Puslapio vaizdai

them! The other vessels have returned to Bréhat, to Saint Brieuc--everywhere. The Saint Pierre is the only one that delays."


And yet," continued a second woman, with emphasis," it is quite time the men returned."

"Indeed! Why?" I asked.

She pointed to the peasant-girl who sat beside me on the hearth. "Ask Dinah, there, how many bushels of barley she has left in her bin," said she.

The young peasant blushed.

"Not to mention that she owes me as many measures of milk as her child numbers days," added the mistress of the house.

"I shall go to St. Ann's absolution.” "And you, Dinah," I asked, "what will you do when Jean returns?"

"I shall put his child into his arms, and we shall be united again," she answered, with a blush.

At this moment the black cow at the end of the hut put her head over the low partition which kept her out of the room, and lowed.

"There is some one approaching," said the mistress of the house.

As she spoke, a sharp blow shook the door, and a rough voice was heard without. "Is there room for the poor in this dwelling?" it asked.

"Anaïk Timor !" exclaimed all the wo

"Or that her landlord has threatened to men. sell her furniture," added a third.

"So that," continued the first speaker, "I have advised her to pray that the sailors of the Saint Pierre may be successful in their fishing, and get a double share!"

"I only pray God to bring Jean back," said the girl, pressing her infant to her breast.

I was struck with the sad and profoundly passionate tone in which these words were uttered, and I turned and looked at Dinah. She was a beautiful woman, not more than four-and-twenty; and notwithstanding the rather masculine style of her beauty, there was something extremely gentle about her. Her carriage was upright, her forehead high, and her feet were firmly planted on the hearth with one arm she held her sleeping infant on her bosom, the other being motionless by her side. There was in the proud, yet flexible lines of her countenance, in her half-parted lips, and black eyes, ever ready to vail themselves with their long lashes, an expression of wild, untamable pride, tempered, however, with an intensity of caressing tenderAfter a second, she perceived that I was observing her, and turned away in some embarrassment. But while I was thus engaged, the conversation had continued among the spinners, each of whom was talking of what she would do when the Saint Pierre had returned.


"I shall pay a visit to the town, and for once eat my fill of wheaten bread," said


"My brother has promised me a silver ring, worth thirty blancs," said another. "I shall buy a mass for my mother's soul."

VOL. XII.-37

"Anaïk!" repeated Dinah, involuntarily pressing her infant closer.

"But who is she?" I asked.

"A beggar, who reads the future and tells fortunes," replied the mistress of the hut.

"Is there room for the poor in this house?" repeated the voice, impatiently. "Let her in, or she will make mischief among us," remarked Dinah.

A spinner rose and opened the door, and Anaïk Timor appeared. She was a little old woman, whose tattered garments revealed in various parts her withered limbs. She carried at her back a coarse canvas wallet, from which peeped the neck of a bottle, and held in her other hand a prickly stick, hardened in the fire. The snow, which had drifted into the folds of her dirty and ragged clothes, gave a speckly appearance to their dull color, and several locks of gray hair, stiff with frost, hung like icicles around her wrinkled cheeks. Her gray eyes had the sharp, yet vacillating expression, peculiar either to insanity or intoxication.

She stopped short in the middle of the room, and shook herself, uttering at the same time a low growl. "Much trouble you give yourself to receive old Timor," said she, throwing a discontented glance around. "You let her knock, and do not answer."

"We were not expecting you," replied the woman of the house, a little embarrassed.

"No-no one ever expects me!" growled Anaïk. "What does it matter to those who sit by the warm hearth that others are freezing outside? But take care; every one has their turn!"

Although I was well acquainted with the privileges accorded to beggars in this part of the country, and had been accustomed to see them, when once admitted, place themselves on a perfect equality with the masters, I was astonished at the imperious, not to say menacing tone, assumed by the old woman. While thus scolding, she relieved herself of her wallet, and having deposited it in a corner, advanced to the hearth, where she perceived me. "Ah! there is a gentleman here,” said she, stop-❘ ping short, and fixing her piercing glance on me "a gentleman with fine linen, a watch-Jann had one too-and gold earrings, and ribbons in his shoes! While Jann lived, old Timor was not obliged to knock at people's doors with a beggar's staff! But he has gone to rejoin his father and sisters! So now every one tramples on the widow who has buried her only son." And she began to croon almost unintelligibly

"J'avais neuf fils que j'avais mis au monde ; et voila que la mort est venue me les prendreMe les prendre sur le seuil de notre porte, et je n'ai personne pour me donner une goutte d'eau."

