when our two friends looked as red as fire. side by side. very gloomy. Sauvage. M. eh? What jolly times we used to have!" "Ah !" muttered M. and started off once more. They came to out rather light-headed. Sauvage. Sauvage would look smilingly at Morissot. "WT hen shall we go fishing again?" They entered a little cafe. towards sunset. "Right-o!" responded M. and the trees. heaving a sigh. affected by so much alcohol on their starving stomachs. Morissot pursued his thought: "And fishing. And in they went another wine-shop. Sauvage. The day was mild. quite state of things!" Morissot. when the blood-red sky and crimson clouds were reflected in the water. eh?" Having made sure of each other. Morissot would murmur to his neighbor: "I say.

traversing the abandoned village of Colombes. mut"The Prussians are up there!" And disquietude tered: countryside . at our island. gave them leave. An hour later they were marching along the high road. M." "All right Morissot answered. yet invincible. bringing famine. They came presently to the villa occupied by the Colonel. close to to let us pass. and. but they had felt them there for months. they set off again. found themselves at the edge of It the little vineyard fields that run down to the Seine. much amused by their whim. all around Paris. I know Colonel Dumoulin he'll be sure . The heights of Orgemont and Sannois commanded the whole the great plain stretching to Nanterre was empty.TWO FRIENDS 229 putting the finishing touch. quivering with eagerness I'm on !" And they parted. tious The Prussians invisible. opposite. two friends. Sauvage jerking his thumb towards the heights. sacring. Morissot stammered: some?" ! "I say a sort of supersti- their hatred for this — suppose we were to meet . The village of Argenteuil. masstole into the hearts of the serted land. who. : was &bout eleven o'clock. And furnished with his permit. The French outposts are Colombes. looking at that deThey had never seen any. bringing ruin to France. pillaging. utterly empty of all but its naked cherry-trees and its gray earth. terror unknown and And went surging through victorious race. stopped short: "I say —suppose !" we go "What d'you mean?" "Fishing!" "Where?" "Why. They soon passed the outposts. to get their fishing gear. seemed quite deserted.

! and looked as if it M. and the moment they reached the bank plumped down amongst some ! . taking cover behind every bush. osiers. Sauvage replied: "We'd give 'em some fried fish. But suddenly a dull boom." None the less. But we At last M. They plucked up spirit again. "Come on !" must keep our eyes skinned They got down into a vineyard. they hesitated to go further. thought of nothing. The bombardment had begun again. Morissot the second. and began to fish. they heard nothing. In front of them the Island of Marante. showing a white plume high up an ashy puff just belched forth. Away above the bank he could see on the left the great silhouette of Mont Valerien. all eyes and ears. were lost to the world. where they crept along. The good sun warmed their shoulders. gudgeon. Truly a miraculous draught of fishes the first and every minute they kept pulling They placed their spoil carefully in a very fine-meshed net suspended in the water at their feet. in their lines with a little silvery creature wriggling at the end. They fished. daunted by the silence all round. closed. bent double.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 230 With that Parisian jocularity which nothing can repress M. which seemed to come from underground. uninhabited. hid them from the far bank. The little island restaurant was footsteps. Morissot turned his head. utterly alone. — . Sauvage caught had been abandoned for years. and were filled by the delicious joy that visits those who know once more a pleasure of which they have been deprived too long. Morissot glued his ear to the ground for any sound of Nothing They were alone. made the earth tremble. Sauvage took the plunge. There was still a strip of open ground to cross before they could get to the riverside they took it at the double.

to girls. narrow creatures. and laughed. there was surely someone coming up behind them. M.TWO FRIENDS 231 Then a second spurt of smoke shot up from the fort's summit. "That's life!" declared M. Sauvage cut him short. Then more and more. of wounds that would never a dream. Sauvage. Sauvage. "The Republic would never " have declared war Morissot broke in: "Under a monarchy you get war against your neighbors. Turning their eyes they s^iw. to many life. of mother*. killing each other like that!" out: !" said M. under a republic war amongst "Worse than the beasts busy with a fish. They both gave a sudden start. too. opening beings. and made a crown of cloud. and he growled Morissot. Sauvage shrugged his shoulders. crush- many many a hoped-for happiness. And Mont with ing Valerien thundered without ceasing. who was anxiously watching the bobbing of his was seized with the sudden fury of a man of peace against these maniacs battering at each other." And they began tranquilly discussing and unravelling momentous political problems with the common sense of two gentle. "At it again !" he its said. And Morissot. . — yourselves. and some seconds afterwards was heard the roar of the gun. float. "I should call it death. so long as we have governments. that Man would never be free. pounding out a longed-for joy. added: "It'll always be like that. shattering its shells human the homes of France. who agreed at any rate on this one point." said Morissot. Every minute the hill shot forth deadly breath. putting an end to everywhere. "Idiots I call them." M. in the hearts of wives. heal. in my opinion. sighed out milky vapors that rose slowly to the calm heaven.

smoking a great porcelain pipe. Now "I see listen to . smiled. The rods fell from their hands and floated off downstream. said in excellent French: "Well. dressed in a sort of servant's livery. If you refuse. But. I take you. four big bearded men. and keep cool. wi^h flat caps on their heads. the two friends were silent. The Prussian. and said: "Think! In five minutes you'll be at the bottom of that river. seeing that you passed through your outposts. without a word. you can go home quite easy in your minds. That's war. You've got families. the better to disguise your plans. The officer continued: "No one will ever know. I regard you two as spies sent to watch me. bound. you must assuredly have been given the password to get back again. calm as ever. Behind the house that they had thought deserted they perceived some twenty German soldiers. . gentlemen. Whereupon a soldier laid at his officer's feet the net full of fish. side by side. But we've other me. Choose. A sort of hairy giant. In five minutes. which he had carefully brought along. Give it me. and I shoot you. it will be all right. I suppose?" Mont Valerien went on thundering. but their hands kept jerking with little nervous movements. You've fallen into my hands so much the worse for you." Livid. four men. The Prussian — not bad. thrown into a and taken over to the island. what luck fishing?" boat. it's death instant death.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 232 standing close to their very elbows. and I'll let you go. stretched out his hand towards the water. — staod there silent. they were seized. pointing rifles at them. In a few seconds. The two fishermen fish to fry. and sitting astride of a chair. You were pretending to fish." They remained motionless.

foot by a trembling that they could not "Fire !" to control. Then the Prussian took M. Then he moved his chair so as not to be too near his prisoners. The officer said: "I give you one minute. His men dispersed. The officer gave a : word of command. Sauvage did not reply. Morissot made no answer. took Morissot by the arm. still full of life. drawing him aside. . The sunshine was falling on that glittering heap of fishes. spun round. whom thev carried to the ." They grasped each other's hands. Sauvage!" he stammered out. all effort his eyes with tears. Sauvage fell forward like a log. Sauvage apart. took their stand twenty paces away. torn across the chest. Sauvage answered: "Adieu. They came back with ropes and stones. M. wavered." And. "Quick.TWO FRIENDS 233 The German gave an order in his own language. and came down across his comrade. which they fastened to the feet of the two dead friends. M. M. not a second more. The soldiers raised their rifles. Once again they were side by side. and grounded arms. The German gave another order. and. the taller. Morissot. It will only look as if I'd relented. he approached the two Frenchmen. Morissot. that password. Twelve shots rang out as one. cried the officer. At that moment Morissot's glance lighted on the net full of gudgeons lying on the grass a few paces from him. filled His In spite of spirit sank. getting up abruptly. Your friend need never whispered know. his face upturned to the sky blood spurted from his tunic. and asked him the same question. shaken from head "Adieu. M. M. Twelve men came forward.

The bodies. The officer. But suddenly catching sight of the net full of gudgeons on the grass. Sauvage. swung violently to and fro. And First-rate like that !" he went back to his pipe. And Mont Valerien never ceased rumbling. said quietly: "It's the fish who've got the luck now !" and went back towards the house. and called out: "Wilhelm!" A soldier in a white apron came running up. calm as ever. then plunged upright into the river. smiled. two others laid hold of M. Two of the soldiers took Morissot by the head and heels. where the stones dragged them down feet first. The water splashed up. were hurled forward. A few bloodstains floated away out there. and tiny waves rippled out towards the banks. wrinkled. The Prussian threw him the spoil of the two dead fishermen. .FRENCH SHORT STORIES 234 river bank. then fell calm again. "Get these little affairs fried at once while they're still alive. crowned now with piled-up clouds of smoke. bubbled. looked it over. described a curve. he took it up.

discussing the different no conclusion himself. standing with his back to the baffled Paris." The magistrate turned toward her "Yes. Cloud. Monsieur Bermutier. remarked. No one know. an officer appointed by the court to make an impara crime. but Several torturing to women had them risen to like hunger. Exam- circle ining Magistrate/ as he gave his version of the mysterious affair at St. come closer and remained standing. by the greedy and insatiable need of excitement which haunted their souls. will ever the others. it from the impenetrable circumstances which Translated by Louis LaCroix. thrilled by their curious fear. One of them. In France. their eyes fixed on the clean-shaven mouth of the magistrate from which fell the grave words. tial investigation of 3. spoke. paler than moment of silence: "It's frightful. town some A miles away from 235 Paris. it has no connection here. opinions. madame. . 3 For a month this inexplicable crime No one understood it. summing up the coming fire- proof. during a It verges on the supernatural.THE HAND 1 By GUY DE MAUPASSANT We formed a around Monsieur Bermutier. We are in the presence of a crime very well known. but so completely enveloped in mystery that it is impossible to disentangle 1. 2. it is probable that we shall never know anything about it. place. They shivered and shuddered. As for the word 'supernatural' which you just used. very commonly enacted.

assassinations which take on the proportions of massacres. He continued: "Don't think. though. even for a moment. We find there the most striking cases of vengeance imaginable. it is particularly the surrounding circumstances. But I had to follow up an affair once where truly there seemed to be an element of the fantastic.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 236 surround it. we use simply the word 'inexplicable. A vendetta is the mode of self-redress by which fellow-kinsmen were bound to take vengeance for any personal injury done to a member of their clan or family. 5. execrable ruses. For two years I heard speak of nothing but the price of blood. as an Examining Magistrate should smile. some ferocious. through lack of means to solve it. allayed for a while. The capital of Corsica." Several of the ladies said at once. and deeds that are almost glorious. on his descendants and his to be ! 4. It had abandoned^ moreover. I believe in normal causes only." Monsieur Bermutier smiled gravely. which stirred me. . the preparatory circumstances.' that would be much better. that I was able. The island of Corsica is a province of France. some dramatic to the utmost. instead of employing the word 'supernatural' to express that which we do not understand. here are the facts: "I was the Examining Magistrate at Ajaccio. But if. At all events. in the affair about which I am going to tell you. to persuade myself to believe there was anything superhuman in this adventure. 4 a little white village nestling picturesquely on the edge of a gulf. some heroic. but never extinct. of that terrible Corsican custom which seeks to revenge every injury on the person of him who committed it. "My special business there was an investigation of the 5 activities connected with the vendettas. surrounded on all sides by high mountains. speaking so quickly that their voices sounded as one: "Oh tell us about it. One finds some of these feuds superb. hatreds a hundred years old. In fine.

itself.THE HAND saw old men 237 and children. coming out only to hunt and to fish. v He spoke to no one. hired as he passed through Marseilles. The largest port in southern France and the point of departure for Corsica. begging Sir John Rowell to accept the dead bird. never came to town. more general. "I waited a long time for an opportunity. together with head was full of such stories. 6 "Soon every one busied himself about this strange individual who lived all by himself. My dog it.. and I I resolved to try to see this stranger began hunting regularly in the vicinity of his estate. "One day I learned that an Englishman had just leased for several years a little villa just back from the gulf. Some even supplied kin. The gossip ran that he was a man of high rank who had fled his country for political reasons. in It presented the form of a partridge which I shot and under the very nose of the Englishman. . killed fetched 6. but of him. He went by the name of Sir John Rowell. finally. "He became the subject of queer stories. practiced shooting with the pistol and the rifle. I their blood relations. and every morning. but I as quickly seized the fowl and went to excuse my impropriety. but in truth. myself. "However. "So I contented myself with merely keeping a close watch. for an hour or two. butchered. grew more sweeping.. nothing seemed to justify a suspicion I information about the man. My the horrible details. as the rumors about him continued.. "As Examining Magistrate wanted to get hold of some it was impossible to learn anything. He had brought with him a French domestic. and some insisted that he had committed a terrible crime and was hiding.

smoking a pipe. black silk embroidLarge yellow flowers bedecked the somber ered with gold. too. He did not have to ask me twice.' "He smiled: " 'Oh no. had none of the reputed British stiffness. a sort of Hercules. in the Indies. shining like fire.' "And he spoke of weapons. elephants. "He received me with all the meticulous courtesy of the English. very tall. he gave me the most curious details about hunting hippopotami. " 'Those are all formidable animals. "So I asked him. . " 'I've hunted men a great deal. cloth. He well proportioned. with much precaution. and even about hunting gorillas. placid and polite. I greeted him and he invited me in to have a glass of beer with him.' burst into a laugh. spoke in glowing terms of France and of Corsica. He continued: of a big. He added laughingly " 'I've had many adventures. him I noticed on a chair in his garden. red beard. "I remarked: and his experiences. as I passed by his house. In the course of a month we had conversed five or six times.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 238 "He was a big man with red hair. "Finally one evening. in America. oh! out' "Then I resumed the conversation about hunting. tigers. asking me into the house show me his collection of guns of various makes. under the semsitting straddle blance of lively interest. declaring that he greatly liked this country and this coast. telling me that he had traveled much in Africa. The most formidable ! "He is man. and he hastened to thank me for my courtesy in a French strongly marked with an English accent. - to "His living room was draped in black. several questions about his life He answered me without embarrassment. the hearty laugh contented Englishman.

approached it. On a square of red velvet a black object dangled. "I asked: "'What's that?' "The Englishman answered calmly: " 'That was my most formidable enemy. unusually long. the muscles exposed. It was cut off with a sword and the skin torn off with a sharpened stone and dried in the sun for eight days. that was/ "I touched this bit of human debris. with yellow fingernails. yes but I was stronger than . but a shriveled-up I black hand.' "The Englishman answered calmly: " 'Oh. It comes from America. white and clean. Oh. with traces of dried clots of blood on the bones.' "I thought that he was joking. the hand will not run . which must have belonged to a colossus. about the middle of the forearm. that was all right for me. ' 'That chain awav. I have put on that chain to hold him. he. attaching this ghastly ring strong enough to hold an elephant in leash. The fingers. That hand was a fearful thing to look at.' is quite useless I continued: now. skinned like that. "Around the wrist a heavy iron chain was riveted and member to the wall by a soldered.' "In the center of the largest panel a strange thing attracted my eye. It very naturally made one think of some savage kind of vengeance.THE HAND "He 239 explained: " 'This is a Japanese tapestry. the hand of a man. Not the hand of a skeleton. it was a hand. which were cut bluntly as by the stroke of an ax. were held by enormous tendons which still retained strips of skin in places. "I said: ' 'That man must have been very strong.

stood outside the door. weeping. horrible fright. asking myself " 'Is he crazy. "Upon entering the living room of Sir John Rowell the first thing which met my eyes was the corpse. together with the president of the police board and the chief of police. in the middle of the "The vest was floor. and benevolent. The valet. toward the end November.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 240 "Sir John Rowell resumed gravely: " 'It has constantly threatened to run away. too. "The Englishman had been strangled! His face. torn. to his presence. "A half hour later I entered the house of the Englishman.. a detached sleeve hung loose. closed tight. j . but he was of innocent. calm. At first I suspected him. no longer the special object of attention to he was any one. I spoke of other things. "The guilty party has never been found. and everything indicated that a terrible struggle had taken place. "I visited him several times more. or just a morbid joker?' "But his face remained impenetrable. my servant awoke me with the news that Sir John Rowell had been assassinated during the night. stretched on its back. as though the man lived in constant fear of beingattacked. was dreadful and seemed to show signs of a Between his teeth. that on the table there were three loaded pistols. "A whole year elapsed. black and swollen. But one morning. he held something and in his neck were five holes which seemed made with points of steel and were covered with blood. distracted and in despair. The community became accustomed Then I stopped going. is That chain necessary/ "I glanced inquiringly at the expression on his face. "I noticed. and admired his guns.

"He went to bed very late and carefully locked himself in. The broken chain crept over me. and detached. He always kept weapons at hand.THE HAND "A doctor joined us. He 241 examined for a long time the torn flesh where the fingers had plowed through. "Then I stooped over the corpse and noticed. . We discov- door had been broken. in a few words. one. No clue was found. is the deposition of the servant: "For a month his employer had seemed troubled. "I told the magistrates and the officers of the police what I knew about the dead man. "Often. cut. no window. "Here. and a minute inquiry was made on the whole island. all of which he burned immefurniture. "Then. Often. in a fit of anger which bordered on madness. he spoke out loud as though he were quarreling with some. He suspected no one. "This particular night. It I only dangled there. in the mouth. at night. at the very hour of the crime. no one knows how. one night. He had received many letters. he struck with fury the shriveled hand fastened to the wall. and spoke these strange words: " 'It looks as though he had been strangled by a skeleton^' "A chill skin torn I cast my eyes on the wall. had seen that horrible hand with the was no longer there. held tightly. It seemed to me that I saw the hand. diately. and it was only when he came to open the windows that the servant found Sir John Rowell assassinated. or rather sawed off by the teeth at the second joint. one of the fingers of that vanished hand. no The two watch-dogs had not been awakened. No investigation. three months after the crime. I had a fearful nightmare. "Then we proceeded with the ered nothing. he had made no noise. however. taking a riding-whip. and where at the spot off.

