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'Successful as I could desire, my Madeleine,' replied the young man. 'If the gales have sometimes blown fiercely, it is what we fishermen must look for; and we care little for the weather if other things favour us. The good St Antoine [St Anthony is regarded by the French fishermen as their patron saint] has watched over us, and guided our vessels safe home.-And now, hearken, Madeleine! Tell me, dearest, is it not time that we possessed a lugger of our own?' glancing over his shoulder towards the vessel he had just quitted, whose masts could be seen amidst those of the other craft in the port. 'Will not the gains of this voyage make up the necessary amount, Madeleine?'
It is customary among the fishermen of the northern and western coasts of France, on their betrothal-which usually takes place at an early age-to some young maiden of their class, to place their wages at the end of each voyage in the hands of their fiancées, for safe keeping, reserving only what is sufficient for their necessary expenditure, and for the renewal of their outfits before they sail again, with perhaps a trifle beyond this amount, to pay for their small indulgences and harmless recreations. The young women having attended school when children, are generally possessed of some little education; while the boys go to sea with their relatives or friends as soon as they are of the slightest service on shipboard. Thus, few among the latter know how to read or write. It is customary also with the young women, after betrothal, to stipulate with their lover, that, previous to their marriage, some object for their mutual benefit shall be attained, such as the purchase of a fishing-lugger, or a share in such a vessel, or at least the means of purchasing the needful furniture, &c., for a humble household—according to their posi
Antoine and Madeleine belonged to what may be termed the superior class of fisher-folk. Both had been left orphans at an early age, and each had inherited a few thousand francs on the death of their parents. This money had been carefully set aside but not in a bank. The French fisherfolk, in the days of which we write, had no faith in banks, and preferred to keep their savings where they might be secure, and ready to hand when required. To these joint bequests, Antoine's wages, and Madeleine's earnings from knitting and fancy-netting in her leisure hours, had been added from time to time, until, when Antoine sailed on his last voyage, but a small addition to the savings already accumulated was needed for the accomplishment of the desired object.
Madeleine-although she had been firm in her resolve not to wed her lover until the object of their mutual ambition was secured-was no coquette. It is now three years ago, my Antoine,' she replied to her lover's question, since we betrothed ourselves to each other in the chapel of Our Lady of Lorette. I was then but sixteen, you were nineteen years of age. I shall be twenty years old on my next birthday, three weeks hence. We have more than sufficient, Antoine, for the purchase of a lugger with everything on board complete, without counting thy profits on this last voyage. My poor old uncle, Pierre le Blanc, died soon after you sailed the last
time, and he left me a handsome legacy. The profits of your last voyage will be so much extra, which we can lay by, or expend on furniture and such other things as may be necessary. Perhaps, Antoine, if thou wilt, my approaching birthday may be our wedding-day?'
It is needless to state that the young fisherman was more than willing that the wedding should take place at the time mentioned by his fiancée. In due course the banns were published in the little village church, and on the anniversary of her birthday, Madeleine Letour and Antoine Duroc were united.
A new fishing-lugger, with masts and spars and sails and rigging all complete, was purchased; and Antoine remained at home for some months after his marriage, leisurely preparing his vessel for sea, but chiefly passing his time with his young wife. Occasionally, with the object of testing the qualities of the new vessel, which was called The Madeleine, the young fellow sailed for a day's fishing along the coast; but, for the first time since he was old enough to go to sea, the Honfleur fleet of luggers sailed for the far distant cod-fishery without him.
It has been hinted that when the meeting took place between the returned fishermen and their wives, sisters, and sweethearts, all present on the occasion were too full of joy to care to conceal their happiness. There was, nevertheless, one individual present who had no share in the general feeling of gladness, whose heart was, on the contrary, full of suppressed passion, hatred, and jealousy. This individual, however, was not a member of the fisher community. He was one Lucien Pierrot, the son of a rich bourgeois of Paris, who owned considerable property in Honfleur and its vicinity. Lucien was accustomed frequently to visit the town to receive the rents from his father's tenants, and on other matters of business; for though he was a gambler and spendthrift, and addicted to many other vices, he was an only son, and his father, though often deceived, continued to place confidence in him. During one of these visits, at the date of the annual Honfleur fair, Lucien met with Madeleine-who was visiting the fair with a party of female friends-and was struck with the grace and beauty of the young fisher-girl. He sought to introduce himself to her by offering her trifling presents as 'fairings;' but the fisher-folk are an exclusive class, who hold themselves aloof from strangers. Madeleine declined, bashfully, yet decidedly, to accept the proffered gifts, and strove to avoid the young man's attentions. In nowise disconcerted, however, Lucien, taking advantage of the license allowed at fair-time, attached himself to the party, in the hope of inducing Madeleine to look more favourably upon him, by ingratiating himself with her companions. All his gallantry was, however, thrown away. The young women took no heed of him; and separated for their respective abodes without bestowing one parting word or glance upon him.
