Puslapio vaizdai

After this harangue he ran away; and, having settled the bargain with Jean Jacques, who spoke execrable French, we walked disconsolately down to the river, Jean Jacques, in a very cracked voice, calling out something in Breton, which a woman told us signified that he would be ready in five minutes.

We sauntered on to the bridge, and enjoyed the lovely view up and down the river, but the five minutes grew into thirty at least. At last we heard a shout, and, turning round to look up the road, we saw our vehicle.

On inspection, it proved to be a miserable little cart, without any springs; two sacks stuffed with bean-straw were laid across the seats, and a little white horse stood between the shafts.

Our driver was sweeping the inside of the cart most vigorously with a huge broom made of the green broom-plant.

He had washed himself, and had wonderfully smartened his appearance. He wore a white-flannel jacket, trimmed with black velvet and small brass buttons, and a large, flat black hat, also trimmed with black velvet. But the horse was deplorably small, with drooping head, and looking as if his bones were unset, and he was only kept together by his dirty-white skin.

We clambered into the vehicle with heavy hearts, but no anticipation could justify the reality. Directly we started, the jolting was dreadful, and besides this the horse had a perpetual zigzag movement, which sent us from side to side of the cart, and doubled the length of our journey; one felt just like a shuttlecock, the sides of the cart representing the battledoor.

We tried to speak to our driver, but he shook his head imperiously, and answered in Breton. One might have taken him for a hideous old wizard, with his gleaming eyes and flowing gray hair, but for his religious reverence. At every church and every calvary we passed he slackened his pace, uncovered, and mumbled a long prayer, after which he always whipped his horse violently, and jolted us worse than ever.

That drive was certainly like a "hideous dream," though it lay through a picturesque, hilly country, the road on each side constantly bordered by tall silver-birch-trees, through which we got glimpses of the Montagnes Noires.

Next morning was full of sunshine, and, having secured an easy carriage, we started at an early hour from the hotel for St.-Nicodème. We soon overtook carts of all kinds going in the same direction, chiefly long carts, with three or four benches or planks set across, and these were crammed with men, women, and children, in holiday costumethe salient points in which were the white jackets and huge black hats of the men, and the long, white coiffes of the women, black being the prevailing color of their jackets and skirts. There were also numbers of men and women on foot, trudging along the road, many of them driving their animals to the fair.

The fine gray spire of the church of St.Nicodème was visible for some time before

we reached it. At last we came to a road or lane on the right, shaded by spreading chestnut-trees. These Breton side-roads have a character peculiarly their own. In the north they are deeply sunk between high furze and brake-covered banks, along the top of which is often concealed a foot-path; but in the south these banks are lowered, and, as at St.Nicodème, huge trees grow behind them, and send their branches across from side to side so near the road that certainly the loftybooded wagons of Normandy would find no room to pass under the leafy roof.

Our driver stopped and told us this road led to the church; and, indeed, without this information, we should have guessed this, as people were hastening into it from all directions. Our driver said the road was too rough for his vehicle to go over, so we dismounted.

The lane was full of people, all hurrying toward the church. We found it necessary to walk heedfully, for the road was channeled with deep cart-ruts, and these were filled with mud and water. At the end of the lane we found ourselves in a bewildering throng of carts, horses, cows, pigs, and people, crowded in front of and against the low stone-wall that fences in the church and its celebrated fountain. At the moment a man quite blocked up further passage by calmly plaiting the cream-colored tail of his horse, so long that it reached across the road, which had widened out as it neared the church.

St.-Nicodème is a handsome stone building of the sixteenth century, with a fine tower and spire; but it is its situation that is so charming. It stands in a sort of hollow; the ground rising from it on three sides is planted with huge chestnut-trees. Under the shade of these, beyond and beside the church, we saw a great crowd of people, all seemingly peasants. There appeared no mixture of bourgeois element, but before going into this crowd we turned aside to see the fountain.

A visit to this is evidently an important part of the duty of the day. Three or four old women came toward us at once with jugs and cups of the holy-water to drink and wash our faces in, for which they expect a few centimes. The fountain is of later date than the church, and is sufficiently picturesque. In one of the three compartments into which it is divided is the figure of St.-Nicodème. On one side of him a man and a woman are kneeling; they offer him an ox. In the other niches are St.-Abilon, with two men, one on horseback, the other kneeling; and St.Gamaliel between two pilgrims, one of whom offers him a pig. These saints are all Jews. Men and women, too, were bathing their faces and eyes in the fountain, and also eagerly drinking the water. It is said to have antiseptic properties. Standing and lying about were dirty, picturesque beggars intent on exhibiting their twisted and withered limbs and incurable wounds to passers-by.