" The women were aghast. for we had been unable to locate his family. on the tomb of Sir John Rowell." smiling. of course. "There. three times I went back to sleep. I have been unable to understand. the remaining hand. concluded: my explanation would . run like a scorpion or a spider along my my Three times I awoke. it women remarked slowly could hardly have been that." air of seriousness prevent your having bad was simply that the legitimate owner of the hand was not dead that he came back to get it with "Oh." One of the "No. three times I saw that hideous hand gallop around my room. it . "The next day it was brought to me. you have my story." The Examining Magistrate. still "I told you at the beginning that not satisfy you. having been found in the cemetery. moving its fingers like claws. One of them exclaimed "But that is not a denouement. In that respect it is a sort of ven- detta. you do not tell us what your theory shall not sleep if The magistrate smiled with an We is. trembling. The index finger was missing.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 242 that horrible hand. or an explanation. who was buried there. though. it. pale. I know nothing more curtains and about walls. how he did it. dreams. ladies. I think I shall ladies.

While yet a boy he went to Lyons and later to Paris. This association gave Daudet's charming personality an opportunity to manifest itself. even burlesques them. a district of southern France. and at times he Zola. Fortunately Daudet did not allow this feeling to carry him over into mere rhapsody. the Goncourt brothers. Tartarin de Taraseon. However. one of the very best pieces of humor that France has produced. but his realism was tempered by a highly colored imagination and a nature that was essentially emotional. in 1840. This he achieved by actually putting himself into the environment which he tried to present. His realism shows perhaps best in the vivid local color with which he surrounds many of his plots. in order to write The Letters from My Mill a series of sketches and short stories about that part of Provence in which Nimes is located he lived for a time in an old windmill near that city. For instance. He saw the humorous side of his fellow Provencals. one of the most influential journals of Paris. like nearly all of his contemporaries. in spite of the many years in Paris. — — 243 . He was for many years connected with Le Figaro. and much of his characteristic work deals with the life and people of a part of France which has lingered gently within the borderland of romance.. This is true of his best known long story. where he eventually received his first recognition as a writer. Daudet was a realist. Daudet never outgrew his love for his native Provence. This book includes some of his best stories. and he became a member of the select circle of literary men which included Flaubert. and others. such as The Death of the Dauphin.DAUDET (1840-1897) Alphonse Daudet was born in Provence. Owing to family misfortunes his education was irregular.

and of this he tells with remarkable vividness and striking originality in the Siege of Berlin. . at least two of his longer novels. and no native Alsatian could exceed Daudet in the feeling of despair which he expresses in The Last Lesson. and his stories are among the finest that were produced in a language and a literature second to none in this particular form of fiction.244 FRENCH SHORT STORIES a story full of tears. he was profoundly touched by the fate of Alsace. Besides a number of short stories on this thenie. Like all his countrymen. both printed in this volume. and The Pope's Mule and The Reverend Father Gaucher's Elixir. Owing to his own early life he always becomes intensely emotional when writing about the afflictions of childhood. The story mentioned first also illustrates Daudet's fondness for portraying child life. so it is no wonder that the Franco-Prussian War entered into his work. He always got his material from his immediate surroundings. are elaborations of the same idea. as it did into that of so many of his contemporaries. where he died on December 16. Daudet is at his best in the short story. Le Petit Chose and Jack. He was in Paris at the time o*f the siege. 1897. Daudet spent most of his life in Paris. one of the stories selected for this volume. two of his most effective short pieces of humor.

who. 245 Copyright. what requisitions made. and hurried on to school. ! they . The day was so warm. Meadow. for Monsieur Hamel had told us that he would question us upon participles. "Not You !" enough I believed he was making game of me. exclaimed. Wachter. the blacksmith. Translated by Marian Mclntyre. 1. . was absorbed in reading the notice. school. All these things were far more attractive to me than the rule for the use of participles. And though I did not pause with the rest. the Prussians were drilling. in company with his apprentice. I saw a group of people.* behind the sawmill.THE LAST LESSON 1 By ALPHONSE DAUDET That morning was it quite late before I started for and I was terribly afraid I should be scolded. I wondered to myself. For a moment I thought of escaping from school and roving through the fields. and I was quite out of breath when I entered Monsieur Hamel's small so fast.loitered before the posted upon little grating. by Little. there we learned what orders had issued from headquarters. and I did not know the first thing about them. reading the placards For two years every bit of bad news had been anounced to us from that grating. "What can be the matter now?" As I ran across the square. Brown and Company. so clear The blackbirds were In Rippert whistling on the outskirts of the woods. There we read what battles had been lost. it. child ! will reach school soon domain. As I reached the town hall. 1899. But I mustered up strength to resist temptation.

But when had recovered a little from my fright. his finest 2 frilled shirt. beginning of the session there was usually it could be heard as far as the street. with his three-cornered hat. Usually they were empty. I need not tell you that I grew red in the face. my little Franz. There sat old Hauser. which he wdre only on inspection days. Desks were opened and shut. Moreover. I must open that door. each of us stopping his ears that he might hear better. and his embroidered black silk calotte. an extraordinary solemnity had taken possession of my classmates. or upon those occasions when prizes were distributed." I climbed over the bench. and he would say. but upon this morning the villagers were seated there. I noticed that our master had donned his beautiful green frock-coat. strangely enough. But. at the such an uproar that "Silence!" I counted upon making usual babel and reaching my entrance in the midst of the my seat unobserved. his formidable this particular reigned. "Take your seat quickly. But the greatest surprise of all came when my eye fell upon the benches at the farther end of the room. The skull-cap worn by teachers. solemn as ourselves.. . Sabbath stillness Through the open window I could see that my comrades had already taken their seats. passing back and forth. as Monsieur Hamel scrutinized me. I could see Monsieur Hamel himself. iron ruler under his arm. all shouting together. I must enter in the midst of that deep silence. and terror seized me.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 246 Now. the aged I 2. He said very gently. there sat the venerable mayor. there was no anger in his gaze. We were going to begin without you. and seated myself. Then the master's big ruler would descend upon his desk. but upon morning all was hushed. lessons recited at the top of our voices.

made me forget all the blows of his ruler. seemed now to wear the faces of old friends. the thought that he was about to leave. Today you hear the last lesson you will receive in French. and I beg you will be most attentive. his big spectacles reposing upon the page. . "My children. While I was wondering at all these things.THE LAST LESSON 247 and other personages of importance. river in Alsace-Lorraine. every lesson I had missed for the sake of hunting birds' nests or making slides upon the Saar! 4 And those books which a moment before were so dry and dull. Monsieur Hamel had taken his seat. How I grudged at that moment every minute I had lost. that I should see him no more. The order has come from Berlin that henceforth in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine 3 all instruction shall be given in the German tongue only. my Bible-history. My education must be cut short. my grammar. this is the last day I shall teach you. and now I began to understand why the villagers had gathered at the back of the class-room. It was with them as with Monsieur Hamel. his knees. so heavy to carry. he said to us. All of our seemed sad. visitors I ! j 3. the Two French war 4. chewed at the edges. whom I could not bear to bid farewell." My "last" French lesson And I scarcely knew how to write! Now I should never learn. Poor man! It was in honor of that last session that he was arrayed in his finest Sunday garb. and the many punishments I had received. Your new master will arrive tomorrow. Their presence at such a moment seemed to express regret that they had not visited that school-room of tener it was their way of telling our master they thanked carrier. and in the same grave and gentle tone in which he had greeted me. and Hauser had brought with him an It lay wide open upon old primer. A provinces taken from France by the Germans after of 1870.

! have time enough. but I became entangled in the first few words. So it is We say to ourselves each I name . and remained standing at my seat. you are not the chief culprit. and can neither speak nor write your own language?' And in all this. A sou is worth one cent. my heart swelling. was addressing me. or tilling the soil. I what was my conscience in the least disturbed when gave you a holiday?" One topic leading to another. my poor Franz. clearest. which we must keep as our heritage. "Your parents have not shown enough anxiety about having you educated. would I not have given then. Each of us has something to reproach himself with. most beautiful language in the world. "I shall not chide thee. their respects to the land was busied with these reflections when I heard my Ah! what It was now my turn to recite.' results. 5. for forty years of faithful service. They preferred to see you spinning. 'What! you profess to be Frenchmen.fishing. distinctly. Monsieur Hamel I dared not raise my head. and justly. never allowing it to be forgotten. 'Bah! And now I see trout. it has ever been the greatest misfortune of our Alsace that she was willing to put off learning till Tomorrow! And now these foreigners can say to us. since that brought them in a few more sous. called. I will learn tomorrow. 5 And have I nothing with which to reproach myself ? Did I not often send you to water my garden when you should have been at your tasks? And if I wished to go day. saying it was the strongest. swinging from side to side. . my little Franz thy punishment will be great enough. had I been able to repeat from beginning to end that famous rule for the use of participles loudly. and without a single mistake. Monsieur Hamel began to speak of the French language. Ah.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 248 him and desired to pay whose empire was departing.

his eyes riveted upon each object about him. lesson was followed by writing. she holds the key which shall unlock her prison as long as she preserves her native tongue. and was amazed to see how well I understood. so easy! I had never. motionless in his chair. Remember that for forty years he had been constantly at his post. I knew before he took anxious to impart everything he leave of us. and how silent it was Not a sound save the scratching of pens as they touched our papers. "And must they also be compelled to flags attached to the ! ! German?" From time to time. Everything he said seemed so very simple. and forever. indeed. Alsace! France. and read our lesson to us. "France. some cockchafers entered the room. and I thought to myself as I listened. Then he took a grammar. It really seemed as if the poor man. desired to strike a single blow that might drive all knowledge into our heads at once. facing the same playground. It was good to see how each one applied himself. as if he desired to fix in his mind. but no one paid the least attention to them. sing in looking up from my page. not even the tiniest pupil. For this occasion Monsieur Hamel had prepared some copies that were entirely new. Alsace!" These words were as inspiring as the sight of the tiny rod of our desks. I believe. Once. in that very school-room. every detail of his little school. and upon these were written in a beautiful round his The hand.telling us that THE LAST LESSON 249 when a nation has become enslaved. Little . I saw Monsieur Hamel. and never before had he shown so much patience in his explanations. listened to any one as I listened to him at that moment. for the youngest were absorbed in tracing their straight strokes as earnestly and conscientiously as if these too were written in French On the roof of the schoolhouse the pigeons were cooing softly.

He too was absorbed in his task. and it was so comical to hear him that we all wanted to laugh and to cry at the same moment. Ah never shall had changed. and. had put on his spectacles. at the back of the room. What anguish must have filled the poor man's heart. He was very pale. At the same moment. Bu. . and heard his sister moving to and fro in the room overhead. He could not finish." together. . Bi. his courage did not falter not a single lesson was omitted. and the hop-vine he himself had planted curled its tendrils about the windows. noon. running even to the roof. and then the little ones sang their "Ba. his head resting He did not speak again. and then the Angelus 6 was heard. Monsieur Hamel rose in his chair. never to return. a trumpet-blast under our window announced that the Prussians were returning from drill. 6. After writing came history. was spelling out the letters with the little ones." Catholic devotional exercise repeated at morning. The Angelus is a . his voice trembled with emotion. "My friends " he said. holding his primer in both hands. "my friends I I But something choked him. Bo. is all. You are dismissed. grasping it with all his strength. Old Hauser. and. Then he took a piece of chalk.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 250 The desks and benches were polished and worn. wrote in his largest hand. but a motion of against the wall. busied in fastening their trunks! For on the morrow they were to leave the country. hand "That his said to us. through long use the walnut-trees in the playground had grown taller. ! I forget that last lesson ! Suddenly the church clock struck twelve. as he thought of leaving all these things. ——— — "Vive la France He !" remained standing at the blackboard. but never before had he seemed to me so tall as at that moment. Be. and sunset upon the ringing of the church bell. Nevertheless.

though he knows his Provencal legends to the tips of his fingers. 1899. and why she kept her kick for seven years. my old fife-player. but he had never heard of it otherwise than as a proverb. admirably stocked. they say. Daudet lived in an old windmill near Nimes when he wrote this 3. Francet thought. 251 Italy. I shut myself up there for over a week. not even Francet Mamai. what that Pope's mule was." said the old man. Locusts." I tried for a long time to find out whence that proverb came. Copyright. I know of — none more picturesque. No one could give me any information on the subject. adages. A In the 14th century the popes lived Avignon after they had been exiled from 4. 2. wonderful library. by Little. "That fellow distrust him he's like the Pope's mule who kept her kick for seven years. proverbs. laughing. or more peculiar than this: for around my mill. and served by 1. and as the Grasshoppers' Library is close at my door. 2 when they speak of a spiteful and vindictive man. . Brown and Company. This idea struck me as a good one. and after a week of researches (on my back) I It is a night and day. open to poets 4 little librarians with cymbals who make music for you all the time. I spent some delightful days there. city in southern France.THE POPE'S MULE 1 By ALPHONSE DAUDET Of all the pretty sayings. in story. as I did. that there must be some ancient chronicle of Avignon 3 behind it. Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley. "You won't find it anywhere except in the Grasshoppers' fifteen leagues ! Library. with which our Provencal peasantry decorate their discourse.

came the tick-tack of lace-looms. From morning till night there was nothing but processions. smelling of good dried lavender and tied with the Virgin's threads as they call gossamer in these years. pilgrimages. and the tinkling rattle of the begging friars. and I shall read it yesterday in a manuscript colored by the weather. try to tell it tale is pretty. 5 fifes and tambourines posted themselves on the bridge of Avignon in the fresh breeze of the Rhone. the story of the mule with that famous kick which she kept for seven The though rather naive. the songs of the spinners at their and above all this rose the sound of bells. draped with tapestries. the tap-tap of the goldsmith's chasingtools tapping on the chalices. ing by the Rhone. away down there on when the people Because. ! 5. while from garret to cellar of houses that pressed. long A Provencal dance line. the Pope's soldiers chanting Latin on the squares. and day and night folks danced. no hunger. and as the are in those days the streets were too narrow for the farandole. happy they must dance —they must dance. to you just as I — parts. in ! which the dancers were arranged ! in a . banners in the breeze. streets strewn with flowers. galleys dressed in flags. namely. the excitement of never was a town like it. animation. no war. of certain tambourines coming from bridge of Avignon. festivals. Ah the happy times the happy town Halberds that did not wound. the to-and-fro of shuttles weaving the gold thread of chasubles. the tuning of choir-instruments work and always the echo at the lute-makers. cardinals arrivseen nothing. life. round the great papal palace like bees around their hive. prisons where the wine was put That's how the Popes of the to cool. they danced. Whoso did not see Avignon in the days of the Popes has For gayety. humming.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 252 ended by discovering what I wanted. with us.

and never a Jeanneton.for the district including Avignon. The good man doted on that animal. his cardinals stretched out beneath the grapevines. he would order a flask of the wine of his own growth to be opened. was his mule. to have. Everj^ evening before he went to bed he went 6. which is now called the Chateau-Neuf des Papes. —the only Jeanneton he was ever known Every Sunday. were you only a poor little gatherer of madder-roots. gazing at his vineyard tenderly. was his vineyard. or the grand provost of the town. Another name . his own little vineyard which he planted himself. he rode back joyously to town. among the myrtles of Chateau-Neuf. set going by the music. that beautiful wine. He was so amiable. paced along to his vineyard. the color of rubies. he gave you his benediction so politely A real Pope of Yvetot. next to his vineyard of Chateau-Neuf. which greatly scandalized the cardinals but made the people say: "Ah! the good prince! Ah! the !" kind Pope What the Pope loved best in the world. with something delicate in his laugh. the flask empty. while he himself beat time to the dance with his cap. the good man paid court and when he was up there. and he sipped it with sips. sitting in the blessed sun. . his mule near him. the Chapter following. a sprig of sweet marjoram in his cardinal's cap. so affable a prince He laughed so merrily on the back of his mule And when you passed him. ! ! ! of Provence.THE Comtat 6 governed POPE'S their people . but a Yvetot Boniface. after vespers. a good old man called Ah that one. There was one Pope especially. three leagues from Avignon. MULE and that's 253 why their people so deeply regretted them. many were the tears shed in Avignon when he was dead. the day fading. and when he crossed the bridge of Avignon through the tambourines and the farandoles. Then. that good Father. his mule. — in a skipping little amble.