While she murmured this song she knelt down on the hearthstone, and extended her skeleton hands over the fire, whose dying gleams flickered over the sparkling rime in her hair. Her haggard, restless eyes wandered, meanwhile, from face to face, till they fell upon Dinah, when a flash of hatred crossed her features. here, you raven!" she cried; "what business have you among honest folks; you, the ropemaker's daughter?"


I glanced at Dinah, who turned very pale. The words "ropemaker's daughter" explained the young girl's timidity, and the vague feeling of ill-will evinced toward her by her neighbors. She belonged to the race of Kakous, still esteemed among the peasantry of Bretagne an accursed one.

"You carry yourself mighty high!" continued Anaïk, "because a young man of the village took it into his head to like you; because you have a young child. I, too, had a husband and children! But wait a little; it is just a year since I foretold you evil days-"

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"Because your taunts made me weep.' "My taunts!" repeated Anaïk; “I called you the ropemaker's daughter! Was it not true? And yet Jean declared I was drunk! He threatened me; yes, he threatened me, old Timor! ah! ah! ah! He thought he had set his foot on the viper; but it can sting yet. An hour is coming when I shall be revenged on all who have despised me who have made me wait at the door! Ay, ay, good folks, your pride will have a fall, and your misfortunes will come from Tréguier."

"From Tréguier ?" repeated Dinah, quickly. “Have you seen any one from there?"

"I have," replied the beggar. What, this night?"


"Just now."

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"They stopped to drink at Marechs ; and as the captain could speak French, I heard what he said."

"And what was it about?"

"He talked of pieces of ice as large as mountains, which float in those seas and crush the vessels."

"And he has seen such ?" "He has seen them."

"And he has heard of shipwrecks?" "No, but on his way home he met with spars and masts."

"The wreck of ships?"

"And on one of the planks he found the words 'Saint Pierre !" "

This speech of Anaïk Timor's fell like a thunderbolt among the spinners, who dropped their spindles.

"The Saint Pierre !" they all ex

*The Bretons call the English Saxons.

claimed at once; "he said the Saint triumphantly at the frightened women.

Pierre' ?"

"Of Tréguier."

Suddenly her eyes rested on me. "Ah! ah! I was a fool," she cried;

"You quite understood, you are sure?""just now some one said that old Timor


Then their despair burst forth. I, too, had been startled by this announcement; but the beggar's smile excited my suspicions.

"Do not believe her," I cried; "she is trying to terrify you; she is tipsy !". and addressing Timor: "You did not see the English captain, nor did he say that the Saint Pierre had been wrecked. You lie, you wicked groach !"

At this name, which in Bretagne signifies the worst of sorcerers, the beggar's eyes glared, and she rose with a savage growl. "Ah! hearken to him!" she exclaimed, stamping her foot upon the hearth, "hearken how the gentleman speaks to old Anaïk! Ilie, and I am drunk !-good. Let the women consult the warnings; let them listen if the sea-water does not drip drop by drop at the foot of their bed; let those who have broken their twelfth-cake look and see if the share of the absent is not spoiled.* Ah! Timor is a groachgood, good! God will answer both the gentleman and the women of Loc Evar. God has his own signs, and drowned men can speak!"

"Listen!" interrupted Dinah, who had risen, pale and trembling.

We listened, and distinguished, mingling with the bursts of the tempest, the notes of a hymn. It soon became more distinct, and as it approached we were able to distinguish the voices, which were singing the Cantique des âmes.

At the first sound of this most lugubrious hymn the women all crowded together in an agony of terror; I, myself, struck by this apparent answer to Timor's appeal, remained motionless, as if fascinated; but as the voices began to die away, I darted to the door of the hut, and took several steps outside. As far as my eye could penetrate the darkness, the valley was entirely deserted, the snow continuing its silent descent, and the hurricane still raging upon the mountain.