The finely-sculptured portal of the church was thronged with these sufferers, some of them eating their poor breakfasts out of little basins. One ragged child held out a scallopshell for alms, keeping up a chorus of whining supplication. Among these squalid objects a beautiful butterfly was hovering-a

baby-child stretching up its hand and crying for it. The interior of the church had evidently been so recently whitewashed that there had been no time to wash the stains and splashes from the dirty pavement; and, as there were no chairs, this was covered by kneeling worshipers. On the ceiling the sta tions of the cross were painted in very gaudy colors. The high altar was one blaze of lighted candles; grouped round it were some really rich crimson and white banners worked in gold, and at a side-altar a priest was say ing a litany. There were most picturesque figures among the kneeling worshipers, and in and out among them two girls wandered up and down with lighters for the votive can dles; several old women, too, carried about bundles of these candles.

Some of the kneelers pulled my skirts to attract attention to a leg or arm, or to inform me in a whisper that they were ready to pray the Blessed Virgin to give me a safe journey if I had a few centimes to gire


It was so cool inside the church that the air felt oven-like when we came out again, al though the gray old building was surrounded by huge, spreading chestnut-trees. Close to th church, ranged under the green, fan-like leaves were booths full of strings of rosaries, crosses medals, badges, and other jewelry, especially ornamental pieces for fastening the chemi settes and shawls of the peasant-women. Silve rings bearing the image of St.-Nicodème were selling rapidly at a fabulously low price. other booths (or ranged against the low ston wall at the right side of the church) were se forth a store of large, gaudily-colored print of various saints and sacred subjects. Chie among them was a gorgeous full-length of St Nicodème wearing the papal tiara, a viole cassock, green chasuble, and scarlet mant Over his head, in a golden nimbus, was bright-green dove descending on the sain who stood between a tall poplar-tree and palm bursting into blossoms of various colon There were hymns on each side of the pape A carter with his whip under his arm, th heavy lash twisted round his neck, kne down reverently to look at this wonderf print; and a withered old man leaned ore him to explain the words of the hymns, whic were in French.

Farther on, the open glen behind th church is thick with people buying, selling eating, and drinking. Here are booths f clothes, crockery, etc., and open stands f eatables and drinkables. An old man is se ing sieves and wooden bowls and bore heaped up over the grass. Sieves are in gre demand at their harvest-season.

Hard by the church, against the trunk an enormous chestnut-tree, several men seated with lathered faces; two were b shaved, the others patiently waiting turn. The rapidity of the barbers was amusing; two used the soap-brush, and t the razor. It is customary to let the bet grow some weeks before the festival of Nicodème, and then to be clean shave the early morning. We came upon ma these al-fresco barber-shops under the in different parts of the fair.

As we walked through the crowd,

served how varied and picturesque the dress of the men was. The jacket was generally of white flannel cut square at the neck, trimmed with black velvet, with a row of embroidery thereon, and strings of metal buttons. The outside pockets of these jackets were cut into seven or eight vandykes bound with black velvet, each of the points being fastened by a brass or silver button. The beaver or felt hats were enormous, very lowcrowned, and trimmed with a band of broad, black velvet fastened by a silver buckle, with two ends hanging behind. The trousers were chiefly blue or white, although some were of black or brown velveteen, often loose, but without the bagginess so common in Lower Brittany.

The older men wore black gaiters reaching to the knees, fastened by a close row of tiny 12 buttons. Round the waist many of them wore a broad, thick, buff-leather belt, with Juaint metal clasps. This hung so low and oosely that it seemed worn only for ornabent. We asked a tall Breton farmer, with are feet thrust into his sabots, what was the se of this belt.

"It has no use," he said, complacently; I wear it for fashion's sake."

The waistcoat was also white flannel rimmed with so many rows of embroidered elvet that is had the effect of several waistoats worn one above another; four or five ozen silver buttons were set in two rows own each side of the outer waistcoat so losely that the edges overlapped. This cosime was perhaps the most uncommon we LW. The elder men wore their hair very ng, sometimes hanging over their shoulders most to their waists; their dark, gleaming res and thick, straight eyebrows gave them fierce appearance.

Some of the men were very tall, and they alked about among the women as if they ere beings of a different order. They seemed rely to speak to them; each sex mostly arded in groups apart, except that the men ok the centre of the fair as their right, and ced up and down like princes. There emed to be no curious strangers present expt ourselves (and yet they took little notice us). Even when we got farther up the en, and more into the crowd, we saw no ixture of townsfolk-it was a festival of asants.