Holy Father. an impudent young rogue. She was a handsome black mule. which gave her the look of a downright good fellow. behold our Tistet approaching him and saying. had led more than one man to fortune.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 254 was locked. One day when his Holiness was riding all alone beneath the ramparts. two long ears. hide shining. in spite of the remarks of his cardinals. with reddish points. sure-footed. for all her innocent look. in point of fact." he stroked her and spoke to her softly as pretty young lady "Come here. and when she passed through the streets there were no civilities that the people did not pay her. the goldsmith. always shaking. and you shall now see what mischief was in it. Ah Pope. for the rascal had a notion in his head about the Pope's mule. and to see if the stable . my pearl — if to a . and that the Pope's mule. for every one knew there was no better way to stand well at court. if nothing was lacking in the manger and never did he rise from the table without seeing with his own eyes the preparation of a great bowl of wine in the French fashion with sugar and spice. whom his father. . what a mule — ! ! ! The Emperor And of Germany hasn't her equal. For six months Tistet dragged his jacket through all the gutters of Avignon. This Tistet Vedene was. silver bells and streamers gentle as an angel withal. with his hands clasped in admiration: "Ah mon Dieu. my jewel. innocent eyes. which he took to his mule himself. had been forced to turn out of his house. carrying proudly her thin little head decked out with pompons and ribbons. Guy Vedene. witness Tistet Vedene and his amazing adventure. because he would not work and only debauched the apprentices. It must be said that the mule was worth the trouble. my treasure. All Avignon respected her. but principally those near the papal palace. back broad and full. what a fine mule you are riding Just let me look at her.

a good warm smell of caramel and spices pervaded the stable. away and the beautiful rosy liquor went down the throats of those young scamps And not only did they steal her wine. but they were like devils. he showed attentions and kindness to none but the mule and he was always to be met with in the courtyards of the palace with a handful of oats. when her nostrils were full of the perfume. said to himself: "What a nice young fellow. Once in the Pope's service. the good Pope. the rascal continued the game he had played so successfully. martyrdom began. Then the poor ani. Nor the mule either. ! that. where no one had ever yet been admitted but sons of nobles and nephews of cardinals. at last. and he entered the household of the Pope. then. That's what intriguing means But Tistet was not satisfied with his yellow jacket for a a purple silk hood. One pulled her ears. who felt as if to say: this happened. himself getting old. after they had drunk it. For now. looking after the stable and of carrying to the mule his bowl of wine. how kind he is to my mule!" And the next day what do you think happened? Tistet Vedene changed handsome lace alb. Insolent to every one. shoes with buckles. or a bunch of clover. which did not cause left to Tistet the care of — the cardinals to laugh.THE POPE'S MULE 255 And the good Pope. which kept her warm and gave her wings. soon after. That fragrant wine she loved. shaking its pink at the window of the Holy Father "Hein who's that for. hey ?" Time and again blooms ! so that. those young fellows. and Tistet Vedene appeared bearing carefully the bowl of hot wine. another mal's ! ! . they had the cruelty to bring it into her stall and let her smell of it. quite touched. at the hour her wine was due she beheld half a dozen little pages of the household slipping hastily into the hay with their hoods and their laces and then.

"What's the matter? what are they doing to my mule?" cried the good Pope. what's the matter. He had such cruel ideas and inventions after drink. the Pope's soldiers moving about their barrack like little red ants." "All alone?" ! M . rushing out upon his balcony. a microscopic little bridge on which they were dancing. on her head. indeed on Dieu! what will become of us ? There's your mule gone up to ! the belfry. and not one of the rascals ever thought that with one good kick of her hind-legs the worthy animal could send them all to the polar star. indeed she felt him behind her. too. she was never angry with them only Tistet Vedene whom she hated. her — ! do what they liked. round a corkscrew staircase and climbing I don't know how many steps. high up. He. peak of the two hundred Imagine the thousand Provencal men and women say it. One day he took it into his head to make her go with him into the belfry. dancing.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 256 Quinquet jumped on her back. But no you are not the Pope's mule for nothing that mule The lads might of benedictions and plenary indulgences. ing. terror of that unfortunate mule. while a thousand feet below her she saw a diminutive Avignon. to the palace ! What I am telling you is no tale . bright as a silver thread. all the windows of the palace shook. her hoofs itched it . Ah poor beast what a panic At the cry she gave. and farther still if she chose. she found herself all of a sudden on a platform blazing with light. the booths in the market no bigger than nuts. after turning for an hour. very high up. was when ! and reason enough That good-for-nothing Tistet played her such villainous tricks. "Ah great Holy Father. when. Beluguet put his hat tail. and down there. Tistet Vedene was already in the courtyard pretending to ! ! ! weep and tear his hair. blindly.

At last. The poor mule was in despair. they can be mounted. her four hoofs in the void like a cockchafer hanging to a string..THE POPE'S MULE 257 "Yes. A Provencal expression of pity. was and a for a Pope's herself suspended at that height. Now. but down with 't was can fancy what humiliation it sling. while this notable reception was being made ready for him in the Pope's stable what do you think Tistet Vedene was about? He was descending the Rhone on a papal galley. high Don't you see the tips of her ears pointing out like — up. ! — ! . those things but as for going down why. come down. singing as he went his way to the Court of Naples with a 7. they ! ! . "Ah bandit. she would let the dust of it ! ! . and again she thought of the infamous Tistet and a fine kick of her heels Ah friends.. Look up there. two swallows?" "Mercy!" cried the poor Pope. they are enough to break one's legs a hundred times. raising his eyes. great Holy Father. all alone. what a kick fly at him next day. a derrick. you luckless thing!" Peca'ire! 7 she wanted nothing so much as to come down. if I only escape what a kick tomorrow morning!" That idea of a kick put some courage into her heart without it she never could have held good. and while circling round and round the platform with her big eyes full of vertigo she thought of Tistet Vedene. "Why. She turning round and round that cursed platform while the town laughed below. . swimming And all Avignon looking at her The unfortunate beast could not fancied she was still sleep at night. she must have gone mad She'll kill herself Come down. but how? which way? The stairs? not to be thought of. They You mule to see quite a serious affair. ropes. would be seen as far as Pamperigouste. managed had to save her to get her .

at the end of those seven years. only. no more Beluguet in the stable. since her adventure a certain coldness was shown to her in the town. returning from his vineyard. and the little gavotte step as she crossed the bridge of Avignon. The good old days of the spiced wine came back. Tistet Vedene returned from the Court of Naples. that kick. when you "No matter for that. The good Pope himself no longer had quite the same confidence in his friend. After Tistet's departure the Pope's mule returned to her tranquil way of life and her usual proceedings. and with them good-humor. The mule was the disappointed party on the morrow "Ah! the bandit! he suspected something/' she thought. and especially for the activity he displayed in saving her from her troop of young nobles perilous situation. her long ears quivered. Whisperings were heard as she passed. you!" And she kept it for him. and she struck the iron of her shoes hard upon the pavement with a little snort. but the Pope was bent on rewarding him for the care he had given to his mule. Nevertheless. I'll keep it for get back. scoundrel. and when he let himself go into a nice little nap on her back of a Sunday. shaking her silver you'll find it bells. No more Quinquet. His time was not yet finished over there. whenever the name of Tistet Vedene was uttered in her hearing. but he had heard that the Pope's head mustard-bearer had died suddenly at : . children laughed and pointed to the belfry. he always had this thought latent in his mind "What if I should wake up there on the platform I" The mule felt this. old people shook their heads. Then. Seven years went by. Tistet Vedene was not noble. long siestas.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 258 whom the town of Avignon sent every year to Queen Jeanne to practice diplomacy and fine manners. and she suffered. but said nothing.

what do you want little. ! Tistet Vedene! "Oh! very — I remember." "Ah yes. my son. and could not see much without spectacles. how I pined for her in Italy! Won't you let me see her?" "Yes. And now. he had grown so tall and so stout. from this day I attach you to my person as chief mustard-bearer. Come and see me out. My cardinals will cry I'm used to that. just five years older than your mule. after vespers. and then I will show you the mule and you shall go to the vineyard with — ! us. was not abashed." ! ! "Mustard-bearer. How old are you?" "Twenty-two. that mule of yours? — by Is she well? Ah good I came to ask you for the place of the chief mustard-bearer who lately died. and you shall receive the insignia of your rank in presence of the whole Chapter. what a fine beast she is! If you only knew how I love her. Therefore. you! Why you are too young. great Holy Father you don't remember me Tistet ! I. yes. and as the place seemed back in haste to solicit it. the bye.THE POPE'S MULE Avignon. "And as you love her so much I must have you live near her. Ah! palm of God." said the worthy Pope. "What. illustrious pontiff. that mule. you shall see her. It must also be said that the good Pope himself had grown older. A good little fellow. you know the one that once took the wine to your mule. have you great still Holy Father. It is ? Tistet Vedene. When a 259 good one. I me?" came to ask that of got her. but no matter tomorrow. quite touched. yes." "Vedene?" "Why. I hey hey !" need not tell vou ! if Tistet Vedene was content when he . he hurried Vedene entered the palace the Holy this intriguing Father did not recogize him.

was pre- paring for the ceremony. bearing and handsome face sent a murmur of admiration through the crowd. with their sullen faces. the tips. in order to do honor to his native town. the lower clergy also. and the little clerk judge's gowns. She. On this day. all. Tistet Vedene made his entry into the papal court-yard. it was the mule. the their small miters. in truth. And yet there was one more impatient and more content than he. until vespers on the following day that terrible animal never ceased to stuff herself with oats. he had substi8. The doctor who opposes the candidate for canonization. who walks behind them with naked flagellating friars all. the convent abbots in wardens of Saint-Agrico. firecrackers. All the grand clergy were there. and a dainty The rumor ran that the fingers of Queen Jeanne had some- times played in the curls of that golden beard . and with what impatience he awaited the ceremony of the morrow.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 260 left the palace. on the bridge. and practice her heels on the wall behind her. the cardinals in their red robes. sunshine. when vespers were said. the Sieur de Vedene had the self-glorifying air and the abstracted look of men that queens have loved. but of the blonde type. the Pope's guard in full uniform. the three penitential brotherhoods. the down a bell. and him who puts out the candles was a fine ordination Bells. on the morrow. that looked like slivers of fine metal fallen from the chisel of his father. After Vederie's return. the goldsmith. lights Ah ! 't ! bourines leading the farandole over there. When Vedene appeared in the midst of this great assembly. with thick hair curling at little beard. too. the devil's advocate 8 in black velvet. Well. the hermits of Mont-Ventoux. and always those frantic tam- not one missing. . He was truly a magnificent his fine Provencal. and. music. the violet hoods of the Pope's household. and the man who to the waist. the ruddy sextons in to the givers of holy water.

so terrible that even Pamperigouste the smoke was seen. a la Provengale. out of the corner of his eye to see if the Pope noticed the mule let fly "There. a wooden spoon and a saffron coat. namely. and stopped to give her a friendly pat or two on air. and in his hood there quivered a tall feather Camargue 9 ibis. 9. as he did so. villain! Seven years have I kept it for !" — And she gave him so terrible a kick. ! rancor. a whirlwind of blonde dust. just think she had kept it for him for There is no finer example of ecclesiastical seven years. her heels. in which flew the feather of an ibis. and that was all that remained of the unfortunate Tistet Vedene at Mule kicks are not usually so destructive . saddled and bridled. it. Tistet Vedene smiled pleasantly. and then. As soon as he entered. the back.THE MULE POPE'S 261 tuted for his Neapolitan clothes a tunic edged with pink. The mule was at the foot of the steps. near its mouth. take thee it. but this was a papal mule. glancing. The position was just right. of the the new official bowed with a gallant and approached the high portico where the Pope was waiting to give him the insignias of his rank. as he passed beside her. all ready to go to the vineyard. An island in the Rhone. .

. the abbe began to tell me a tale just a little skeptical and irreverent. after the manner of a story from Erasmus 5 or D'Assoucy. 1. founded in 1120. 3. A district in southern France. 1CV2 . "The great wall and St. ing the story of this elixir is ! Just listen. A liqueur made by the Carthusian monks. with the scrupulous care of a lapidary counting pearls.THE REVEREND FATHER GAUCHER'S ELIXIR 1 BY ALPHOXSE DAUDET "Drink this. a couple of leagues from your mill. like sunshine. U. Isn't it worth all their Chartreuses? 4 And if you only knew how amusis of our Provence/' 2 the . 4. Thereupon quite innocently. 5. thinking no evil. the pride and the health good man informed me triumphantly. It "That warm. . ." And drop by drop. neighbor. warmed my stomach exquisite. 2. A famous Dutch scholar. Father Gaucher's elixir. A burlesque poet of the 17th century. and tell me what you think of it. or rather the White Fathers. had fallen into great poverty. . Pachomius' tower were falling Around the weed-grown cloisters the columns into pieces. in the presbytery dining-room so simple and quiet with its little pictures of the Stations of the Cross and its pretty white starched curtains like surplices. If you had seen their house in those days. An order of Angustinian monks. shimmering. 1465-1536. 6 "Twenty years ago the Premonstratensians. it would have made your heart ache. Translated by William Metcalfe. "It is made at the Premonstratensian 3 convent. the cure of Graveson poured me out two fingers of a golden-green liquor. . as oiy Provencals call them.

who hung down his head as he went. filing sadly past in their patched mantles. "So then. and driving the holy water out of the stoups. a message was brought to the prior that Brother Gaucher asked to be heard before the council. and behind them his lordship the abbot. and the big banner-carriers grinned and whispered to each other. as they pointed at the poor monks niches. ashamed at letting the sun see his crosier with the gilding worn off and his white woolen miter all motheaten. 7. festival of the Roman Catholic church. near its mouth. not a door held fast. pale. each one where he could. the stone saints were crumbling 263 in their Not a window was whole. 8 extinguishing the candles. An A Sunday. Thursday after Trinity . for want of means to buy themselves a bell. and the fathers. The ladies of the confraternity wept in their ranks for pity at the sight. ! " 'Starlings go thin "The when they go in a flock!' fact is that the unfortunate White Fathers were themselves reduced to debating whether they would not be better to take their flight across the world and seek fresh pasture. he spent his days in wandering from arch to arch of the cloisters. 9. breaking the lead of the windows. thin from their diet of pumpkins and melons. driving two scraggy cows. 8. In the garths 7 and chapels the Rhone wind blew as it does in the Camargue. at a Corpus "Poor White Fathers Christi 9 procession. You must understand that this Brother Gaucher was the convent cowherd that is to say. one day when this grave question was being discussed in the chapter. Gardens. Brought up until his twelfth year by an old half. which sought for grass in the crevices of the pavement. island in the Rhone. were FATHER GAUCHER'S ELIXIR splitting. forced to ring to matins with clappers of almondwood I can see them yet.REV. But saddest of all was the convent steeple as silent as a deserted dove-cote.

I might — if I search carefully — recall the composi- . treasurer. in her latter days she compounded an incomparable elixir by blending live or six sorts of simples. prior. and even that he said in Provencal. and his wits were about as sharp as a leaden dagger. 'Your Reverences. 'it's a true saying that empty barrels make the most sound. and then taken in by the monks. I do believe I've found the of our difficulties. though they're soft enough ' already. quite comfortable in his sackcloth. my reverend fathers. called Auntie Begon. is that when Auntie Begon was alive she knew the herbs that grow in the mountains as well and better than any old hag in Corsica. What do you think ? By putting my poor brains to steep. simple and clownish. the — She used to sing some queer songs when she had drink Well. but I think that with the aid of Saint Augustine. with its goatee and its somewhat vacuous eyes. twisting at his olive-stone beads. by the same token. grizzled face appeared. and disciplining himself with strong conviction and such arms "When they saw him enter the chapter-house. And. so Brother Gaucher was not put canons. for he had a thick skull. That's — many a year ago . though somewhat visionary. who took care of way to get us all out You know Auntie Begon. " 'It's this way. what I want to tell you. and salute the assembly with a scrape.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 264 witted woman in Les Baux. about. the good woman me when I was little God rest her soul. That was always the effect produced everywhere that his honest. the unfortunate cowherd had never been able to learn anything except to drive his beasts and to repeat his paternoster. and every one burst out laughing. A fervent Christian.' he said in a good-natured tone.. which we used to go and gather together in the old sinner ! Alpilles. and the permission of our father abbot. for all that.

at the end of six months the White Fathers' elixir was very popular already. FATHER GAUCHERS ELIXIR tion of that mysterious elixir. The prior got up and fell on his neck. what vigils did it cost him? History does not relate. big and little. In all the Comtat. with a monk in ecstasy on a silver label. while isolated ter. the church grand new painted windows. But this much is certain. . Then respectfully kissed the frayed hem of his cowl. . The treasurer. Pachomius' tower was rebuilt. alighted one fine Easter morning. he was never mentioned now in the convent. in all the Aries district not a mas.REV. in order that Brother Gaucher might devote himself entirely to the preparation of his elixir. not a farm-house but had at the backdoor of its spence. among the bottles of wine syrup and j ars of olives picholines. the poor lay brother whose rusticities used to amuse the chapter so. who lived quite from the petty. chiming and pealing in full swing. The canons took him by the hands. Thanks to the vogue of its elixir the house of the Premonstratensians got rich very rapidly. St. They only knew the Reverend Father Gaucher. multifarious occupations of the cloisand shut himself up all day in his distillery. "How did the good brother manage to recall Auntie Begon's recipe? What efforts. and in the fine tracery of the steeple a whole flight of bells. a little brown stone flagon sealed with the arms of Provence. 265 Then we should only have to put it into bottles and sell it a little dear. . . like our brethren at La Trappe and the Grande. each returned to his stall to deliberate and in solemn assembly the chapter decided to entrust the cows to Brother Thrasybulus. The prior got a new miter. . even more deeply moved than any of the others. . a man of brains and ability. "He had not time to finish. . . "As for Brother Gaucher. and the community would be able to get rich at its ease.