During this scene Anaïk Timor was the only one who remained unmoved. On reentering I found her standing erect, gazing

A sign among the Bretons which announces the death of the absent.


"And she has not yet given proof to to the contrary," I replied, making a strong effort to regain my composure.

"Has not the gentleman heard the voices?"

"I have heard some pilgrims, who, as they passed, were chanting a hymn." She looked at me fiercely, and shook her head.

"Good! that is the way they talk in towns. No one in the town believes in the soul; they treat their dead as so many dogs, that rot entirely in the hole in which they are flung. Well, well! God will yet teach the heathens what he can do. Perhaps the gentleman means to deny that those who have just passed are the drowned sailors of the Saint Pierre."

"And the gentleman would be right," interrupted a grave voice. I turned: a priest stood on the threshold.

The women rose, exclaiming, "The recteur !"

The latter advanced slowly into the room, and fixed a severe look upon Anaïk Timor.

"What business have you here?" he asked, abruptly.

"The poor have a right to go wherever there is a morsel of bread to be found among Christians," whined the beggar.

"It was not hunger," replied the priest, but your wicked delight at being the bearer of evil tidings that brought you so late along our road."

"Then the beggar has told the truth!" cried Dinah, with a palpitating heart. "No, not entirely," replied the priest.

"Then, what is the news?"

"The English vessel which is now at Tréguier has not only brought news of the loss of the St. Pierre ; it has brought also those whom it saved."

"Saved! They are saved?"

"At least a part of the crew," replied the priest. "When the wreck occurred, six men made a vow, that if it pleased God to save them they would come barefooted and vailed, to hear the mass that I should say for them at the altar of the Holy Virgin."

"And those six-?" "Are saved."

"Where are they ?-where are they?"

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Stop!" cried the recteur, barring their passage. "You cannot see them."

"Are they not here?"

"They are here; but they have all vowed not to lift their vails till after the holy service."

"Their names, at least their names," cried the excited Dinah.

"It would be a violation of their oath," replied the priest; "for they have sworn that neither to wife, to mother, nor to sister, will they make themselves known till after the accomplishment of their vow. Respect their solemn promise made before God."

There was a cry of despair, and, as it seemed, a moment of hesitation. Each woman named aloud her father, son, brother, or husband, endeavoring to glean some answer from the recteur's face, as name after name was pronounced; but the priest immovable continued to invoke the sanctity of the vow, and to entreat them to submit to its conditions. At last several, listening only to the promptings of their grievous impatience, exclaimed that, at whatever cost, they must know their fate. The recteur vainly attempted to detain them they rushed to a second door, and opened it precipitately.

"Go, then," he cried, indignantly; "go, violate the sacred vow made before God. But tremble lest he punish your sacrilege, and the first who lifts the vails of the shipwrecked men seek in vain him she expects!"

The recteur endeavored to calm them, addressing to each some especial consolation. He reminded them of Mary's devout resignation, the holy patronness of broken hearts; and having announced that he was on his way to celebrate a mass for the deliverance of the shipwrecked mariners he made them promise to accompany him. to the church, and join their prayers to his

All followed, with the exception of Di nah, who, turning abruptly on her heel, ran up to old Timor, who was seated by the hearth, and seized her hand.

"You know who are saved?" she asked, in a voice choking with emotion. "Who? I!" replied Anaïk.

"You must have met them at Tréguier."

"Well ?"

"Jean! Where is Jean ?"

The beggar sneered.

"The priest desired you to wait."

"No," exclaimed Dinah, who had sunk upon her knees, with clasped hands and wandering eyes; "no, tell me, I conjure you, Anaïk, if you have seen Jean; if you have recognized him. O! a mere sign to say Yes; or if he has perished; well, still let me know it! Better to die at once than wait. Anaïk, Anaïk! Ah, do not-do not refuse me!"

“And what will you give me for my news?" asked the beggar.

"All that I have," cried Dinah. “What will you have? Here, my ebony beads, my cross? Here they are."

"They are not enough."

"Well, then, take the gold ring he gave me. Take all, Anaïk; all that I have in

Dinah, who was in the act of going, the world." suddenly recoiled.

And she knelt at the old woman's feet,

"Ah! I will not go," she cried, terri- | pressing her child against her bosom with fied.