We were specially attracted by the face a fine old man with flowing white hair, it most malevolent black eyes, who stood aning, with his broad-leaved beaver hat, a idironful of silvery sardines, frizzling and ackling over a pan of charcoal on the pass.


When they were cooked, he speedily und customers for them.

Close by was a stand covered with huge ves of buckwheat-bread, which were findgready sale; and, as we moved on, we saw promptu fireplaces in all directions. On e side a huge, steaming pipkin hung from tripod of sticks. From this a coarse ragoût meat and potatoes sent out a not too sary smell. Farther on a large pot of coffee pod on a glowing lump of charcoal. And Aw we came upon booths with cold edibles

splayed on the stalls-sausages of all kinds, d a sort of cold meat-pudding in great re


quest, but by no means of seducing appear- through the low, arched openings, we saw there were tables, running from one end to the other, covered with bottles and glasses -men and women sitting alternately on each side. The men, having probably concluded their bargains, were drinking their beloved cider; but at present, at any rate, the women had empty glasses before them, and were istening to the conversation of their lords held with each other across the table.

Farther back from the main avenue, under the trees, were carts full of immense ciderbarrels, covered with fresh brakes. A woman, wearing the costume we had seen the day before at St.-Nicolas, stood at a table in front of one of these carts drawing cider as fast as she could into jugs, glasses, etc., and all around her were groups of men talking together, and getting less silent and morose as they drank glass after glass and toasted one another.

A low stone-wall, overgrown with grass, divided this wooded glen on the left from the country high-road. On a bit of the wall a pleasant-looking country-woman, in a wellstarched, spotless-white muslin coif the two broad lappets pinned together behind her head-had spread out her wares on a gay-colored handkerchief: caps, collars, and chemisettes, were displayed to the best advantage in this elevated position. She sat on the wall beside her goods, and she seemed to be driving a good trade, though it was puzzling to know how her customers would dispose of such easily-crumpled articles in the midst of the ever-moving crowd.

So far we had been struck by the quiet and decorum of the scene. It was really too quiet. There was none of the repartee and merry laughter we had so often heard in a Norman market. Men and women alike looked serious and self-contained. The hap-| piest faces were those of the dear little children, toddling and tumbling about in all directions. Some of these in their close-fitting skull-caps, thick woollen skirts, and large white collars, were perfect little Velasquez figures. Others wore round hats set on the back of their heads. Almost all had clear complexions, and handsome, large, round, dark eyes.

Still farther on we heard a rather monotonous beat of drum. There was a performance going on here, but it seemed only to consist in the explanation of various pictures exhibited by the show-woman in a drawling recitative. Behind this we found ourselves in the cattle-market- a part of the glen where the grass was less worn away, and where the trees were more thickly planted. Men stood about here plaiting and unplaiting the long tails of their horses. Women dragged their pretty little black-and-white cows about, sometimes by a rope fastened to their horns, but quite as often they hurried on, regardless of everybody, with their cow's head griped under one arm. Pigs were also being hauled about, filling the air with their noise. One woman had got her pig by the tail, and dragged it, squealing, through the very thickest of the crowd; another had a rope fastened to her pig's leg. In this quarter it was difficult to move through the confused mass of people and animals. No one seemed to care or to look where he or she went. It was apparently assumed that every one would take care of himself or herself; lacking this, there was every chance of being knocked down and trampled under foot by the crowd or the cattle.

Wherever space could be found among the trees were long booths, some of them garlanded with green boughs. Looking

There had been an auction of beasts going on under the trees. Groups of wild-looking men, with long hair streaming over their dark, embroidered jackets, their hats larger and with broader velvet on them than any we had seen, were talking fiercely about the cattle, with flashing eyes and much gesticulation. These were Finistère men from Scaër and Baunalec. We were told that the design embroidered in the centre of their jackets behind signifies the Blessed Sacrament. They looked far more savage and determined than the white-coated men of Morbihan, but they were less sullen and reserved. There was abundant variety, too, in the costumes of the women. We saw some gorgeous green gowns trimmed with broad black velvet both on the skirt and on the sort of double body, which seems to answer to the coat and waistcoat of the men. The black velvet was covered with gold-and-scarlet embroidery.

The head-gear of St.-Nicolas, with the brilliant green, scarlet, or yellow linings, was most abundant, but there was besides a large proportion of white coifs and caps and quaintly-shaped collars. Most of the women wore gold or gilt hearts and crosses depending from a velvet ribbon round the throat. Few of them showed any hair on their foreheads, and it is, perhaps, the absence of this, added to the large, melancholy eyes, which gives so sad and solemn an expression to the face of the Bretonne peasant. They tell you that they have their hair cut off because there is no room for it under the coif-in reality, they sell it to the traveling barber who will give the best price for it.