!' his Reverence said inwardly and. as often as he did so. . Amid these adulations the Father went his way.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 266 thirty monks scoured the mountains herbs. terrified at his peep of Father Gaucher with his necromancer's beard. You should have seen the reception that he got as he traversed the monastery The brethren lined the evening ! up as he passed. amid the neat flower columns. had the right of entry. looking complacently about him at the wide courts planted with orange-trees. walking two and two with contented " 'They owe all that to me faces. . office. bowing deferentially. in search of his fragrant which no one. . "At close of day. hat with its broad brim on the back of his head like an aureole. Angelus is made his pride rise in a Catholic devotional exercise repeated at morn- and sunset. and his Reverence betook himself to the church for . gigantic alembics. . The ing. upon the ringing of the church bell. ! . fathers' simplicity had made it into a very mysterious and formidable place. hydrometer in hand and all around him red stone retorts. and any bold and inquisitive monk who managed to reach the rose-window above the door by scrambling up the climbing vines promptly tumbled down. noon. his three-cornered . the canons all newly rigged out. This . to the prior. was an old abandoned The good chapel at the bottom of the canons' garden. and in the dazzling white cloister. They said: "'Hush! He has the secret "The treasurer walked behind him and spoke to him. stooping over his furnaces. the thought 10. . wiping his brow. . a regular weird litter that glowed as if enchanted in the red gleam of the windows. the door of this place of mystery was opened discreetly. the blue roofs where new vanes were turning. glass worms. not even distillery. . . . when the last stroke of the Angelus 10 sounded.

. Down at the end of the choir the psalms still went on but the responses lacked ' . 11 lo and behold. breathless." . heard nothing. stall.REV. . . heavily punished for . . and so upset that in taking holy water he dipped his sleeves into it up to the elbows. once he benignly. . a and aisles. . His Lordship flourished his crosier. But Father Gaucher saw nothing. . sway right and then. he arrived at the church in an extraordinary state of agitation: red. The . . animation. tarabin. first words etc. smiling murmur of astonishment ran through the nave They chuckled to one another behind their breviaries 'Whatever is the matter with our Father Gaucher ? Whatever is the matter with our Father Gaucher?' "Twice the prior impatiently let his crosier fall on the pavement to command silence. der about in the choir for five minutes in search of his was seated. cries of: " . taraban Everyone "General consternation. "Hail to Thee. in the middle of the Ave verum. FATHER GALTHER'S ELIXIR "The poor man was how that happened. of a part of the Catholic service. Father Gaucher flung himself back in his stall. True Body. At first they thought that it was excitement at being late but when they saw him make profound reverences to the organ and the galleries instead of saluting the high altar. . and sang out at the top of his voice " 'In Paris there dwells a White Father. . . 'Take him away He's possessed "The canons crossed themselves. "You must understand that one evening. it. rush across the church like a whirlwind.' There were rose. . whilst the office was being sung. Patatin. . 11. wan. 267 You'll hear . and two sturdy monks had to drag him out by the !' ! . "Suddenly. . patatan. left. his cowl awry.

blushing to the roots of his hair. was it not ? Perhaps your hand was too heavy? Yes. i ! .. 'These last two evenings I have Surely it found such a bouquet in it.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 268 demoniac and going on worse than ever with his 'patatins' and 'tarabans. yes. . . set j^our mind at rest. it is true but for the fineness.' side door of the choir. Yet let us hope that the novices would not pick it up. to be sure But listen for another moment When you are to what I am going to say to you. let us see. my lord. the inventor of gunpowder: you have been the victim of your invention. . at daybreak. . . . P can't very well trust anything but my tongue " 'Ah. . the " 'Come. the unfortunate man was on his knees in the prior's oratory. the scandal has not been so great as you think. there was a song that was a little. tell me frankly how it all happened. stand. . come. Schwartz. owning his fault with a torrent of tears. it was the came me. . my good friend. . "'It was the elixir. . But now. it After all. elixir that over- so penitent. I under. . To be sure. ray lord The gauge gives me the strength and the degree of alcohol. it seem good? Do you derive any pleasure from it?' " 'Alas. yes. . does. "And seeing him so conscience-smitten.. . hem hem will all pass . compelled to taste the elixir thus. . . such an aroma must be the Devil that has played me this sorry trick. my lord !' said the unfortunate father. It is like brother ' ! . ! . ! ! . beating on his breast. . good prior himself was moved. ! . . . . . . But tell me. . . is it absolutely necessary for you to try this terrible elixir on yourself?' 'Unfortunately it is. Father Gaucher.' he said. . the velvetiness. away like dew in the sun. It was when you were trying the elixir. . struggling like a "Next morning.

. Let us see. . reverend father..FATHER GAUCHER'S ELIXIR REV. . . now that you are forewarned. gray. the worse. . when the simples were infused and the elixir was cooling in great copper basins. . . meanwhile. . The Devil will be smart indeed if he catches you with twenty drops. The father was he prepared his chafing dishes and alembics. In any case. . distillery heard some strange offices ! was day. . him much need The Devil had hold . to escape temptaend of the labora- at the farthest . fine. . And. in does not pearl if it . What he longed for was the twenty-first. I'll dispense you from coming to church in future. . that twenty-first drop he went and knelt down ! tion. to count his and never of him.' "Alas. above all things. almost without pleasure. his poor reverence had drops wards . much enough. Then. and. all went well. . . . to prevent accidents. . go in peace. . . . But in the evening. . . after- go. ! let "The . eh? Let's say twenty drops. . All you have to do. .. . the poor man's martyrdom began. " 'For any sake don't do that/ the prior interrupted excitedly. count your drops care- fully. so is not fine enough. hot with perfume and sunshine. sorted his herbs carefully. "The drops fell from the stirring-rod into the silver-gilt The father swallowed the twenty at a gulp. all Provence herbs. is to be on your guard. 'We must not run the risk of making our customers dissatisfied. " 'Seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty "So long as tolerably calm it : . . . . serrated. . how much do you require to ascertain? Fifteen or twenty drops. . . And 269 gauge so I have quite decided to use nothing but the If the liquor future. goblet. . . . . . You will say the evening office in the distillery. Oh.

who talk of making a banquet' . . But from the still-warm liquor there rose a faint steam charged with aromas. from Aix.or: 'Master Andrews' little shepherdess goes off to the wood by her little self. Leaning over .' and always the famous one about the White Fathers: . . patatan. !' ! "And with one drop and another the unfortunate at last had his goblet full to the brim. the gently with his stirring-rod. and buried himself in his paternosters. : . despair and fasting.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 270 torv. eh. They came from Nimes. . it liquor was a lovely with open nostrils. " 'Here goes Another drop . and in the little sparkling bubbles that the emerald wave carried round he seemed to see Auntie Begon's eyes laughing and twinkling as they looked at him. golden green. But nothing could avail against the demon of the elixir. father stirred . it . you had a bee in your bonnet last night. and every evening at the same hour his possession began anew. . . . . saying softly to himself with a delicious remorse: .' "'Ah! I'm damning myself damning myself "The most terrible thing was that at the bottom of this diabolical elixir he rediscovered by some black art or other all Amntie Begon's naughty songs 'There are three little gossips. .' "Imagine his confusion next day when his cell-mates said him slyly: " 'Eh. completely vanquished. and lolling at ease. sackcloth and discipline. . from . Father Gaucher. his eyes half shut. to !' "All this time orders were pouring into the abbey in excess of expectation. tasted his sin sip by sip. when you went to bed "Then it was tears. lie sank down in a great arm-chair. Then. which came stealing about him and sent him back willy-nilly to his basins. The . 'Patatin. .

my lord? I'm on a fair way of preparing myself a fine eternity of flames and pitchforks I drink. if I take anything more to do with it "There was no more laughing for the chapter. Father Gaucher?' asked the prior. . . ! . " 'What is it. the service of bells poor folk of the district lost nothing. . on which the pastoral ring glistened. whilst the treasurer was reading in full chapter his stock-sheet at the end of the year. . stretching out his fine white hand. out: " 'That's an end»of . so you did To count my drops But I would need Yes. !' !' brandishing his ledger. that's to count by goblets now. . and drink. like a lost soul that's what it is " 'But I told you to count your drops. . shouting . ! . . my !' s . you'll ruin us cried the treasure^ . . like a factory. others for the accounts. one fine Sunday morning. it . . " 'Reverend sirs/ he said. . Three bottles an evening! know quite well that can't go on forever. who had his own suspicions of what it was. . . . . "Well. Give me . . but I can assure you that the carting.1 can't stand it any longer cows again " 'But what is it. southern France. God's fire burn me. FATHER GAUCHER'S ELIXIR Avignon. " 'Would you rather I damned myself?' "Thereupon the prior stood up. and the good canons were listening to him with sparkling eyes and smiles on their lips. others for the God may have lost a few tolls of the now and again by it. . . ! ! . 'it can all be 12. . wretched man. your Reverences.REV.' "'Ah. . from Marseilles 12 became more 271 Every day the convent There were packing brothers. then. . Cities in Provence.. . . So. " 'But. You what I've come to. labeling brothers. who should burst into the middle of the meeting but Father Gaucher. get whom you like to make the elixir.

behind the O Lord. . trip in a garden.. . In future.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 272 arranged. whatever hapvery moment of sin. . taraban. the officiant never failed to say " Xet us pray for our poor Father Gaucher. easy. I get all in a sweat. Father Gaucher returned to his alembics as light as a lark. when he saw them come with the pack-saddle. every evening. while the prayer ran along all those white cowls . tarabin. Sir Prior. demon the It's at night. that . At this point the good cure stopped short in horror. is it not. In Paris there dwells a White Father Who sets all the little nuns dancing. Trip. . With that.' ' 'Well. . heard chanting open-throated Father Gaucher might be : i( 'In Paris there dwells a White Father. . without asking anything more. keep your every evening. like Capitou's ass. assails you ? my dear son. . 13 "And. trip. like a over snow. Sir Prior. trip. . "Mercy on us If my parishioners heard me !" ! 13. breeze at the other end of the convent. . "And in fact. then. .' " 'O that is good. we'll recite on your behalf the Prayer of Saint Augustine. you are It is absolution at the safe. during the mind office. "Let us pray. . thank you. at the end of compline. . prostrated in the shadow of the naves. pens. Domine." part of the Catholic service. Patatin. Oremus. . .' "And. When saving your Reverence's presence. I see the night coming on. . . . . .' " Who sets all the . regularly every evening. . . to which plenary indulgence is attached. from that moment. lighted away little windows of the distillery. patatan. 'Yes. who is sacrificing his soul in the interests of the community.

but in later years turned to the drama and the short story as modes of expression. a prominent Parisian newspaper. 1842.COPPEE (1842-1908) Francois Coppee was born in Paris. and a number of his stories touch upon some phase of the hardship and injustice of war when brought home to the individual. drew him from the obscurity of his government clerkship. January 12. From 1878 to 1884 he was archivist of the Comedie Francaise. but. when the phenomenal success of his play. Coppee began his literary career as a poet. At times he becomes somewhat morbid and over-sentimental. whole. In his stories he aimed to be simple and intense. Le Passant. thoroughly earnest. giving up this position on his election to the French Academy. Coppee continued to produce volume after volume of poetry as well as a number of plays at the same time he took active part in the affairs of the day. especially political movements such as the Dreyfus affair. While a young man he worked as a clerk in the Ministry of War. and deeply sympathetic. He received no recognition as a poet until 1869. a characteristic not at all common to most of his contemporaries. It was in this play that Sarah Bernhardt met with her first success. These various traits are shown particularly in those stories in which he describes the trials and sufferings of the poor and the unfortunate. but the best of them promise to guarantee him an important place in French fiction. on the . there is a certain geniality about his stories. His stories are of uneven merit. The best of 273 . Like every French writer of his day Coppee was influenced by the War of 1870 with Germany. and later was dramatic critic for La Patrie.

The famous annual race at Epsom. 4. 6. liqueur made by the Carthusian monks. 3 He emptied his glass of chartreuse/ laid his napkin upon the restaurant table.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 274 these are A Piece of Bread (printed in this volume by permission of Current Opinion. 6 and that Francois-Henri de Hardimont was killed at Fontenoy 7 with "Red" Maison. 1870. '.) and The Substitute. lie died Aug. 1745. regiment of the line. 6. 5. May . Enguerrand de Hardimont died of the plague at Tunis the same day as Saint-Louis. ordered his valet to pack his trunks. 5 that Jean de Hardimont commanded the Free Companies under Du Guesclin. Louis IX of France. giving him a horrible feeling of suffocation. 25. Henri de Hardimont 1. 7. England. A town in Alsace. he hastened to the recruiting office and enlisted in a — . when he read the news of the disastrous engagement at Reichshoffen. Perichole.1. N. Y. A province in southeastern France. 1270. early in November. where a bloody battle was fought on A 11. who had become wind-broken since the cold she had caught at the last Derby/ and was finishing his breakfast while glancing over the morning paper. And so. the young duke felt the blood mount to his face. A battle was fought there Aug. A French general (1320-1380). A PIECE OF BREAD By FRANCOIS COPPEE The young Due de Hardimont happened to be at Aix in Savoy/ whose waters he hoped would benefit his famous mare. In vain had he led the enervating life of a fashionable and had knocked that was the word of the time swell — — about race-course stables from the age of nineteen to twenty- In circumstances like these. A village in Belgium. 1870. Upon learning that France had lost a battle on French soil. he could not forget that five. and two hours later took the express to Paris arriving there. 3.

his benumbed hands in the pockets of his red trousers. a road planted with clusters of broom. A French general during the siege of Paris. and looked with sorrowful eyes toward a line of hills. the rolling of an upset cask. . S. a tavern with arbors. lost in the fog. They had fallen back here a few days before. furrowed by bullets "Cabinets de societe Absinthe Vermouth Vin a 60 cent. The sign means that the place consisted of small booths. and that drinks were sold at 12 cents a litre (nearly a quart). 9. 10. the high swing whose wet rope groaned in the damp wind. and the walls seemed whitewashed with blood. and which protected the cannon of Fort Bicetre. and the inscriptions over the door. — — — — . And over all. The torn and shattered arbors under their network of twigs. where the soldiers had established their post. — ] gun. this defeated soldier. The famous German gun-maker. 9 encircling a dead rabbit painted over two billiard le litre" all this recalled with cruel cues tied in a cross by a ribbon. where could be seen each moment the flash and smoke of a Krupp " .A PIECE OF BREAD 275 returned to Paris with his regiment. At the door of the tavern stood the young duke. and broken up into muddy ruts. on the border stood an abandoned tavern. and his company being the advance guard before the redoubt of Hautes Bruyeres. a position fortified in haste. with his gun in his shoulder belt. He gave himself up to his somber thoughts. It was a gloomy place. and shivering in his sheepskin coat. and all of them bore upon their bark the white As for the house. his cap over his eyes. an odious sky. a wretched winter sky. made one shudder the roof had been torn by a shell. followed by a report. angry and hateful. the grape-shot had broken down some of the young trees. motionless. forming part of Vinoy's 8 corps. 1870. irony the popular entertainment of former days. across which rolled heavy laden clouds. traversing the leprous fields of the neighborhood. its appearance scars of bullet wounds.

a piece of ammunition bread. but badly made. And. and as he had lost Jiis knife. he drew from his knapsack. and now. which stood near him leaning against the wall. He was a tall. lying in its basket. But after a few mouthf uls. The deuce take it That was a good time." when. "As you see. large young fellow. with feverish eyes and a hospital beard. the day after too over-heating a supper. and so thin that his shoulder-blades stood out beneath his well-worn cape. "You are very hungry?" he said. approaching the soldier. or buttered eggs with asparagus tips. The remembrance of former breakfasts came to him." replied the other with his mouth full. the young man threw the rest of his bread into the mud. would bring him a fine bottle of old Leovile. No fresh would be given until the next morning's distribution. ! eagerly. and be served with a cutlet. watched the poor devil who gave proof of such a good appetite. Henri de Hardimont was already ashamed of his action. This was certainly a very hard life sometimes. and the butler. with a feeling of pity. and which he would pour out with the greatest care. stooped and picked up the bread. and he would never become accustomed to this life of wretchedness. Stooping. knowing his tastes. he would seat himself by a window on the ground floor of the Cafe-Anglais. so the commissary officer had willed it. At the same moment a soldier of the line came from the tavern. in a moment of impatience. such as he had called "hygienic. . drew back a few steps. he had enough of it the bread was hard and had a bitter taste. wiped it with his sleeve and began to devour it . he bit off a morsel and slowly ate it.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 276 Suddenly he felt hungry. all the same.