Unaccustomed to be thus cavalierly treated by young women whom he honoured with his attentions, Lucien had been in the habit of using every effort to win Madeleine's affections. He dared not visit her at her home in the village, for he
Chambers's Journal, July 1, 182]
He could do nothing just plans of vengeance. now; but he thought it probable that after her lover had again gone to sea, Madeleine would be more amenable to his advances and persuasions. And if such were not the case, he believed in his power to find some means of wreaking his vengeance upon both. So he turned aside from following them further that day, and left the happy and youthful couple to the enjoyment of each other's society.
HUMOURS OF IRISH DISTRICT VISITING.
was well aware of the pride and independence of the fisher-folk, who would stand on little ceremony with him if it became known to them that he was intruding his attentions upon one of their young people. But he contrived to meet her whenever she strolled beyond the village; and when, twice a week, she attended the market at Honfleur, he was always present, and was a frequent and liberal purchaser of the fancy wares Always civil, and even she offered for sale. polite in his manner towards her, he gave her no opportunity to complain of his conduct to her friends; yet, though she strove in every way to make it apparent to him that his presence was disagreeable to her, she was unable to shake him off. At length he grew more bold, and ventured to spea of his affection for her, and entreated her to accompany him to Paris, promising to make her his wife immediately on their arrival in that city. But he met with such a withering repulse, that he instantly regretted his temerity. The look of anger and scorn in the eyes of the young girl and the tone of her voice, told plainly that she was in earnest; and from that time, he had ceased his open persecutions. But he nevertheless resolved to gain his end by some other means. He had discovered that Madeleine was betrothed to a young fisherman; and though Antoine was personally unknown to him, Lucien conceived a mortal hatred for him, and vowed that if he failed in his object, he would find some way of revenging himself both on the young girl and her lover.
On the day when the fleet arrived in port, and the fisherwomen and girls were assembled on the wharfs, as already described, to greet their long absent husbands and lovers, Lucien also might have been seen skulking in the background, wrapped in a cloak, drawn up so as to conceal his features, eagerly watching the fishermen as they leaped on shore. He saw Madeleine on the wharf; and then he saw a handsome young fisherman, who, the moment he landed, was He ground clasped in the young girl's embrace. his teeth with impotent rage, and in his eagerness to get a good view of Antoine, stepped a few paces forward, and allowed the cape of his cloak to fall back.
HUMOURS OF IRISH DISTRICT
'MISS MARTHA, it's Anty Dillon's Molly that's
Miss Ellen has gone out with the keys, and won't be back till after the Bible class.'
'Shure, I tould her that, Miss, an' she says she'll come agin bime-by.'
'Jam for toothache!' I exclaimed.
'Yes; it is a grand specific,' said Martha drily, especially in families where there are children. There is an epidemic of toothache this spring. Last year it was influenza, till I began to give black currant vinegar instead of jam. But vinegar won't do for the teeth, you know.-And now I am sorry I must leave you for an hour; one of my old women is dying, and another has sent to say she is "downhearted," and wants to see me particularly.'
As Antoine and Madeleine were forcing a passage through the crowd, Madeleine caught a momentary glimpse of her detested persecutor. The young girl shuddered involuntarily; and Antoine tenderly inquired whether she felt cold. Madeleine was almost inclined to acquaint her lover with the cause of her alarm; but she dreaded the immediate consequences of such a disclosure, and feeling secure in her lover's protection, she deemed it advisable to keep her secret. 'Now that Antoine has returned, and our marriage will so soon take place,' she thought, 'that bad man will see that it will be useless to trouble me any longer, and will no doubt return to Paris.'
'May I go with you? I would like it, if they don't mind.'
'Oh, they will be delighted to see a strange lady. But I am afraid you will find it lugubrious. Their talk will be all about death and the grave, this time. However, it will be characteristic, and possibly amusing; so, come along.'
'You see,' said my friend as we set out, 'the Roman Catholics are as twelve to one in the town, but there are a good many Protestants for all that-poor ones, and the Archdeacon is very careful of them. He knows them all perThe parish is sonally, and their circumstances, and goes to see them himself when necessary. divided into districts, with a lady-visitor for each. We go our rounds once a week regularly, and report to the Archdeacon anything that requires his attention. And if our people fall into necessity or tribulation, want advice or help, they send for us, or come to us, at any time. "I niver felt the loss o' me father an' mother till Miss Mary got married an' wint away," said an old woman to me once, speaking of one of us who had left the town. They often tell me I am like a mother to them.-Here we are at Mrs Nolan's. Yes; she's still alive, I see.'