Formerly, all the cattle of the neighborhood, decorated with ribbons, were led in procession to the church to be blesseddrums beating and banners flying-but this custom seems to have been given up, though some animals are still offered to St.-Nicodème, and these are sold afterward at higher prices than the rest, as the presence of one of them in a stable is supposed to bring luck. Time was going fast, and we began to be curious as to the hour of the descent of the angel.

We were told that it would come down after vespers, and we made our way through the crowd to the rising ground on the left of the church. Already the cider was beginning to take effect. There was much more noise and chatter. The men stood about in groups in eager discussion, using rapid and vehement gesticulation.

The heat had become overpowering, the sun seemed to scorch us as we walked, but the chestnut-trees on this hill-side were even larger than those below, and, so long as we could remain under them, there was dense and most refreshing shade. We found the interest was now concentrated on a large open space aroud the tall calvary which

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stood on the rising ground; close beside it was a lofty pole, with a large heap of dried furze and brushwood piled high around its base.

A man was going up a ladder placed against this pole, fixing on it at intervals hoops covered with red and blue paper; finally he fastened a painted flag on the top of it.

Presently we saw that a cord was being lowered from the top of the lofty churchtower. Several eager watchers among the chestnut-trees below secured the end of this cord when it reached the ground and brought it in triumph to a post at the foot of the❘ pole, about one hundred yards from the church. The cord was fastened securely below a square box on the top of the post, and from this time a breathless suspense hung over the swaying, rugged-looking crowdthat is, I say, among the elders and the children-the younger men and women seemed to choose this time for walking up and down, in and out, through the groups of gazerssome sending saucy, others sheepish glances at one another without an exchange of words. We were specially amused in watching three young, pretty, and very gayly-dressed girls, who walked up and down, looking neither to right nor left, but evidently considering themselves the belles of the fête. A little man with twisted legs, with a joke for every one, seemed in universal favor; he was, no doubt, the bazralan, the tailor, and match-maker of the neighborhood. We saw his cunning, dark face, and keen, black, restless eyes in all parts of the throng, and, to judge by his long colloquies with some of the older matrons, he was doing a profitable business; he was almost the only man who seemed to talk much to the women.

All at once the bell rang out for vespers; the bazralan and most of the women and children flocked into church, followed by a few .of the men.

Meanwhile, the throng of men about us increased; those who had been drinking in the booths came across to the calvary, and we had full opportunity of studying their dark, remarkable faces. There is no need for the Breton to disclaim, as he does, any kindred with the French these peasants, especially the men of Morbihan and Finistère, are a race apart; with their long, dark, deep-set eyes gleaming from under thick, dark eyebrows, their tangled hair spreading over the shoulders, and often reaching almost to the waist, and their dark skins and long, straight noses, and their quaint costume, they are wholly un-French; they are taller, too, and larger-framed than the generality of Frenchmen, and there is a seriousness amounting to dignity which is wholly distinctive. Even when he is drunk, and this is a too frequent occurrence, the Breton strives to be self-controlled and quiet; and when he is sober there is a touch of the North American Indian in his stolid indifference, and also in the contempt with which he regards his spouse-for the Breton peasant-woman, spite of her rich costume on Sundays and galadays, is a mere hewer of wood and drawer of water, the slave of her drunken, unfeeling husband.



It is possibly this slavery which takes | bending, swooping sideways in pursuit of away self-respect, and gives to the Bretonne the flying shreds of burning paper filling the the clumsiness and half-savage habits which air; and in the midst of the stifling heat, and must strike every stranger as much as her smoke, and din-for the crowd had found a 70! want of gayety and light-heartedness. There universal voice at last-the little golden-ci are, of course, abundant exceptions, but a winged angel mounted quickly to the steeple woman cannot travel in Brittany without be- again, followed by strange, uncouth howls coming, to some extent, aware of the slight of delight, which seemed to be the approved esteem in which her sex is held. One never method of expressing satisfaction. sees in Brittany a young man and woman strolling together in the evening. One little day of courtship just before marriage is generally all that falls to the lot of the Bretonne peasant; after marriage, her slavery begins.