A PIECE OF BREAD 277 "Excuse me." said he. omitting his title. suddenly ceasing his familiar way of speaking. showing his "Jean. "let us walk along the road to warm our feet. and the Due de Hardimont looked at his companion in almost terrified amazement. "What is your name?" asked the soldier of the line." The man had finished eating.Anglais. I have been hungry all my life. "Hardimont. The soldier smiled sadly. such as you see me. comrade." like the bread. and I will tell you things which probably you have if in the 11. as understanding that the other expected something further way of explanation or confidence "Come. One who lives in luxury. For if I had known that you would would not have thrown it away. | . "it was and I reproach myself. The duke and he drank a mouthful of brandy. I "It does not harm it/' replied the soldier. bad opinion of me. but. and in the infirmary they gave me horse bouillon." replied the duke. let us drink a drop together. as white as his sickly face. and the major signed my dismissal. do not wish you to have a have some old cognac in my matter." The words were startling. So much the worse for me Now I am going to commence to be devoured by hunger again for.Victor I have just entered just out of the ambulance — I — ! ! — hungr}^. especially to a Sybarite lr who had just been longing for the kitchen of the Cafe. and. "And yours ?" — — this company I am was wounded at Chatillon oh but it was good in the ambulance." said the gentleman." "No wrong to do so. if you will. then. believe me. doubtless divining that his companion belonged to the rich and happy. the acquaintance was made. "I am not dainty. wolf-like teeth. But I had only a scratch. and But as I I can.

and would rather walk by her than play with the other children. . That is not a trade. and when they l'Z. for I have picked ur> enough of it. at the our little — — lung trouble I was her favorite. it is impossible to earn one's living at it.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 278 never heard of am — I am called Jean. Was it my fault. because she used to draw me to her side and lay her warm thin hand on my forehead. they were not given more than I. was kept under lock and key the rest of the time. and Asylum. that is all. quite young and as pale as a wax-taper she died afterwards of earliest childhood. were less unhappy. after my first communion. southern Prance. and as proof of it. The other apprentices. And then. and the bread. People from Limoges. But when I was twelve years old. I do you think ? I served there for three years. and a kind Sister took care of us. The sheets were white on beds in the dormitory. sighing at each ladleful she dished out. for I my only happy remembrance is of my a foundling. two old Limousins 12 afterwards murdered were terrible misers. two blind boys. cut in tiny pieces for each meal. we played in a garden under large trees.Jacques. unfortuwas always so terribly hungry. But the managers could not know everything. It was there that I began to suffer with hunger.Victor. The managers put me as apprentice with a chair-mender in Faubourg Saint. me nately. there was nothing but poverty. ! bread out of the mud? I am used to that. The master and mistress. and crusts from the dust. you know. the greater part of the time the master was only able to engage the poor little blind boys from the Blind Asylum. but they could not see the reproachful look the wicked woman used — — to give as she handed me my plate. in a continual Three years And one can learn the work in one month. You should have seen the mistress at supper time serving the soup. Ah you were astonished just now when you saw me take the fit of hunger. and had no suspicion that the children were abused.

I never ! little hand upon my forehead. to large for we my delicate appetite. Heavens how often have I been crazy with hunger as I have passed Fortunately for me. Briefly. another time I lose my have had enough to eat. which the children would take out of their baskets and throw on the sidewalks as they came from school.Victor. is the siege and famine — ! I told hungry you just now that could I You I see. I would soak them all night in my I had windfalls sometimes. is it not ? good comrades. the hand-clasp which followed . At last. ceasing in his turn." said he. floor-polisher. that the trooper has I enlisted.A PIECE OF BREAD I 279 were too hard and dry. as there is no bakery but the commissary. I for I was willing enough to work. only just enough. almost I laugh did not lie. and as my ration of bread is twice too tact. always been !" The young duke had a kind heart. when I was eighteen you know as well as I do. I used to try to prowi around there when I went on errands. and I seemed to feel her warm place. I served the masons. we will meet again. in the meantime. such as pieces of bread nibbled at the ends. But. I did many other things. It was even fortunate for the phlegm of this dandy. by a soldier whose uniform made him his equal. at these times I have* the bakeries always remembered the good Sister at the Asylum. —here when have always. told him by a man like himself. work is lacking. who so often told me to be honest. that the night wind dried the tears which dimmed his eyes. . At last my time was ended at this trade by which no man can support himself." was strong and hearty. Now. "if we survive this dreadful war. But. "Jean. Well. and I hope that I may be useful to you. pshaw today. I don't know what all! basin. and was profoundly moved by this terrible story. by a delicate speak familiarly to the foundling. have been shop-boy. will share It it like — it is understood.

touched by the kindness of his comrade. and the snoring recommenced. and. and a ray of moonlight made its way into the room through a hole in the roof. who was sleeping like an Endymion. Toward midnight Jean. "Hardimont. Jean-Victor at him with admiration. sergeant." "As you please. stand up !" repeated the non-commissioned officer. rising. lighting up the handsome blonde head of the young duke." five men left.Victor. In an instant every man was on his feet. and each. The stepped cautiously out. they were soon sleeping then. of the number. lying white in the moonlight. "What is it?" they cried as he stopped. out of breath.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 280 and worn by their frequent watches and they returned to the tavern. But half an hour later the noise of near and rapid firing burst upon the night. "If you are willing. ably." "Jean. being hungry probThe wind had scattered the clouds. when the sergeant of the platoon opened the door and called the five men who Still was gazing were to relieve the sentinels of the outposts. as night fell. where twelve soldiers were sleeping on the straw. throwing themselves down side by side. "What time is it?" asked the duke.Victor awoke. looking earnestly along the road. . "I was to go on duty tonight." soldier was seen running toward them along the road.Victor went At that moment a in your place. "I will take his duty. soundly. he is sleeping so soundly —and he is my comrade." said Jean. harassed alarms. with his hand on the chamber of his gun. but he did not waken when The duke was his name was called.

" "Just as you please.00. and set off gas-light. Monsieur de Saulnes saw the Due de Hardimont pick up the piece of bread. the duke had lost some hundred louis. to his amazement. 13 and had a slight headache. my friend. "are "It is in you crazy?" memory of a poor fellow who died for me. Andre. * . I am willing. turned up the collars of towards the Madeleine. 13. although the walking — may be bad. it "Do offends me. "we will go home on foot I need the air.A PIECE OF BREAD "The Prussians have attacked 281 us. A famous church of Paris. it was a large piece of bread spattered with mud." "Shot through the head with a bullet !" ough word ! — One night last winter. in full view under the their overcoats. 14 Suddenly an object rolled before the duke which he had struck with the toe of his boot. let us fall back to the redoubt." "And your comrades?" "They are coming all but poor "Where is he?" cried the duke. • — Jean-Victor. laughing heartily." replied the duke in a voice which trembled slightly. "What did you do that for?" asked the count. the —died without a Due de Hardimont left his club about two o'clock in the morning. 14. Then. wipe it carefully with his handkerchief embroidered with his armorial bearings. Count de Saulnes." A gold coin worth $4. and place it on a bench. not laugh. "If you are willing." They dismissed their coupes. with his neighbor." he said to his companion.

Before. and this profoundly impressed him. was . In this respect he resembles Charles Lamb. a critical 282 essay on De Vigny. and above all. He was a boy of lively imagination. his ambition had been to die a heroic of death on the field of battle like the knights of old. then. but as that seemed impracticable. giving his work an atmosphere of erudition which constitutes one of its most fascinating charms. His father was a bookseller on the Quai Voltaire. who writes under the name Anatole France. such as the milkmen." School interfered with his final resolve to become a hermit in the desert wastes of Le Jardin des Plantes. and this. in Paris. the women who sold flowers on the quay! As a student in college Anatole France became fond of the Latin and Greek classics. At the age of seven The Lives of the Saints was read to him by his mother. always trying to put into practice the ideas and ideals of the stories which he read or had read to him. He was fond of roaming around the older and more picturesque parts of Paris. the soldiers in their resplendent uniforms. and. has led him into all sorts of literary and historical by-ways. was born in 1844. a career which had "fewer requirements and was of greater renown than that of a soldier. one of the most beautiful public gardens of Paris. what interesting persons one could always find on the streets.FRANCE (1844- ) Jacques Anatole Thibault. and in his shop France early acquired the habit of promiscuous reading. Anatole France constantly puts his own personality into everything he writes. too. His first published work. together with an innate love for the curious. like Lamb. observing with interest the old shops full of curios . in his youthful fancy he decided to become a saint.

He has published many volumes of stories. the old scholar who still likes to keep in touch with the world at large. has already appeared (1917). most of which have appeared in book form. . As a publicist he has made many speeches. both as a literary man and as a publicist. and that this will be a universal blessing. printed in this book. asking that he be allowed to wear a uniform. and finished style characteristic of all his writing. forcible. 283 As a novelist his first real success was The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard (1881). This is an intensely interesting story and forms an excellent beginning for the study and appreciation of the novels of Anatole France. while the chief character in the story. Here. It has the clear. Anatole France has been prominent in the Great War of 1914. ous Path. both long and short. and the Dreyfus case finally swung him into the ranks of the Socialists. The emphasis upon character should be noted. is one of his best sketches. the interest is concentrated on the characters rather than on the plot. He never has been of that radical type which believes that the present time is hopelessly out of joint. The Juggler of Notre Dame. as in all his stories. and the development of the story is brought about largely through conversation instead of direct narration. Anatole France has always been very active. and giving his pen to the service volume of his war sketches. is a type of character that the author likes to draw. In spite of advanced years. He had definite leanings towards Socialism. On the Gloriof his country. but he seems to believe that there will be a great leveling of classes. A .FRANCE followed by several volumes of poetry.

he bore rather more than his share of the penalties consequent upon the the public square. and which he never varied in the least. or when throwing himself backwards until his heels and the nape of his neck met. 284 . he assumed extraordinary attitudes. who went about from town to town performing feats of skill and strength. Again. At first the crowd would feign indifference. a murmur of admiration would escape the spectators. he had drawn together the children and loafers. Earning his bread in the sweat of his brow. supporting himself on his hands face downwards. and misdoings of our father Adam. which he had learned of a very ancient juggler. On fair days he would unfold an old worn-out carpet in when by means of a jovial address. But when. and balanced a tin plate on the tip of his nose. and caught them again with his feet. Translated by Frederic Chapman. he would juggle in this posture with a dozen knives. a native of Compiegne.THE JUGGLER OF NOTRE DAME 1 By ANATOLE FRANCE In the days of King Louis there was a poor juggler in France. like the majority of those who live by their wits. The warmth of the sun and the broad daylight were as necessary to enable him to display 1. Nevertheless. giving his body the form of a perfect wheel. he threw into the air six copper balls. which glittered in the sunshine. and pieces of money rain down upon the carpet. Barnaby had a great struggle to make a living. he was unable to work as constantly as he would have been willing to do. Barnaby by name.

if flower and fruit should be expected of them.THE JUGGLER OF NOTRE DAME 285 his brilliant parts as to the trees . and when I am dead.de France 2 tells us. A Greek goddess of youth. as it appears by the history of Samson recorded in the Scriptures. and. He never blasphemed God's name. For whilst not wanting in sobriety. He had never meditated on the origin of wealth. and it was a greater deprivation to him to forsake the tankard than the Hebe 4 who bore it. 4. and this hope upheld him. keep watch over my life until it shall please God that I die. and as it were dead. He was a worthy man who feared God. wandering from place to place in small companies. ensure to me the possession of the joys of paradise. the inclement season caused him to suffer both cold and hunger. he did not covet his neighbor's. In the Middle Ages all sorts of actors were considered outcasts. But as he was simple-natured he bore his ills patiently. cup-bearer to the gods before thj coming of Ganymede. he lived uprightly." 2. since woman is ever the enemy of the strong man. he was fond of a drink when the weather waxed hot. He did not resemble those thievish and miscreant Merry Andrews 3 who sell their souls to the devil. . and although he had no wife of his own. 3. the He believed life to come could not fail to redress the balance. The frozen ground was hard to the juggler. should prove hard. his was not a nature much disposed to carnal delights. In winter time he was nothing more than a tree stripped of its leaves. like the grass- hopper of which Marie. and was very devoted to the Blessed Virgin. A writer of lays and metrical romances in the Middle Ages. and offer up this prayer to her "Blessed Lady. In truth. Never did he fail on entering a church to fall upon his knees before the image of the Mother of God. nor upon the inequality of human firmly that if this life conditions. The Merry Andrews were clowns or buffoons.

Your calling cannot be in any respect compared to mine. carrying under his arm his balls and knives wrapped up in his old carpet. good father. of God." returned the monk." Barnaby replied: "Good father. to whom I have vowed a singular devotion. "Such as you see me." "Friend Barnab}^. sing my office day by day. sad and bent. and the saints and. it is not a merit which comes within hail of your own. "be careful what you say. religious life is one ceaseless hymn to the Lord. like you. he might sleep. a monk." The monk was touched by the juggler's simplicity. on the watch for some barn where. Gladly would I. whom he saluted courteously. I own that I spoke like an ignorant man. I am called Barnaby. going in the same direction as himself. "how comes it about that you are clothed all in green? Is it perhaps in order to take the part of a jester in some mystery play?" "Not at all. "Fellow traveler. There would be no pleasanter calling in the world if it would always provide one with daily bread. and for my calling I am a juggler. good father. There is no calling more pleasant than the monThose who lead it are occupied with the praises astic life. he perceived on the road. and although there may be some merit in dancing with a penny balanced on a stick on the tip of one's nose. indeed. and especially the office of the most Holy Virgin. the . In order to embrace the monastic life I would willingly abandon the art by which from Soissons to Beauvais I am well known in upwards of six hundred towns and villages. though he might not sup." replied Barnaby. And as they walked at the same rate they fell into conversation with one another.286 FRENCH SHORT STORIES Now on a certain evening after a dreary wet day as Barnaby pursued his road." said the monk. the Blessed Virgin. and as .

around the nimbus which encircled her head hovered seven doves. which are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Understanding. come with me. perfectly white. Here were displayed the Queen of Heaven seated upon Solomon's throne. Upon another page facing this. and we may be sure not imploring in vain. then. he at once recognized in Barnaby one of those men of whom it is said in the Scriptures: Peace on earth to men of good will. Knowledge. Counsel. Brother Maurice. Seclusion. and while four lions were on guard at her feet. Piety. For her companions she had six virgins with hair of gold. and Wisdom. namely. so that the Fall and the Redemption could be . of Fear. At her feet were two little naked figures. Virginity. These were souls imploring her all-powerful intercession for their soul's health. He who guided St. and I will have you admitted into the monastery of which I am Prior. Mary of Egypt in the desert set me upon your path to lead you into the way of salvation. And for this reason he replied: "Friend Barnaby. namely. and Obedience. Brother Alexander repre- sented Eve. Humility. the gifts. Submission. Strength. In the monastery into which he was received the religious vied with one another in the worship of the Blessed Virgin. with a deft hand copied out these treatises upon sheets of vellum. Prudence." It was in this manner. and in her honor each employed all the knowledge and all the skill which God had given him. The Prior on his part wrote books dealing according to the rules of scholarship with the virtues of the Mother of God. Brother Alexander adorned the leaves with delicate miniature paintings.THE JUGGLER OF NOTRE DAME 287 he was not lacking in discernment. that Barnaby became a monk. in an attitude of supplication.

the Moon. he depicted her in the semblance of a child full of grace. 6. and amongst the company was even a brother from Picardy who sang the miracles of Our Lady in rhymed verse and in the vulgar 6 tongue. the Gate of Heaven and the City of God. perhaps even a common dialect. too. to the marvel of the beholder. so that his beard.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 288 perceived at one and the same time — Eve the Wife abased. were poets who composed hymns in Latin. Furthermore. . of any land it is that spoken by the was French. although now well gone in years. Here. Marbode represented her seated upon a throne. even from the day of my birth. Sometimes. this book contained presentments of the Well of Living Waters. Hong One of the books of the Old Testament. the Lily. his eyebrows. in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. her brow he was encircled with an orb-shaped nimbus set with pearls. "Thou art my God. but his strength and cheerfulness were not diminished. moreover. in iv :12 of that Book. the Fountain. eyes continually swollen and weeping. and his and his hair were white with dust. and the Garden Enclosed of which the Song of Songs 5 tells us. Brother Marbode was likewise one of the most loving children of Mary. the Sun. of course. He spent all his days carving images in stone. The vulgar tongue people. and Mary the Virgin exalted. concerning whom the prophet declared: My beloved is as a garden enclosed. appearing to say. 5. both in prose and verse. sometimes called the The reference to the Garden Enclosed will be found of Solomon. And he took care that the folds of her dress should cover the feet of her. and it was clear that the Queen of Paradise still cherished her servant in his old age." In the priory. and all these things were symbols of the Blessed Virgin.

and day by day he became the more cast down. worthily to praise the of God. Barnaby mourned his own ignorance and simplicity. starting from that moment. And. the glory of his Lady. when one morning he awakened filled with joy. "wretched wight that am. No gift have I. nor ingenious paintings. Barnaby marveled five letters of thus his sanctity was Whilst he listened to this narrative yet once again at the loving kindness of the Virgin . nor statues truthfully sculptured. nor verses whose march is measured !" to the beat of feet. he repaired daily to the chapel at such hours as it was deserted. alas After this fashion he groaned and gave himself up to sorrow. But one evening. and I can render you in service. hastened to the chapel. as he took his solitary walk in the shelterless garden of the monastery. who is and he longed to advance in heaven.THE JUGGLER OF NOTRE DAME Being a witness of this 289 emulation in praise and the glo- rious harvest of their labors. This poor man was despised for his ignorance. to be unable. but the lesson of that blessed death did not avail to console him. neither edifying sermons. "Alas !" he sighed. After dinner he returned to the chapel once more. nor treatises set out in order according to rule. when the monks were spending their hour of liberty in conversation. for his heart overflowed with zeal. blessed Lady. How to compass this he sought but could find no way. Alas alas unskilled in the arts. and spent within it a good part of the time which the other monks devoted to . but after his death there issued forth from tell his the tale of a religious mouth five roses in Mary [Marie]. and remained there alone for more than an hour. to whom I have vowed my whole I am but a rough man and heart's affection. and honor of the the name made manifest. he heard one of them I Holy Mother ! ! other than the man who could repeat nothingAve Maria. like my brothers.