"Submit yourself, and pray," he replied, authoritatively; "your suspense can endure only for a short time. Bear it unmurmuringly, as a punishment for your many sins. Be you one of the happy or of the afflicted, endeavor to bend to his Divine will. Let each of you consider herself from this moment a widow or an orphan; let her heart accept this sacrifice, and if he she mourns presently issue from the tomb, let her regard it as a miracle, for which it will be her duty to thank God as long as she lives."

The women burst into tears, and fell on heir knees.

one hand, while, with the other, she offered her cross, ring, and beads. Timor held her thus for several instants, as if expiring beneath her glance; then bursting into a wild laugh, she said,

"You may keep them all; for to torment you is better than anything you can offer me !"

Dinah rose with a bound, and darted out of the cabin.

I was too interested in the result to remain behind, and followed her.

She ran through the hamlet, and we reached the church together. The women were all there, the tapers burned upon the altar, the choristers were in their places.

Suddenly the door of the sacristy opened, and the six shipwrecked men appeared, enveloped in white shrouds, which effectually concealed their persons.

A smothered groan burst from the women; several names escaped amid their sobs, but the vails remained immovable.

It were vain to attempt to describe the awful solemnity of the scene which followed. The silence which reigned throughout the church was broken only by the voice of the priest; and if, for a moment, a murmur were audible, it rose as if to remind the murmurer of patience, and the sound died away!

What sublime power has the will over the human soul ! Every woman there was

heavens; the birds, under its enlivening influence, flew among leafless branches glittering with frost; the hawthorn hedges had shaken off their robes of snow, and displayed their ruddy berries; all creation seemed to revive under the warm breath of spring, which passed over the frozen earth.

Just before descending the hill, I turned to give a last look at the desolated village I was quitting, and perceived in the distance Dinah, Jean's widow, descending the opposite slope, her child in her arms and in her hand a mendicant's white staff.

N unusual sight was witnessed in the

awaiting the decree that was to influence harbor of New York one bright morn

the remainder of her life; yet each, with
her hands clasped upon her bosom, knelting
motionless before the altar.

I glanced round in search of Dinah, and discovered her kneeling in the porch, her face raised to heaven, her arms hanging powerless by her sides, and her babe lying before her, like a victim awaiting the blow, with no intention of evading it.

of the last winter. The flags of the countless ships in the port were flying at half mast. But that, in itself considered, was not a strange sight. It betokeneddeath; and death, even among those whom their country delights to honor, is no novelty. They pass away, and their country's colors are lowered to tell of their depart

At last the recteur pronounced the bless-ture and mutely to do them honor. But ing. A shudder ran through the crowd, and the moment that followed was one of intense agony. Every head was strained, and all arms were extended toward the altar.

"Put your trust in the Lord!" said the priest; and, taking by the hand the man who stood nearest to him, he made him step forward, and raised the shroud! There was a scream; and the next instant he folded his wife to his heart!

The priest raised the second shroud, and then the others. As each vail fell to the ground a scream of joy resounded, echoed by a sorrowful murmur; but as the last fell, loud groans and sobs of despair burst forth.

I turned quickly to where Dinah knelt. She was in the same place, in the same

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now, no order has come from the government to hang out these insignia of mourning. It is not one of our own citizens who has finished his course. A stranger who had never visited our shores, whose very name until quite recently had been unheard among us, a foreigner, has died in a far-off land, away from his home and his kindred. The news of his death arrived by the last steamer, and spontaneously the flags in the harbor are trailed to do him reverence. The hardy mariners needed no prompting. It was the outgushing tribute of their respect for a brave man. Havelock is dead!

A soldier and a Christian, a meek disciple of the Lord Jesus, and a bold military chieftain! It is not easy to realize the union of these characteristics in the same indi

attitude, still gazing intently in the direc-vidual. It savors of incongruity. And yet tion of the altar. All the vails had been

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we have heard of a preacher of righteousness in military uniform. Captain Webb was faithful to Christ and to his country. The names of others are doubtless in the Book of Life; and that Henry Havelock, the hero of Lucknow, was a brave and successful soldier is the testimony of all who knew him, and that he was a devout Christian, a man of faith and prayer, his biography sufficiently attests. A sketch

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