All at once there was a stir among the crowd. It had been impossible to stand near the pole exposed to the full blaze of the sun, so we had taken shelter under the huge chestnut leaves, but we ventured into the sunshine now, for the excitement was contagious. Almost before we reached the pole, we saw coming down the cord a pretty little angel about three feet high, with bright, golden wings. It stood an instant beside the post to which the rope was attached, and then went up again, and remained stationary outside the tower, the only sound heard in the breathless silence of the crowd being the clickclick of the wheels on which the little creature moved. This, we learned, was a trialdescent, it being necessary to make sure that the machinery worked properly before the real descent took place. This was to happen as soon as vespers was said.

We stood our ground bravely for another quarter of an hour in the burning sunshine. The heat was so intense that the sticks and furze-bushes piled up round the pole in readiness for the bonfire felt as if they came out of an oven.

Suddenly the bells peal out loudly, and a glittering procession comes singing out of the church, with lighted candles, crosses, and crimson-and-gold banners. First come the choristers, then the priests, and then a long train of men and women.

As soon as the procession has circled the hill it halts. Bang! bang! bang! go the guns from the church-tower, and down comes the pretty little angel, this time very rapidly, its bright wings flashing in the sunshine. It bolds a match in one outstretched hand, and touches first the box on the post and then the bonfire. A peasant, with many-colored ribbons in his hat, helps the angel's work. There is a loud, deafening explosion, then a discharge of squibs and crackers from the box, and then the furze and fagots of the bonfire ignite and blaze fiercely.

Long tongues of red flame leap up till they reach the first of the hoops on the pole. Bang bang! and off go the fireworks of which they are composed; the noise is tremendous and ear-splitting, and the flames go leaping higher and higher, till all the suspended fireworks, including the flag at top, have exploded, blazing and hanging and dispersing themselves in shreds of flying fire above the heads of the excited crowd.

It was somewhat alarming to see the towering body of fierce red flame, brilliant even in the powerful sunshine-one moment carried up as if to reach the sky, and the next





It was a good moment to study the faces of these stolid, self-contained Bretons, moved out of their calm reserve, which to most of them seems second nature. The faces were wonderfully wild and expressive; the long, fierce black eyes gleamed with delight, and, le no doubt, in some with religious fervor, as the bonfire blazed higher and higher, casting ad lurid glare on all around-most unreal and hea theatrical in effect.

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The whole scene seemed made for a painter-these tall, black-browed men, with their powerful savage faces and long streaming der hair, their white-flannel coats and huge black hats, all faces upturned to the red, overmounting flame. Every now and then some man or boy dashed frantically almost into the swaying fire, to snatch at one of the fir ing shreds of burning paper to preserve it as a relic. At a little distance behind the Yor men, keeping apart, were groups of women in their quaint costumes, some wearing snowy caps, others the sombre coiffes of St.-Nicolas with their bright linings. Hard by stood the tall calvary, its stone steps thronged with little awe-struck children; ranged along the crest of the hill was the procession of priests es and choristers with banners and crosses, and in the midst of all the blazing bonfire, while the chestnut-trees crowned the green hill and circled round its base; and in the distance, seen through the spreading boughs, appeared the old gray church tower and spire, and the booths grouped around.

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The heat of the sun was still so intense though evening was coming on, that the ma could scarcely bear to keep their hats raised MOT above their heads as the procession wound Y once more slowly round the calvary and re turned to the church.

Perhaps the most striking effect of the whole scene was the contrast between the strong, wild excitement, betrayed more in look and gesture than by any prolonged out cry, and the trumpery cause that aroused it It was difficult to believe that these excited creatures, plunging madly to secure charred fragments of red paper, and yelling at the explosion of a few fireworks, could be the grand, dignified-looking men we had been watching all the morning. Possibly the mixt ure of cider and religious enthusiasm helped somewhat to this result.

We heard that the fête would last two days, but, as there was no preparation made for either dancing or wrestling, we preferred to leave St.-Nicodème before dusk, for more drinking was plainly to wind up the proceed ings of the day. It was evident that the greater number of the crowd would spen the night on the ground, either in the car which showed everywhere among the tre trunks, in the booths, or on the grass unde the chestnut-boughs.