but he concluded that he had been seized with madness. when he was shut up there after his custom. Then the prior. whose duty it is to let nothing escape him in the behavior of his children in religion. These began to ask one another for what purpose Brother Barnaby could be indulging so persistently in retreat. with his feet in the air. head downwards. They were all three preparing to lead him swiftly from the chapel. His sadness vanished. the two old monks exclaimed against the sacrilege. . A demeanor so strange awakened the curiosity of the monks. and he was juggling with six balls of copper and a dozen knives. resolved to keep a watch over Barnaby during his withdrawals to the chapel. the prior. In honor of the Holy Mother of God he was performing those feats which aforetime had won him most renown. accompanied by two of the older monks. -The prior." "Amen!" responded the old brethren. falling upon his face upon the pavement.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 290 the liberal and mechanic arts. uttered these words "Blessed are the simple-hearted. when they saw the Blessed Virgin descend the steps of the altar and advance to wipe away with a fold of her azure robe the sweat which was dropping from her juggler's forehead. One day. and kissed the ground. They saw Barnaby before the altar of the Blessed Virgin. Not recognizing that the simple fellow was thus placing at the service of the Blessed Virgin his knowledge and skill. nor did he any longer groan. for they shall see God. The prior was aware how stainless was Barnaby's soul. went to discover through the chinks in the door what was going on within the chapel. then.

usually something pertaining to the life and problems of the laboring classes. when he began to publish. and love as a motive is usually secondLike Anatole France. tant future there will be a general leveling of classes. as he says himself. in eastern France.BAZIN (1853- Rene Bazin was born ) in 1853 near the city of Angers. He is still living (1918). and that it is no more than fitting that the higher class know and understand the life and ideals of the lower. he believes that in the not disary. He is entirely at home among the peasants and the laborers of his part of the country and finds the themes of his stories among them. Bazin appeals to the English reader because of his protest against certain modes in French fiction. where he became a professor of law in the University of that city. the lure of the boulevards has never been strong enough to blunt his sensibilities for the delights of the country. He has also written books of travel in very pleasing vein. Although Bazin spends several months every winter in Paris. He was sent to Paris to study law and after completing his course he returned to Angers. found objectionable by many who live elsewhere than on the continent. and is particularly opposed to that type of story about country life which is written solely for the amusement In his long stories the dominant note is of Parisians. for want of a better term. are called novelettes. especially its hard naturalism. He does not believe in the realistic methods that were in vogue in the eighties. and. but his strength 291 . Most of Bazin's stories are either long novels or what. he loves to watch for the first signs of spring in the swelling buds and to listen for the first songs of the returning birds. He is a genuine enthusiast about nature.

who had ruled it for thirty years. odor of the melons. and there began meadows which sloped down to the river and were filled in summer with the perfume of flowers and all the music of the earth. Philemon was a gourmand. in this THE BIRDS IN THE LETTER-BOX By RENE BAZIN Nothing can describe the peace that surrounded the The parish was small. ! he did not eat all the fruits in his orchard. none of them. however. of special merit. But you must not think that the abbe of St. and so was the last. His shoulders were bent. Bazin's style and material are very agreeable. . in the Letter-Boa. one of which could not see any longer. Mercy. The town ended at the parsonage. Y. N.. and the currants often earlier. moderately and was used to the old priest. his face was wrinkled. and a week before Assumption. August 15.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 292 lies in his fiction. story.. Munsey Co. he had two little gray eyes. His most recent work is a collection of short sketches and stories dealing with the Great War. The first ray of the sun was for it. honest. He had reached the age when appetite is only a memory.. and he was so deaf in one ear that if you happened to be on that side you just had to get round on the other. The Birds Though he has not done much in the short volume by the kind permission of The Frank A. Here the cherries ripened in May. no 1. you could not pass within a hundred feet without breathing among the hedges the heavy country parsonage. 1 usually. prosperous. is an excellent story. and he is an author who deserves to be better known by English readers. Behind the great house a kitchen-garden encroached on the meadow.

and white. in return the orioles. that there was not one factory in the village. and they hung on the branches and pecked at a grape or scratched a pear veritable little beasts of prey. Fortunatety. I'd have !" to get angry with a good many of my parishioners And he contented himself with clapping his hands together loud when he went into his orchard. who helped them in summer. Then there was a spreading of wings. But what minutes Fancy. a jay followed. was eaten by the birds and sang lived there comfortably all the year. if you can. melted into the whispering of the breeze and was lost. and the sparrows. spreading over the wide. with feathers as thick as your finger. who by all their share 293 — and a big share—but the biggest —the blackbirds. Indeed. the railroads were very far away. Philemon indulgent.BIRDS IN THE LETTER BOX The boys got share. and yellow. a short flight. not a weaver or a blacksmith. and the warblers of every variety. the roads were little frequented. swarms of them. a rustling of leaves. and mottled. so he should not see too — much stealing. whose only "thank you" was a shrill cry like a saw. their return was prompt a sparrow led the way. and that the noise of men with their horses and cattle. as if all the silly by a great wind were flying away gray. and then quiet for five minutes. distant plains. "if I got angry at them for not changing. : . and the tomtits. Mills were unknown. pretty birds of passage. and then the whole swarm was back at work. and murmur "They'll not leave me a berry this vear!" . Even to them. close his book or open it. "The beasts cannot correct their faults/' he used to say. the best they could . old age had made the abbe of St. And the abbe could walk up and down. have fallen asleep of the silence over his breviary. if the ravagers of his garden had repented for long the abbe would flowers cut off . odds.

with thick leaves. and you could see a taken. Philemon in greater numbers than anywhere else. in her embarrassment. the forks of the apples-trees and the brown beak. carrying a paper. the wool. with enough feathers to make a quilt. a paper. in the midst of at me like a viper !" all that. The birds know that those who complain take no action. a tomtit. at the right She slipped in. nor even the scales of lichens that cover old wood. I suppose. neither the feathers. all the birds that you let stay Pretty soon they'll be building their nests in your soup-tureens !" "I haven't but one. letter-box! and. Everjr year they built their nests around the parsonage of St. It was full of straw and horsehair and spiders' webs. She had found it under the laurel bush. One year. balancing himself on the gravel of the walk. nor slit of the letter-box protected of the parsonage gate. and dirty. at the foot of the garden. rafters of the roof. nor the horsehair. was satisfied with the result of her explorations. a beast that I didn't see hissed . the holes in the walls. doings sir. One morning the housekeeper came in." here! "Haven't they got the idea of laying their eggs in your I opened it because the postman rang and that doesn't happen every day. perfectly furious. the hollows in the trees. There was nothing she neglected that would make it warm. when all the places were elms. spied the by its little roof. like the point of a sword. "Look.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 294 It than made no if difference . too! They are up to fine !" "Who. not a bird left his prey. The best places were quickly taken. any more the good abbe had been a cone-shaped pear-tree. Philomene?" "Your miserable birds. sticking out of a whisp of straw between all the. and brought the materials to build a nest.

or a bill for taxes at some distant farm. it. a climb — . because the people of St. "they are the only birds clever enough to think of it. and replied "Rest easy. and there he carefully opened the letter-box. Twenty-one days to hatch your eggs and three weeks to raise your family. The abbe went it is not nice enough!" hastily through the garden. and when he had finished the morning's duties visits to his parishioners who were ill or — boy who was to pick him out up the steeple because a storm had loosened some stones he remembered the tomtit and began to be afraid she would be troubled by the arrival of a letter while she was hatching her eggs. The shape of the nest. I know you. Philemon began to laugh when he hears of a baby's pranks. 295 like a grand- father "That must be a tomtit." said he. which showed through. Robert's Day was near. as you know. Nevertheless. He did take away the key. instructions to a some fruit at the village. He heard the hiss of the brooding bird inside. and the lining. Sure enough. and. the house. and texture. that You shall have it. its color key. The fear was almost groundless. little one. made him smile. Be careful not to touch Philomene." "No fear of that. to have a drink at another. in which there would have been room enough for all the mail received in a year by all the inhabitants of the village. since St. the court planted with asparagus. to leave a letter from some conscript. Philemon did not receive any more letters than they sent. comes on the 29th of in trouble. I'll take away the is what you want? like a pine-cone.". he was not mistaken.BIRDS IN THE LETTER BOX The abbe of St. till he came to the wall which separated the parsonage from the public road. which. The postman had little to do on his rounds but to eat soup at one house. once in a long while.

at the chief town of the department. Philomene. He will undoubtedly refuse it. and they'll not be the ones to regret it any more than I. will be the cause. sure enough. They owe their lives to me. that were lying in the letter-box. do not congratulate friends worthy of that name. at least. the secretary-general of the palace. in the green room of the palace. as far as we could. Philemon was delighted. the dean of the chapter. signed by the . to offer that charge and that honor to one of our oldest priests. layman and two me on my priests: saint's day inconvenience me shall explain. . I hear them chirp. The five councilors approved unanimously. It to receive a letter at this time. his two grand vicars. if you please. no less than his age. he never entered his gate one time without thinking of the eggs." great academy. and that very evening a letter was sent from the palace. and his modesty. will appreciate my would Later I reasons. and did not write. the abbe thought it wise to write to the only three whom death had left him. speckled with pink. Then he stood up. priests." They thought that his eye was worse. at the same time. and the director of the After he had appointed several vicars and he made this suggestion "Gentlemen of the council. and you this year. I have in mind a candidate suitable in all respects for the parish of X but I think it would be well. and when the twenty-first day came round he bent down and listened with his ear close to the slit of the box. beaming: "I hear them chirp. For three weeks The abbe of St.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 296 April. a "My friend." He had in his bosom the heart of a child that had never grown old. the abbe of St. Philemon. but we shall have shown. Now. our appreciation of his virtues. the bishop was deliberating over the appointments to be made with his regular councilors.

because I must submit my appointments to the government within three days. Then he opened the box." said he. started again. came back. a babyhood ended and a good work accomplished. ventured in the nest. eat it. and took their flight. digest it. but it the baby birds hadn't any sense." The next day. to wait for food. touching the base of the nest. When — the little — ones appeared beneath the roof of the box two. Very soon they quarreled But in birds it doesn't which began to break with the fluttering of their wings. recognizing the writing. That was the first period. and they twittered and staggered on their little feet. tits were hatched." The letter arrived at St. and which contained in a postscript: "Answer at my dear abbe. from morning till night. mingled with the debris of the nest. three together. and. tap. "Good Heavens !" said he. every one. They are hardy and strong. There were fourteen of them. then they tumbled out of it and walked along the side of the box. The abbe of St. when into tne slit of the box. peeped through the slit at the big world outside. with a neighboring priest. The time came when the tiny points on the wings of the little tomtits began to be covered with down. "I thought so. attended this pleasant garden party. he said "Behold. come to see me. during his hour of leisure after dinner. Philemon the very day the tomonce. and demand more. There was no answer. "Tap. the letter fell into his hands. The postman had difficulty in slipping it disappeared inside and lay. or. the abbe came to the box with the key in his hand. better. out." he went. like a white pavement at the bottom of the dark chamber. with their beaks open up to their eyes. never ceasing.BIRDS IN THE LETTER BOX 297 bishop. like bees at the door of a hive. and at last they last long. Philemon. "A .

and we have to struggle to keep it.298 FRENCH SHORT STORIES How long has from the bishop and in what a state been here?" His cheek grew pale as he read. it was the very time that the birds assembled in the branches to tell each other about the day. When he had helped to unharness Robin and had given him some hay. the next at that moment. and without you I would be dead. "Well. Your thanks are too noisy. and the tomtits. When he came back he had a peaceful air. The abbe of St. he told the truth. that is very sure. Philemon watched them with a fatherly eye. essayed their first spirals about the pear-trees and their first cries in the open air. fluttered about him. sir?" !" "The bishop has been waiting for me three weeks "You've missed your chance/' said the old woman. whose feathers were still not quite grown. but don't insist." He clapped his hands impatiently. "Philomene. the fourteen of the nest." She came to see what was the matter before obeying. but sometimes peace is not attained without effort. ! . making an unusually loud noise. but his tenderness was sad. and. even Nevertheless. as we look at things that have cost us dear. harness Robin quickly. "What have you there. letter it . my little ones. they came down. from which he took a dozen little packages of things bought on his visit to the city. had changed his cassock and unpacked his box. The abbe was away until the next evening. without me you would not be here. I do not regret it at all. Recognizing their friend and master as he walked up and down the gravel path. He had never been ambitious. There had been a shower and the drops still fell from the leaves as they were shaken hy these bohemian couples looking for a good place to spend the night.

Philomene. if the tomtit comes back. It is decidedly inconvenient..BIRDS IN THE LETTER BOX 299 day.. let me know. after a night spent in talking to Philomene^ he said to her "Next year." But the tomtit never came again and neither did the letter from the bishop — .

1882. He began his literary career as a journalist. written plays and served as dramatic critic for the foremost Parisian journals. who writes under the pen name Jules was born in 1840 at Limoges. 1872. The story of Boum-Boum. Claretie has written many novels and tales. 1896. acting as war correspondent in the FrancoPrussian war. Monsieur le Ministre. however. in southern France. 1877. Les Prussiens chez eux. a post which he held creditably for many years. He also has Claretie. Among his Assassin. and L'Accusaieur. unfortunately. enjoyed. his ability in this direction secured him the appointment as director of the Comedie Francaise in 1885.CLARETIE (1840- ) Arsene Arnaud. 300 . and then forgotten. Le novels are: Train 17. for Claretie has always remained a professional journalist. Claretie has had a long and varied career both as a writer and as editor of Le Temps. 1877. His creative talent has suffered through over-production. Practically all he wrote is of the kind that is read. much like the ordinary so-called "popular novel" of our own country. He was educated in Paris. Madeleine Bertin. that of writing about children without being either sentimental or silly. He has also written extensively on historical subjects Cinq ans Apres. in this book. The directness of his style is due to his long journalistic career. few of his works have been translated into English. shows him a master in a difficult field. and U La Vie a Paris. In France and among French readers in other countries Claretie enjoys a generous popularity. 1868. 1866.

and sometimes. New York. From that time he had been here in this bed. never Then the father cried out and said: "Wilt thou be still!" And the mother. an honest workman. Translated by Mary Symonds. 1.BOUM-BOUM 1 By JULES CLARETIE The and child was lying stretched out grown large through his eyes. in his little white bed. a beautiful morning in June. which his mother had carefully placed in a corner on a board. The day broke clear and mild. and so lively. who already perceive what the living do not see. The mother at the foot of the bed. the child of Jacques and Madeleine Legrand. Not three weeks ago he was gay as a sparrow. very rosy. little Francois* shoes Little Francois will not put them on any more! Little !" Francois will not go to school any more never. Reprinted by the kind permission of Current Opinion. and lighted up the narrow room in the street of the Abessess where little Francois. lay dying. looked straight before him. in his delirium. emaciated face of the little being. anxiously followed the progress of the disease on the poor. always with the strange fixity of the sick. torn by suffering and wringing her hands to keep herself from crying. The father. when he looked at his little wellblackened shoes. he said "You can throw them away now. buried her blond head in his pillow so that little Francois could not hear her weep. fever. very pale. kept back the tears which burned his eyelids. He was seven years old and was very fair. but a fever had seized him and they had brought him home one evening from the public school with his head heavy and his hands very hot. — 301 .

to on his father's shoulders laden with hawthorne Jacques Legrand had bought some images. sad." the doctor said. it was as if at seven years the sick one already felt the weariness of was and tossed life. thin lips. silent. ! — runs after the clouds his little — !" Then he went away. but for the two days past the doctor had been uneasy over an odd sort of prostration which resembled abandon. some gilded soldiers. their Francois. something there beyond. the plunder the hedges on Sunday and to come back Yes. without doubt they these worthy people! little one. They knew how it amused him. "Dost thou see. once. He head about on the bolster. "Seek!" knew him well. seeing they knew not what. and with haggard eyes he sought. in the Bois de Boulogne? 2 If thou takest thy medicine well I will buy thee a real one with a to Paris ! 2. he refused. Francois?" "No. it is the broken bridge! And that is a general Thou rememberest we saw one. very far off In Heaven! Perhaps! thought Madeleine. put them on the child's bed and made them dance before the bewildered eyes of the little one. I wish nothing!" "We must draw him out of this. and with a desire to weep himself he tried to make him laugh. When they wished him to take some medicine. He refused everything. and some Chinese shadows for Francois. trembling. . A — — well-known public park — in Paris. a general. Francois. "Dost thou wish anything. or a little soup. he cut them out. some sirup. recall to earth this spirit which tired. "This torpor frightens me you are the father and the mother. He had no longer a smile on his poor. you know your child well Seek for something to reanimate this little body.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 302 This night the child had not been delirious.

to all the jumpingjacks. clearly and almost cruelly. — — mother !" And she laid her cheek on the pillow of the sick boy and whispered this softly in his ear as if it were a secret. And to all that they said to him. at the same time supplicating and imperative Boum-Boum!" Boum-Boum. the little voice —while the parents looked at each other in despair responded: "No. there is certainly something thou thy wouldst like to have Tell it. Then the child. straightening himself up in his bed and stretching out his hand eagerly toward some invisible thing. with an odd accent. dry voice which fever v — "Dost thou wish a pistol. to all the balloons that they promised him.BOUM-BOUM cloth tunic and gold epaulets — 303 Dost thou wish for him. The mother had low. "I want Poor Madeleine threw a frightened look toward her husband. the general^ say?" child. and she was afraid of these singular words which the child repeated with a sickly persistence. as if. Boum-Boum! Boum-Boum! if demented. replied suddenly in an ardent tone. not having dared until now to formulate his dream. my Francois?" asked the "Let us see. tell it to me! to me! mother. he grasped the present time with invincible obstinacy: "Yes. come back again? Boum-Boum She did not know what that meant. What did the little one say? the frightful delirium."— "No!" "But what dost thou wish. with the "No/' replied the gives."—"No. as . some marbles a cross-bow?" "No. which had Was it the delirium." repeated the little voice. seized Jacques's I want Boum-Boum!" hand and spoke very .

like a refrain brightening up his intelligent and droll face. manj^-colored. Jacques ? He is lost But the father had on his rough.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 304 !" does that mean. that little Francois wished to see and to have and whom he could not have and could not see since he was lying here without strength in his white bed. the smile of a con- "What demned man who v foresees a possibility of liberty. accompanied now and then by a burst from the orchestra: Boum-Boum Boum-Boum! and each time that it rang out. again. Bouminto hurrahs and the little one Boum. . all stitched with spangles. his head down and his feet in the air. but astonished too. He had ! still happy laugh amused boy. Or. a pyramid. it little laugh. the audience burst joined in with his hearty was this Boum-Boum. skipped across the track. he tossed up to the chandelier some soft. spangled with gold and with a great gilded butterfly in his ears the child's outburst of joy. on the back of his black costume. when the clown. gave the trip to a rider or held himself motionless and stiff on the sand. thirty he would have given the price of a year's labor to bring back a smile to the pale lips of this favorite of ! — the sick child. It was the price of four of his working days But he would have given twenty. repeated the same word. Boum-Boum! was the clown of the circus. which he had bought in a passageway and which was very expensive. felt hats which he caught adroitly on his head. Boum-Boum He remembered well the morning of Easter Monday when he had taken Francois to the circus. the beautiful clown. and at each jest. he uttered the same cry. one by one. it It was a large part of the city. workingman's face a smile almost happy. where they formed. the of the all sparkling. In the evening Jacques Legrand brought the child a jointed clown.

his courage 3. could have carried him to the circus. The Then the father excused himself. the engravings. first at school.BOUM-BOUM 305 The child looked at the plaything a moment as on the white cover of the bed. at Montmartre. a dreamer. stammered did not understand see ! — — — . astonishing. do you Yes. one — A Always the — nice little And one. demanded the address of the clown. 3 It was very bold. the steps which led to the apartment of the artist. the elegance was like a choice decoration around the charming man who received Jacques in his office like that Ah! if ! — — ! ! of a doctor. Perhaps the clown oh if he only would would consent to come and say good-day to Francois. he climbed. Jacques. . and have said to him. And the proof wait the proof but he gathered up Jacques now hesitated. Jacques looked. No matter how would they receive him. he went to the circus. the books. A and said briskly section of Paris in which artists and literary men live. sadly "It is Boum-Boum! not — want I to see it glistened Boum-Boum!" Jacques could have wrapped him up in his blankets. Look! He did better. it was concerning the little other waited. which he A dreamer. here at Boum-Boum's house? He was no longer Boum-Boum He was Monsieur Moreno. could have shown him the clown dancing under the lighted chandelier. then said. but did not recognize the clown. this that Jacques was going to do But after all the comedians go to sing and recite their monologues in drawing-rooms. at the houses of the great lords. Jacques Legrand. — so intelligent! except in arithmetic. in the artistic dwelling. and turned and twisted his felt hat between his fingers. "It was what he came there to ask. excuse But in short. monsieur. this little one. and timidly. his legs shaking with fear. and. one by one. it could not be pardon.

questioning. that he thinks only of you." replied the child with a voice which was no longer dry. And what was he going to say. this Boum-Boum? Was he going to dismiss him. and that you are there before him like a star which he would like to have. and that he looks — When he had finished. like a lover who pursues his dream. and were always seeking the spangles and the himself on his mother's his . Jacques Legrand cried out joyfully to his son: "Francois. "no. the father was deadly pale. The clown. he is going to see Boum-Boum. well. "Your boy wants to see BoumBoum? Ah. pleasant face he did not know. "It is Boum-Boum!" he slowly fell back on the pillow. very grave. and remained there. take him for a fool and put him out the door? "You live?" asked Boum-Boum. and he had great drops on his forehead." bed. arm and turned He raised head toward the two men who approached. his beautiful large. whose good. be happy. "Oh very near Street of the Abessess !" "Come!" said the other. threw upon little the child an earnest look. . He dared not look at the clown. who it was by the side of his father this gentleman in an overcoat. but of an inexpressible sweetness. which looked beyond the walls of the little room. for a moment. here he is. blue eyes." ! ! When the door opened and showed the clown. standing near it is the not Boum-Boum. BoumBoum !" A look of great joy came over the child's face.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 306 "The proof is that he wishes to see you. butterfly of Boum-Boum. who remained with his eyes fixed on the workman. child! See. When they said to him. his eyes fixed. but full of despair. "No.

" And — was only a half-hour —the door opened quickly. and said. Boum! ! ! ! Boum. Boumtrue Boum-Boum. with a joy of life in his eyes. the child clapped his thin little hands. "Boum-Boum is Francois will soon go. Boum-Boum any whose little voice spoke to the perhaps there. "do not be jealIt seems to me that my grimaces will do him as much ous !" good as your prescriptions — . a clown with a pale face. the gilded butterfly on his breast and on his back. is not Boum-Boum !" and "He right. with a smile as big as the mouth of a money-box. this is then he went out. Boum-Boum "Is ! — "Doctor/' said the clown to the doctor. the BoumBoum of little Francois Boum-Boum appeared Boum. this time Here is Boum-Boum Long live Boum-Boum Good-day. happy. little it not good?" !" "Very good thanks. if thou dost not drink. little Francois." So the child drank. it is he. crying. smiling. the grief-stricken mother. saved. Boum-Boum of the popular neighborhood. little who made the one laugh again and again. Boum-Boum will not come back any more. and cried "Bravo !" with his seven-year gaiety. which all at once kindled up like a match: "Boum-Boum It is he. child. there. the tl|e — Lying on ! his little white bed.BOUM-BOUM He 307 shook his head. the Boum-Boum of the circus." And when the doctor came back. and who said to the child while he was stirring a piece of sugar into a cup of medicine "Thou knowest. and suddenly had disappeared since the clown it in his black. where little "I cannot see him. looked at the anxious father. and a powdered face. I will never see more!" repeated the angels. spangled clothes. his yellow cap on his head. he found seated by Francois' bedside. laughing.

at last. "What do I owe you. enveloped in an overcoat with a collar turned back. monsieur?" said Jacques. at Montmartre. Then placing two great kisses on the once more rosy cheeks of the child "And" (laughing) "permission to put on my visiting- •ard "Boum-Boum "Acrobatic Doctor and Physician in ordinary to Francois!" little . but this time from joy. little Francois was on his feet again a carriage stopped every day before the dwelling of a workman in the street of the Abessess. "for now 'he master-clown [ owe you something The clown '.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 308 The father and the mother wept. and underneath it one could see a clown's Until costume. "A shake of the hand !" said he. herculean hands to parents. and a man got out with a gay powdered face.he !" stretched out his two soft. to when the child took his first walk.

holding positions in various schools and colleges. The story of The Siren. whom he had known well at Havre while teaching. but his real forte seemed to lie in criticism. a field for which he was eminently fitted by virtue of his wide reading and splendid scholarship. By 1879 he was already attracting attention as a critic in the through a number of articles in the Revue Bleue. while of the second series. is taken 309 . as befitted a Professor of Rhetoric. central France. of whom Doumic is now the only survivor. however. Faguet. Department of Loiret. It is. the drama.LEMAITRE (1853-1914) Francois Elie Jules Lemaitre was born at Vennecy. 1853. and early in his career began to contribute poems and articles to various journals. April 27. selected for this volume. especially one on Flaubert. entitled Les Contemporains. Unlike the others. Lemaitre had always been interested in literature. Lemaitre did not limit his interest to criticism alone. He was interested in educational work and taught for a number of years. A small volume of poems made him known more widely. In 1882 he received his doctor's degree and two years later he abandoned the teaching profession so that he might devote his whole attention to literary pursuits. and fiction. as a critic that Lemaitre will be best remembered. Of the Impressions de Theatre there are ten volumes. After some preliminary schooling at home he went to Paris and completed his studies there. there are seven volumes. with considerable success in each. and Doumic. He kept up a continuous series of critical essays on the drama and other literary subjects. For many years he shared high honors as a critic with Brunetiere. he made original contributions to poetry.

only bound them tighter around his arms and sails. . or Gayley's Classic Myths. and because of the novelty of the underlying idea. forewarned. and a little wistful as though it were the voice of longing. From the depths of their grotto the Sirens had observed the vessel. come No seafarer has ever passed our island without listening to our voice. Schweikert. beloved wanderers. C. See Homer's Odyssey. ! thighs. tender. they made appealing gestures with their beautiful arms." Rising erect out of the still water. They in turn tied him to the mast and then struck the foaming sea with their oars. having learned many things. 2 kneaded a lump of wax in his sturdy hands and stopped the ears of his companions with it. The stories are very readable because of Lemaitre's direct style. When it came within range of their voices they came down to the shore and began to sing "Come hither. 2. then they depart filled with joy. for we know all that happens on the bountiful earth. 1.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 310 from the first series of En Marge des Vieux Livres. Ulysses writhed within his bands. The idea of the stories and sketches in these two volumes is unique. The the wind calmed sailors furled the Ulysses/ remembering the warning counsel of Circe. pervasive as the odor of sea-weed. Book XII. And an irresistible witchery lay in their voices. Translated by H. each one begins with an episode or character from some well known old story and then diverges as the imagination of the author dictates. THE SIREN By JULES 1 LEMAITRE 2 As they neared the Islet of the Sirens down and the waves were hushed. soft as a milky sea. but his companions. their bodies gleaming and moist.

dragged back to the rear of the grotto. It chanced that one of the Sirens seemed to Euphorion more beautiful than the others. sharp teeth in mouths that were rather large. The sailors hesitated about abandoning their companion. He removed the wax from his ears. Down to the waist they young women.THE SIREN 311 Euphorion by name. When he came quite close to them the Sirens stopped him him upon a jutting rock strewn with bones. The sea. one of the sailors. For these beautiful creatures were accustomed to tear to pieces the bodies of the shipwrecked sailors and to suck their blood singing. that even at the price of his life ward the voices. ordered them to pass on beyond the headland. and the swimmer noticed the glittering brilliance of their tails moving level with the were like water's surface. With all the strength of his longing. raised themselves upright. Euphorion swam to- However. golden hair. they had eyes of grayish blue. having heard the song of the daughters . Their hips were enclosed in a sheath of scales. all seven in the sun. placed with puckered mouths. then. with a glance of the eye. declared it was worth while to listen to songs that could shake the feelings of a man so profound in wisdom as the crafty Ulysses. Turning to her. of them. until after a few seconds he dropped into the salt waves. into the blue grotto. and hearkened. and their faces were like those of children. but Ulysses. with a countenance less im- passive. What he heard was such that he leaned over the railing of the ship. with a loud cry. further and further. they seized him. he said "I shall die happy. glistening became darker as it receded At the entrance the Sirens. and prepared to attack him.

At times the Siren would drop from the summit of a high rock. "Leucosia. And.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 312 But of the sea. let Euphorion and Leucosia live together by themselves as thev liked. that is the first time I have ever spoken that word or felt that which panions. her finny tail would catch her in his arms and together they would dive deep into the salty pool. she asked: "What is your name ?" And when she had learned it she at once replied: "Euphorion. saying: "The stranger belongs to me. they displayed no emotion at all. to be lifted up and carried along amid its watery caresses. for usually the features and eyes of the shipwrecked mariners showed nothing but terror." at him in surprise. She made a sign to her sisters to keep away. more often. At let herself straight out like an arrow. although immortal. was a secluded meadow in which Euphorion drank its water and lived on shell-iish. or indeed. Alone with the crafty Greek. he . come to me I at your The Siren looked should be happier hands alone. or because some tacit agreement it signifies. Back of the grotto there a fountain gently played. Leucosia never left him." The other Sirens. I love you. either because she who spoke in this manner had some authority over her com- among them determined the allotment of these derelicts of the sea. As a pastime they enjoyed being rocked on the crest of a wave." The rest of the Sirens withdrew. still if It death should was the first time she had ever seen a wish or a thought illuminate the face of a man ." "And what is your name?" asked the Greek. utterly exhausted bjr their exertions. faithful to the pact agreed upon.

Leucosia. in truth. and the various parts of the body. playing merry pranks upon them. but which precisely defined the gloom in the soul of Euphorion. the sun. I love." But she gave him to understand that they spoke untruths. when the other Sirens went to sleep on the grass. purposely left vague. and the wanderer fell asleep in the cold arms of this quaint goddess of the sea. Euphorion and Leucosia retired to a remote nook in the meadow. I feel. I hope. I hear. Tell me about them now. Or again. simply the joy of possessing an agile body incapable of fatigue. She also knew how to say: "I see. unwieldy tails stretching out side by side. They conversed but little. only to excite the curiosity of travelers. the words they chanted. they reveled in the sunshine among the foaming eddies. She knew how to name the sky. Sometimes the artful singers seemed to suggest the pain of a longing.THE SIREN 313 other times. but only such exceeding emotion as coming of the dawn. the rocks. burdened with memories of his life as a human being. the stars. And. the boundlessness . the fish. At night. the glory and beauty of the sea or. the sea. I desire something. did not evidence an intelligent understanding of the spirit of things. the moon. in the basins of the coves. which he now heard every evening. Leucosia was familiar with words which pertained to things necessary to nymph life on the reefs of the Mediterranean. On the sea and in the arises from rejoicing at the of the setting sun. Leucosia noticed the melancholy of her companion and soothed him with her cool kisses." But that was practically all the vocabulary their of this young immortal. I want. One day Euphorion "When from said to her: the swift ship I heard the voices of the Sirens you boasted that you knew many things not known to man. they gam- boled with the dolphins.

Leucosia no longer had the charm of novelty. and the taverns where one drinks — the sparkling wine. What had at first fascinated him now made him tired. He felt a sort of resentment towards Leucosia on account of her ignorance and because of her cold. About this time a vessel which happened along was lured by the song of the Sirens and wrecked on a nearby reef. But on the beach and in the fragrant meadow. which she could put her eyes. and helped him along and watched over him every moment. and more supple. be- and whose hands are warm and who have pretty feet. that his mind must be filled with pictures and ideas which she could not even surmise. the woods. There was too great a difference between them because of the primitiveness of her mind. In such moments she felt that his experiences had been more varied than hers. she wondered at her comrade because of his feet which enabled him to walk erect. He remembered his life as it used to be. stick red flowers in their hair. his homesickness becoming constantly more acute. in the quiet meadow. and spangled. Then he began to grow a trifle weary. while the strange goddess with the scaly body lay asleep near him he once again saw the fields. Euphorion was horrified when he saw those graceful maidens set their piercing teeth into the bodies of the seamen. attempting to give her some idea beings lived on the continent and the larger But he soon saw that she did not understand him because the words he used had no relation to any obj ect upon islands. the temples on the hills.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 314 hollow grotto she was stronger than he. dark-eyed. briny skin. and envied him. At night. . the dwelling-places of human beings. the streams. the oxen at their work. the booths of the merchants. obliged to walk on her hands and drag her cumbersome tail along. the who little dancing-girls. He resolved to how human teach her. the ships in port.

in a dell at the bottom of the sea. coral groves and the gardens of undersea plants. to her. Euphorion had learned how to hold his breath under water longer than Often he liked to swim with Leucosia across the a diver. girdles. The Sirens could breathe with equal ease under the water and in the air. and that — although — animals. With the help of his companion. could touch her all had remained a stranger love. small painted tablets showing various scenes in the small chest With the filled life of human beings — and a with gold. but I am only a the sea. and Then he explained the use of the various other smiled. household articles. or living creatures. She said. uncertain whether the shapes imperceptibly changing their colors in the glass-like brightness of the sea were precious stones. and. articles as well as the meaning of the pictures on the colored to shore. necklaces. Leucosia seemed to form some idea of a than her own. silver mirrors. he might By further excit- make it a means . a little wistfully: "I should like to see all that. assistance of Leucosia he brought these objects He placed a necklace around her throat. and the sea An is all life other nymph of that I shall ever understand. Euphorion was pleased. ing her curiosity about the earth. lets tablets. On one of these excursions he discovered. flowers. put braceon her arms. Leucosia showed no desire either to sing with her sisters or to share in their orgy. some vases. large urns. and handed her a looking-glass. Now. amid the wreckage. but on ques- tioning her he learned that she had refrained solely not to displease him. peculiar to nearly alone. the remains of a vessel." idea suggested itself to Euphorion. a belt about her waist.THE SIREN 315 swell up with the blood which they sucked from them. jewels. common to man pity. She was struck by her own beauty.