O! It was not a tenement-house. Decidedly not. A tenement-house is one wherein reside three or more families, each doing its own cooking. There were several families in the house, but, with one exception, they boarded and lodged with Mrs. Pensover. The exception was a small family, consisting of a mother, who was a very small woman, and two small children-a boy and a girl. They lived in the hall bedroom front, on the fourth floor. They cooked their own meals a kettle and a frying-pan comprising their kitchen utensils at a little stove which warmed the room tolerably well in winter, and heated it uncomfortably hot in summer. They were rarely, if ever, seen by the wello-do boarders, who lived in rooms farther lown the chimneys. And Mrs. Pensover's Doarders were all well-to-do. Mrs. Pensover rept a fashionable boarding-house, a sort of private hotel, in that four-story and basement brown-stone-front house, situated in one of he most fashionable cross-streets of New York, within a stone's-throw of Fifth Ave


Nor was Mrs. Gaston considered poor by ny means. No one who dressed in such Food taste, and whose dresses were of such Mostly material, would be thought poor. She as merely in rather reduced circumstances. ust before John Gaston's death she had reElenished her stock of every thing, and when he estate paid less than nothing on the dolCir, the widow had enough on hand to last,

y turning and altering, for a long time, and hough gloves, shoes, and underwear, to stock small shop. The last of these fine dresses, tered for the second time, she wore now then she went out-of-doors. The rest had een turned and returned, altered and changed atil past further change, and were now in se in a new shape by the little girl. The idow was about at the last of every thing. Yes! She was a widow. John Gaston had en a wheelwright, very successful in his Isiness. He had acquired wealth, acquired jolly set of friends, and acquired a taste r whiskey. He lost his wealth first, and s friends afterward, but he did not lose his ste for whiskey. That clung to him, and finished him. His widow, having nothing it her wardrobe, began to look around for me mode of making a living. She would ve preferred to teach music, that being a vorite plan of lone females who have to e of hunger, but she knew nothing of mue whatever. She could not bore editors th dreary manuscripts, for she wrote badly d spelled worse, and she had neither invenon of her own nor the tact to steal the ideas others. She preferred to die by the needle, at famous instrument of torture which has flicted so many wounds on human happiSS. She obtained occasional employment embroidery, and the making of fine garents, at a Ladies' Depository," where genel poverty is sheltered from the gaze of the quisitive.

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Amelia Gaston knew Mrs. Pensover slightand asked her advice. Now, the boardinguse keeper had a spare room, seven feet by

eleven-the hall bedroom before mentioned
-which no boarder would oocupy. Young,
single men fought shy of it. The only one
who ever occupied it was young Pilkington,
salesman for Quidd & Buckle, hosiers, and
he vacated it at the end of a week, declaring
it was too small to swing a cat by the tail in.
As Amelia had no cat, and was much too
kind-hearted to swing it by its tail if she had
had one, and as Mrs. Pensover offered it for
a dollar and a half per week, the room was
speedily taken. And there the widow just
managed to maintain herself on the average
earnings of four dollars per week. Biddy, in
the kitchen, got five; Norah, the chamber-
maid, the same; and Mary Ann Rosina, the
cook, eight-besides their board and lodg-
ing; but neither of these persons was genteel.
They run the establishment, plundered and
ruled their employer, went to church regular-
ly on Sunday mornings, and left gentility to
the boarders and Mrs. Gaston.

Now, it was the night before Christmas,
and the boarders, safely housed from the
storm without, were enjoying themselves.
Little John Gaston, aged ten, and his sister
Mely, aged eight, were not enjoying them-
selves so much. In spite of their isolation
they had heard of Christmas-gifts and Christ-
mas - dinners, and Christmas merry-making,
and had some doubts whether the beneficent
genius who gladdened the hearts of other
boys and girls would condescend to visit
them. They talked together, and put ques-
tions to their mother, who, knowing that the
poor ten cents' worth of candy stowed away
in her work-box was the only gift to be
found next morning in their stockings, in-
vented and told them a fairy-story to amuse
them. While she was talking she heard the
door-bell ring, so vigorously did the visitor |
pull it, but it did not, apparently, concern

Much was she surprised then when, after opening the door to a knock, she saw standing there a middle-aged man, very sunburned, apparently, for his dark complexion was out of character with his great fiery beard and auburn hair.

"Mrs. Gaston, this gentleman wishes to see you," said the hall-girl, who had shown him up. And then she went about her busi


"I beg your pardon, ma'am," said the man, speaking huskily from the depths of a great fur-collar, "but-I suppose I have come at a queer time-yet-well, you see, I was informed that I could get you to make me some shirts-they told me so at the depository."

"I make them sometimes," said Amelia. "Will you walk in and sit down ?—John, give the gentleman that chair."

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And you won't let the goblin Care drive you away?"

"By no manner of means. I should like to catch him at it, that's all," said the stranger, as he unbuttoned his overcoat, and, throwing it back, displayed a handsome suit of black and a shirt-bosom on which glittered a diamond large enough to have been worn by a successful city politician.

Mrs. Gaston explained to him that little Mely's questions referred to a fairy-story she had just been telling.