FRENCH SHORT STORIES 316 of escape from the island of the Sirens. They landed at an unfrequented spot. but she was bruised by the stones and weakened by the scorching rays of the sun. a splendid chariot. he stooped down and offered to assist her. will live happily together with the gold in that chest. will carry And we you wheresoever you wish to go." "I will help you. At swam along side by side. He among continually told her entrancing tales of life men. should you not to help me?" He did not have the heart to refuse. in turn. The Siren crawled along for a while on her hands. but in the distance saw signs of a city. swim across the sea until we come to a city called "we can Athens. Retracing his steps." "But I cannot walk very far on land. like those you in the pictures. so they reached the shore of the mainland without his being exhausted by fatigue. Euphorion was helped by her. So. which was times they rugged and covered with dust. and as he walked along . "and when we've saw arrived in the city. approached by a long road." But he did not say A all that was in his mind. The Siren put her arms around his neck. three days' journey was mere play for the Siren. Euphorion was already far in advance of her. In the sea I helped to carry you . while again. "If you care to come with me/' he said one day. now. he rose." replied Euphorion. She called him "The land upon which men live is hard and rough. he was planning from his companion at the very moment when she was becoming more intelligent and beginning to undera separation stand him. scarcely three days' journey from here.

"You will not return." She wrung her hands. and ran away with rapid strides. I clearly an embarrassment to you. plaintively." "No. I know I would be uneasy among women who have feet. Alas that which I longed for. Suddenly he roughly unclasped from his neck the arms of Leucosia. To me you owe your life. plied. no. But I am too weak to regain the sea. " 'Pity'?" he exclaimed. And as for me. now terrifies me. "I am going to the city.THE SIREN . "Euphorion! Euphorion! Have pity on me!" she resumed. with this fin-tailed woman. and for the first time tears flowed from her pale eyes. Carry me to the shore. Her tail." she re- "Listen to me. and it is through you that I am doomed to lose mine. let her fall at full length to the ground. "Be patient. Euphorion muttered words He began to ask himself what he was to do of annoyance. beat feebly on the hard road. I know it. You no longer love me because I am not like other women. 317 the road the end of her scale-covered tail dragged in the dust." " 'Cruel' ?" said Euphorion." he said. for surely the gods have deprived me of immortality as punishment for having fallen in love with a human being. and I'll return alone to my cruel sisters. "Euphorion That cry was so touching that he stopped. "You have never before spoken !" word "That is because that I have never before suffered. dear friend and comrade. now that they were in the country of men. Perspiring under his burden." she moaned. "Still another word which !" you have never before used see that I shall always be ! . Euphorion !" cried the Siren. and will ! return with a chariot to fetch you. whose beautiful shiny colors were soiled by the dust.

"But why hope! I am not." he sobbed." said he. kindhearted goddess of the sea. You. it who appeared before the two lovers. Euphorion. and I shall be a poor forsaken nymph. because you have elevated each other. have shown compassion to one of my daughters of the sea at the very moment when you were about to realize your dearest hope that of once more seeing your native land and finally. limbs in the waters of the sea. "Adieu." she said. "it to edge. no longer even — Siren. while her long flowing hair entwined itself about his She smiled at him amid her tears. the other by increased fortilately fought at the side of — . dear friend.FRENCH SHORT STORIES 318 is you who have revealed its me. I have no need of — I shall try to forget forget." Euphorion. tude. "and I wish you well. can I forget ? Alas. "I have long been interested in you. Let happen whatsoever may please the gods you and I are going away together !" — Euphorion would really have committed that folly had not been for Thetis. For I shall be exceedingly unhappy if I remember you and all the things you have taught me. and I do not want you to go away without me. He placed Leucosia gently on the beach. I fear I cannot." Euphorion wept: "Become what you will. while you." she said. and then she knees. the one through greater knowledge. Besides. Leucosia. without saying anything. lifted her into his arms. and become once more like my sisters. But then. . "if only you were like other women. near the water's "Alas meaning !" she answered. "I know that I love you." "Ah. sighed so tenderly that he felt his resolution weakening. have been kind to one who but my son Achilles.

" "Thank you !" said Thetis. happy. I had in mind only an insignificant little sea. a hundred paces from here. and you can live pleasantly with Leucosia in the boundless sea. Then. so that from now on it will never cause you any suffering. and "Yes." Euphorion and Leucosia beamed with joy. transformation took place forthwith." "You need make no excuses. one must not think of anything." Thetis touched the Siren lightly with her trident and the . my child. dear daughter of the would you give up your immortality to live with him?" "For to be immortal. "Oh!" Leucosia exclaimed. on the hill. Or. preserving your human mind with all its associations. on leaving them. could she be absolutely certain that she had made them child. smiled somewhat doubtfully. Leucosia. "I was not thinking of you when I said that. . for after all. I can remove from your memory all that you have experienced. goddess like myself.THE SIREN 319 "There are several ways in which I can reward you. . and follow him whom you love. I can give you the fins and the form of a dolphin. happy ? . Leucosia. But Thetis." answered the Siren. "My added the kindly goddess." for a fitting . do I under- stand that you are willing to become mortal?" "With all my heart!" "Become a woman then. Beyou depart alone. And proceed together toward the city. Euphorion. But it is my wish to make you happy in the manner you yourselves are fore letting thinking of this minute. "go now and ask garment from the priestess of the little temple which you see.

is found in Poe's review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales (mentioned p. not to exceed in length what might be perused in an hour]. afforded by the called upon vide domains of mere prose. I allude to the short prose narrative requiring from a half -hour to one or two hours in .. then he has failed in his first step. And by is not such means. with deliberate unique or single effect to be wrought out. should best fulfill the tageous demands of high genius field of exertion —I — should offer it the most advan- should unhesitatingly speak of the prose tale. a certain — sentence tends not to the outbringing of this effect. as Mr. a sense of the fullest satisfaction.APPENDIX Prepared by George L. which can be . next to such a poem . The idea of the tale has been presented uncare 320 . . Marsh. affords unquestionably the fairest field for the exercise of the loftiest talent. a picture is at length painted which leaves in the mind of him who contemplates it with a kindred art. . direct or indirect. he then invents such incidents he then combines such events' as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. 7).. A its perusal. structed a tale. Hawthorne has here exemplified it.. to the one preestablished design. in opinion. The most important parts of Poe's essay are as follows: "The tale my proper.. his thoughts to his incidents. he has not fashioned. which appeared in Graham's Magazine in 1842. accommodate skillful literary artist has con- If wise. but having conceived. Were I to designate that class" of composition which. In the whole composition there should be no word written. of which the tendency. as I have suggested [a rimed poem. If his very initial care. author of the Manual for the Study of English Classics HELPS TO STUDY The Short Story Form The essence of the distinction now usually made between the artistic short story as a literary form. with such and skill. and other brief narratives.

Story of Romantic Adventure. Plan for the Study of a Short Story (Condensed from Types of the Short Story) The following list of types is not exhaustive. Love Story. Humorous Story of Local Color. . . Story of Ingenuity. II. . Lake English Classics. in short. Its if products are never so rich. Story of Terror.APPENDIX 321 blemished. Story. but infinitely more numerous. is a tableland of far vaster extent than the domain of the mere poem. Has PURPOSE the author a purpose beyond that of entertaining his readers ? If so. nor are types coordinate or mutually exclusive. Psychological Story. . Story of Fantasy. A good list may be found in the Introduction and the Appendix to Types of the Short Story. and this by the novel. Story of the Supernatural. Animal Story. Thus the is an end unattainable composition. which are very numerous. for example. but absolutely forbidden by one of its most peculiar and indispensable adjuncts. Apologue. Story of Dramatic Incident. may The writer of the prose bring to his theme a vast variety of modes or tions of thought — (the and expression tale. because undisturbed. we allude. the sarcastic or the humorous) which are not only antagonistical to the nature of the poem. inflec- ratiocinative. Story of Youth. state this purpose. Character Sketch. to rhythm. . This fundamental statement has been much elaborated in books on the short story. but the list is all given for the its suggestiveness Tale. and more appreciable by the mass of mankind. field of this species of not in so elevated a region on the mountain of Mind. of course.

APPENDIX 322 TITLE III. To give the tone of the story. a. The title of a short story the following are the most To name the principal may serve various purposes. as Fear (Maupassant). To give the setting. What purpose or purposes are served by the first paragraph or two of the story? Do they serve any purpose not mentioned above? b. In realistic fiction the plot is always probable. either with incident or with conversation. To state or suggest the central idea of the story. as 007 (Kipling). of which the following are among the most common: To start the action of the story. To arouse curiosity. a. setting of the story. in romantic fiction it may be improbable or impossible. Is interest aroused at the beginning? V. or impossible. improbable. as To give the scene passant) or . improbable. To tell how the story came to be written or published. To introduce characters. To name some object which plays an important part in the story. BEGINNING The opening paragraphs of a story may serve various purposes. Is Plots classified the plot of this story probable. as The Wreck (Maucharacter." may be to the on the basis of their probability in three groups: probable. a. as The Atheist's Mass (Balzac). Which of these purposes does the title of the story serve? Has it a purpose not mentioned above? . or impossible? . To suggest the chief incident. of which common: Mateo Falcone (Merimee) The Thief (Dostoevski). PLOT The plot of a story may be described as ''what happens characters. describing the scene of the story. as The NecMace (Maupassant). o. as The Haunted and the Haunters (Lytton). by description or by comment. To suggest the type of the story. as or to characterize him. in hand Is the title well chosen? IV.

(3) by what a character does. (4) by what he says. and in some modern reached. ples of each method. interest flags? The climax of a story is the point where the interest many modern In highest pitch. Is there If appearance of a village so. the Where d.. Are there any episodes in the story read? Can you see why velopment is called affecting the /. c.? c. is at the short stories. Are the surroundings made clear? Does the author give in a. (2) by comment of other characters. CHARACTERS Are the characters many or few? Are the characters lifelike? From what class of society are they drawn? There are four ways of showing character: (1) by author's comment. is important. or do you infer them from casual hints? t. SETTING Are the time and place of the story definitely stated. e. ~b. swift. is less the climax in the story in hand? Does' the whole story converge upon this point? In most stories. if possible. Are these minor climaxes in the story read? e. movement of the story. they are introduced? VI. besides the principal climax there are minor ones. Episodes may be omitted without main story. i. etc. An is called a incident that does not help in plot de- an episode. the whole plot is upon the climax. and when it is But in the tale. VII. much why? description of nature? street.APPENDIX Is the b. much detail the house. the story exists for this. gradual. which of the foregoing methods are used? Is any one of them used more than the others? Find good exama. An Where? incident in a story that helps in plot development contributing incident. In the story read. the interior of a . built climax stories. the 323 way events succeed each other. the story ends. or slow? Are there any points where the story interesting? Is the c.

wordy. /. epigram- polished. intense. 9) and illustrate them by reference to specific stories in this collection. tame. by any other term? Volume "What reasons have there been for the remarkable development of the short story in the last century (p. g. 8) ? Sum up the main differences between the short story and the novel (p. Is this the case in the story read? /. just as in a picture an artist settings are purposely give us softened outlines impart a certain atmosphere or tone to the picture. Is there sufficient make you description to see clearly the persons in the story? g.APPENDIX 324 d. Does the style possess individuality. a. In describing people. through chiefly told it is. What story in this volume approaches closest to the scope and manner of the novel? Do you think this particular story could . does he gain or lose by this? Point out a figure of -speech. careful. does the author give their features? Their figure? Their dress? In some the stories characters or a shadowy background. Is there much use of local color? STYLE VIII. Does the author possess a wide vocabulary? Does he use unfamiliar or technical terms? If so. Are figures of speech frequent? and show what is gained by its use. e. or are there sentences that or chiefly use? you must read a second time? d. so that you feel that after reading several of the writer's stories you could recognize his work? 1 h. transparent. e. what conversation. picturesque. Which swift. Is dialect used? c. to the or may vague. easy. matic. involved. Can you characterize flat? flowing. of the following terms describe the style of the story: graphic. it Stories in This abrupt. Is the story through direct narration? If Z>. gained by is its Is the style clear.

. ' . devices to keep up suspense. Stevenson and Kipling and Conrad (in England).APPENDIX be expanded into a novel? If so. AN EPISODE OF THE REIGN OF TERROR Find examples in this story (and also in the others from Balzac) of the "trick" of realism mentioned at the top of page 20. Stevenson once declared that there are only three ways of writing You may take a plot and fit characters to it. see the Lake Classic edition of The Sketch Boole (pp. Discuss the question (implied on p. Bianchon . Henry" (in America). you may take a certain atmosphere and get actions and persons to express and realize it. and Hawthorne and Poe (all Americans) in developing and ex- plaining the technique of the form. It will be interesting to apply this classification to the stories in the text. and "O. 325 what would be the process? Could any other stories in the book be similarly expanded? Study the differences between the extremely short story (of the type mentioned on p. As an example of the third The Merry Men the other class he mentions his own story. definite idea who the mysterious stranger was." and discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of each kind. 17) of French preeminence Take into account the importance of Irving in the short story. For the importance of Irving and Hawthorne and Poe as pioneers. 11) and the longer "short story. and the remarkable work of. ' ' ' ' ' classes are self-explanatory. Are there any hints before page 29 that the woman first introis a nun? Why were not nuns and priests safe? Who is meant by the "sacred personage" mentioned on page 31? When do you find out definitely. and how? duced THE ATHEIST'S MASS Are you deceived by it the beginning of this story? Do you think objectionable to begin as if the story were about Dr. Henry James. Trace hints of the sinister. Had you any point out exactly what gave you your idea. or you may a story for example. Bret Harte. ' ' : take a character and choose incidents and situations to develop it. 31-32) and the passage from Poe's review of Hawthorne on page 320 above. . or . before you were told? "Were you completely surprised? If not.

Do you see any defense for the use of purely English terms in a story of which the scene is in France? man COLONEL CHABERT What do you think of the amount of legal detail in the early How do you account for it (p. 144)? Is any defense or any condemnation of the father's action implied in this story? How do you find the action accounted for in Is the boy's action made to seem his character as presented? natural. any stories in which the movement is not perpetuAnswer specifically. reasonable? CROISILLES Trace the steps in accounting for the final action of Mile. that of his wife. any digressions? Do you find not realistic at least in details? . any wasting of Answer specifically. 19) ? Do you find any indication of a general opinion as to lawyers (p. Godeau. all this make On the basis of a brief characterization of each. 57). MATEO FALCONE Do you notice any difference in directness and conciseness between Balzac and Merimee? In the personal note (p. 71) ? What is the purpose and effect of such description as that on part of this story? page 99? Trace carefully the steps leading up to and accounting for Colonel Chabert's final action. ally forward? Which of these stories are realistic? Are there any that are words.APPENDIX 326 when it is many details really about Desplein? What purpose is served by so about the former? Find indications that the translation was made by an English(p. Is it made to seem -reasonable? Do you consider all the formal description and explanation of this story necessary or important? MAUPASSANT IN GENERAL Which of these stories by Maupassant deal with the supreme moment in a life? Are all such stories complete dramas? Do you find any admission of non-essentials.

Which do you consider most remarkable of these stories' for swiftness. especially in making a short story present a complete drama. Criticize or THE WRECK Why Would do we have the description of La Eochelle on page 206? it be unjustifiable if much longer? Should the Englishman's presence on the wreck be accounted Should the narrator 's business report be mentioned at or near the end? Do you find any indication of the attitude or feeling of the girl? Would any other ending of the story be reasonable? for ? FRIGHT Are the two different examples of "fright" in this story suffi- Is enough explanation given or ciently related for unity? im- plied ? Do you narrator? find Any TWO FRIENDS Any apparent any comment here? definite bias of the indication that he thinks the Prussians were cruel or unjustifiable? What. nevertheless. directness. is . Point out in how many ways irony is the main idea. Has it any advantages over the usual English paragraphing? translation? Comment on latter? THE NECKLACE defend a choice of this story as the best representative of Maupassant's powers.APPENDIX 327 Find examples of the characteristics mentioned on page 193. compression? Do you notice any faulty idiom apparently due to imperfect Point out examples if you find any. is the effect of the story? THE HAND What do you find to be Maupassant's attitude toward the supernatural or the apparently supernatural? Which of these "hor- — ror stories" seems to you most impressive? THE LAST LESSON Specify the various ways in which the style of this story made suitable to its central idea and its subject matter. How does it differ from the the paragraphing.

Write a brief character sketch of the abbe.APPENDIX 328 THE POPE'S MULE Explain the historical setting. BOUM-BOUM — French tu a distinction and effective? The Is the kindness of the clown adequately accounted for? Does the use of thou not now made in translation of —seem natural in English recovery of the child? THE SIREN do you think of the modern notes in the treatment of an ancient story. 281) What ? does the rest add to the story? THE JUGGLER OF NOTRE DAME Students who are acquainted with Massenet's them® of this story so simple a tale opera on the study and report on the ways in which may has been elaborated for the stage. Can you account reasonably for such paragraphing as that near the bottom of page 287 and the top of 288? THE BIRDS IN THE LETTER-BOX Note how birds is an impression of great familiarity with the habits of given. as found here? What . How ment is being kicked by a mule made to seem worthy of treat- in a story of eleven pages? THE REVEREND FATHER GAUCHER 'S ELIXIR Note how Daudet's good-natured but sly and insinuating attitude toward worldliness in churchmen resembles that of Chaucer in the Prologue to Canterbury Tales. A PIECE OP BREAD Observe the sympathetic attitude toward the poor which is very characteristic of Coppee. Find the best examples of the mock-heroic or burlesque in material or style. What would you think of omitting all after the climax (near the top of p.

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