"So they like fairy-stories, do they, these little people?" said the stranger. "If you'll allow me, I'll tell them a story, not exactly of fairies, but of a boy's adventures. It is not out of a book, and it is all true."

Then, without waiting for permission, he began:

"Once upon a time there was a boy of twenty, who his father, a hard-working mechanic, thought would make a good doctor. So he and the mother pinched themselves a good deal to give him a medical education. They arranged with their family physician to give him instruction, and sent him to a medical school. The boy attended one course of lectures, and then got into a gambling scrape, and lost all the money he had, and more than he had, for he was in debt. He ran away to sea, and shipped on a vessel bound on a three years' cruise-a man-of-war-as a landsman. He had always a fondness for the sea, and expected to have nice time. He soon learned that a sailor's life is a hard one at best, but under a severe captain worse than that of a dog. However, he worked away obediently enough, and, as it was found out that he had studied medicine for a while, and was rather well-mannered, the surgeon of the ship had him detailed to act as apothecary, so that his position was rather more pleasant than that of his messmates. He became, in spite of this, a tolerably good seaman, and served his time out, a favorite with the officers and crew. When he came home he was

The man walked in, bearing an apparent-paid off, and had quite a sum of money." ly heavy basket, which he deposited on the floor.

"The fact is," said he, "that I want some shirts made up in a hurry, and, though I do not expect you to work on Christmas, I would like you to begin the day after."

He then described the way he wanted the garments to be made, agreed without demur to the price asked, promised to send the material early the next morning, but still sat there.

"And did he get to be a captain?" inquired little John, when the narrator paused.

No, my boy; they don't make post-captains in that way. When he was paid off, he intended to go home and make his peace with his parents; but he first went out with some messmates on a frolic, the whole party got drunk, and when he woke up the next day he found himself in the station-house, with his money all gone. His fine was kindly paid by the keeper of a sailors' boarding-house, who,

by way of reimbursing himself, shipped the young man off in a merchantman bound to China. On their voyage there they had to stop at a port in the Malay Archipelago, and passed by a large island called Borneo. They got becalmed off the coast. The morning after this calm, which still continued, they were attacked by a party of natives sailing In long boats called praus. They fought bravely enough, but were all killed except one, who managed to hide away just before the pirates boarded the ship. He could not see what they were doing, but he could hear tolerably well. The natives went to work to strip the vessel, taking out every thing portable that they fancied, and even letting down and carrying off the sails. This occupied them until nearly night, when they went off, first kindling a fire on the deck."

"And did she burn up?" inquired John. "No. As soon as he smelt the smoke, he knew they were gone, and came out from his hiding-place. He managed to extinguish the fire, which hadn't made much headway, and, a gale of wind coming up just then, the praus did not wait to return, but put to shore. The gale sank to a gentle breeze, but it lasted long enough to drive the vessel, which answered her helm very well, a good many miles away. The vessel drifted when the wind fell, and John went down and turned in.

"It was daylight when he awoke next morning. He found the ship close to a sandy beach, and tried to turn her head out, but failed. She struck in a little creek of the shore, close to a large rock, and there she was, fast enough. He had to make the best of it. There was no probability she would get off, for it was dead high tide at the time, so he began to search the vessel for something to eat. He found some biscuits in a locker, and made his breakfast off those. Then he went through the vessel to see what was left.

"The Dyaks had carried off all the arms and ammunition that had been in use, and the heads of the captain and of the crew; but there was a secret closet in the cabin of

which they knew nothing, and in this was a rifle and a pair of revolvers, with plenty of powder and ball. There was a couple of shotguns also, with every thing appertaining, and the ship's chronometer. The provision-room had been plundered, and the men's chests' broken open and emptied ; but there were barrels of biscuit and pork in the hold, with other provisions; and John had no fear of starving. He saw no signs of inhabitants on the shore, and he determined to explore the country. So he let down the jolly-boat, which hung at the davits, armed himself, and rowed to shore. He found himself at the edge of a thick forest. He went into it for some distance, and saw no signs of people. He was glad of that, I can tell you, for the people likely to be found would have been Dyaks, and they have a way of killing or making slaves of strangers. John didn't want to be killed, and did not like to be a slave. So he came back to the boat and rowed to the ship. As he was in a strange place, he determined to make himself as comfortable as possible until some vessel might pass and take him off."

"Yes?" exclaimed little John. He was getting interested.

"The first thing he did was to sew up the dead bodies in sacks, with bits of iron at their feet, and throw them overboard. Then he went to work, like Robinson Crusoe, to get all the useful things on shore possible. He got off the hatches, and rigged a tackle, and thus swung up the barrels of provisions and some bales of muslin, meant for John Chinaman, that he thought would be useful to him. So he worked away day by day, getting every thing he could on shore, among the rest the ship's medicine-chest, and some surgical instruments, which had been overlooked by the Dyaks. He also built him a hut in the woods, among some dense underbrush. It was low, and thatched with leaves, but it answered his ends. And, climbing a tall tree near the shore, he stripped off the upper branches, and hoisted on the top the ship's ensign, with the union down, so that any vessel passing along would know a white man and an American was there in trouble.

"At last a storm came, and broke the ship up, and drove her fragments, some high on the shore, and some out to sea, and buried her keel in the sand. He got some more of her cargo even then, some bales of muslin and other goods, and stowed them in a dry place in the woods, covering them with great leaves, that shed the rain. And he waited and waited for a long time for some ship to come and carry him away. But none came. He had plenty to eat; he had stored away enough of the ship's provisions to feed a number of people for a year; there were wildfowl for the shooting, fish for the catching, and wild fruit for the gathering; he had plenty of coarse muslin to make himself clothes suitable for the climate; but he was very lonely. So one day he took his rifle and revolvers, with a pocket compass, and made his way inland, loaded with a package of provisions, that he knew would get lighter in his journey. He came, in a few hours, to a stream that he knew must empty into the sea somewhere south of where he had landed, and he went up its banks toward its source. He traveled along till nightfall, keeping the water in view, meeting no animal except here and there some gay-plumaged birds, and some very large butterflies. At night he climbed a tree, and found a place in the forked branches where he could sleep. And he had a bedfellow, too, that tried to steal his cap."

"I thought you said he met with no animal," interposed Mrs. Gaston, who had followed the narrative with as much interest as had the children.

"True, he had met none during the day; but the monkeys began to appear toward night, and he had no lack of their company afterward. They were only mischievous. Now and then an orang-outang, as the Malays call it, but the Dyaks always say mias, made his appearance, but he was more alarmed at John than John was at him, and made off as quickly as possible. Well, next day, John went farther on, and up a branch of the stream away into the high hills, where he began to see some signs of human beings, for he came upon a deserted hut. Then he moved

pretty cautiously, and at length saw a Dyak village. There was but one house in it, but that was a monster. He knew these were savages entirely, for the Dyaks, when they are converted to Mohammedanism, always live in separate dwellings. Still, they were evidently not of the piratical tribes on the coast, and he felt tolerably safe. While he was looking and considering, he heard a noise, and, turning around, saw a dozen or more of half-naked Dyaks, armed with lances, regarding him with some curiosity. Be gave himself up for lost; but, cocking his rifle, determined to defend himself."

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The stranger paused to take breath, and He the family waited anxiously for the rest of the story.

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"One of them, who had a little more clothing than the others, dropped the point of his lance, and the rest did the same. Then the leader stalked on, motioning John to fol low. There was no help for it, the action seemed to be friendly, and John followed the leader, the rest grouping around and chatting together in a low tone. The chief, for such he was, led the way to the large house, and into an apartment, where John found a young girl lying upon a couch. The leader touched her arm, and looked inquiringly at John. The thing was a puzzle, but be ex amined the arm, and, finding it out of place, with the head of the bone in the armpit, the whole thing flashed on him. They had heard of some white surgeon at Sarawak possibly, 123 and supposed either that this must be the man, or that all white men had a knowledge of surgery. John reduced the dislocation, and applied cold water, the only lotion at hand. The chief, whose daughter it was, appeared to be delighted, and the by-standers expressed their approval apparently, though their language was unintelligible.






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"John determined to make his home there. These were savages, but they were human. So he staid, nursed the young girl, and became quite a popular person. He took a party with him after a few days, brought in the medicine-chest, tools, and goods, from the hut near the shore, distributed the mus Ter lins pretty freely among the tribe, and took possession of a house which he made then build for him apart from the common quar ters. He remained there two years, married the chief's daughter, and was recognized court-physician, with a prospect of becoming chief of the tribe in time.

"Fate decided otherwise. His reputation as a skillful curer of diseases spread far and wide, until it reached a large community of Dyaks living near the coast, and reigned over by a rajah. The latter potentate sent an embassy to invite John to become a resi dent of his court. John's own tribe would not hear of it, and John didn't want to leave the peaceable hill-people for the piratical cut-throats on the shore. The Orang-bândis as they were called, would not take no for answer. About two weeks after the refus a war-party came down one night, sacked the village, killed the chief, and a number others, John's wife among the rest, and c ried off John as their prisoner. John had killed several of the invaders during the fight and he expected to lose his life for it; buti


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