Lucien continued to follow the young couple at a distance, midway to the village. Had he dared, he would have interposed himself between the lovers; but Lucien was naturally a coward; he knew that the stalwart young ld be crushed him as easily as he
It was the usual mud cabin, the open door room which served as admitting to the one kitchen, sitting-room, and chamber of death. A kettle was boiling on the hearth, and a teapot The place was stood by. Two or three women sat round the fire, waiting for the final scene. swept, and the furniture set in order; and by whore an old woman lay slumbering
'Shure, you're just in time, Miss Martha-she's anythin' mortial could; she was always fond goin' fast,' said one of the women as she came o' the singin',' said the woman. forward and welcomed us.-Yis, Miss, she's sinsible.-Ye know Miss Martha, Biddy, don't ye?'
Martha hesitated, looked at the still face, and then at me- Rock of Ages,' I whispered-and she began the dear old hymn at 'While I draw this fleeting breath.'
A smile came over the wrinkled features, and the heavy lids unclosed.
'Now, won't she make a purty corpse if she only looks like that at the last!' said the woman admiringly.
I am glad to see her so calm and peaceful,' whispered Martha.
'Isn't it a comfort, Miss?' cried the woman out loud. 'An' it's the work o' the world we had wid her till yisterday only, whin His Riverince himself cum down an' rasoned her into common-sinse, an' she guv her consint to go to the new cimethry, quiet an' asy.'
"To go to the new cemetery?'
"Yis, Miss. Shure, she held out agin it to the last; said it was a horrid, cowld, lonesome place, an' she'd niver lie comfortable there, wid niver a bone or a pinch o' dust of one belongin' to her within a mile. Cart-horses, she said, shouldn't drag her there, or to any place excipt a good churchyard full o' dacent Christian neighbours. But the Archdacon arguyed the matther well. "Biddy," sis he, "be rasonable now. Where in all the counthry-side would you find a wholesomer place to be laid in," sis he, "than the new cimethry?-a fine, open, airy place, high an' dhry. An' as for lonesomeness," sis he, "shure, it's fillin' ivery day-it is. Ye'll have the neighbours gatherin' all round you in no time. An' I'll tell you what I'll do for you," he sis; "if you'll consint to go there quietly, I'll put you nixt Mrs Donovan-shure, ye know her an' thin ye won't feel lonely or out o' the way wid her within call." So thin she guv in.'
Yis, I guv in,' said the dying woman feebly. 'I cudn't howld out agin' His Riverince. There's no denyin' that Mary Donovan 'ud be a good neighbour, quiet an' asy, an' niver an ill word out o' her head; but I'd rather be laid alongside o' Nolan. A good husband he was to me, an' niver as much as riz his hand to me all the days we wor togither-barrin' he was in dhrink an' unconscious-like.'
I saw the pale lips move, and stooped down. 'Nolan's voice! Shure, I'd know it a mile off.-Ye're late, man; hurry on. It's tired o waitin' I am.-Och, but ye're the pick of the world for the singin'!-It's gettin' cowld, alanna, an' the night's fallin', Nolan, an' I'm waried out.
Here you are at long-last. Glory be to God !— Nolan!"
The poor old soul evidently felt aggrieved. A sickly-looking creature, with bright eyes, and a crooked back, which showed plainly, as she presently began to rock backwards and forwards on her stool. The one room was bare of comfort, i As stranger visitor, I was installed on the only unbroken chair, while Martha balanced herself i on a three-legged elderly one.
'I came as soon as I could,' said Martha. I was delayed at Mrs Nolan's. She is dead.'
'Och, wirra, wirra! Is she gone, thin? That's what I sint for you for, Miss Martha. Shure, His Riverince, he sis, I'll be the next. He had the heart to say that to me, a poor crooked old body.'
'He couldn't say that, Mrs Morris; you must have misunderstood him.'
'Deed, an' he did, thin-thim very wordsstandin' there foreninst me on the flure. “Mrs Morris," sis he, "Mrs Nolan is goin' fast; she'll be in glory before another sun sets over her head.” "God forbid, sir!" sis I.-"She will," sis he. "An' the question is," he sis, "which of us will be the next to be called away? It behoves us to be prepared," sis he.'
'That was not saying you would be the next.' 'Ah, but it was, Miss Martha, just all as one o' sayin' it. A hearty, able, active man like him, what thought would he have o' dyin'? An' sorra priparation he wants! He might jist walk into heaven any day, wid a flower in his button-hole,
Chambers's Journal, July 1, 1882.]
HUMOURS OF IRISH DISTRICT VISITING.
an' "God save all here!" on his lips.-No, no, Miss; it was niver himself he meant at all, at all, but me. Mary Morris, you're goin' to die, an' you're not ready"—that's the manin' of his spache.'
And are you ready, Mrs Morris, if you should be called next?'
'I'm not, Miss Martha, an' I don't want to be called yet a bit; I want to live my life out. That's why I sint for you. I want you to pray the good God this night to let me live out me full life.'
'Why, you are an old woman, and a great sufferer, and I should think you would be thankful to be released.'
'Well, I wouldn't, thin. You see, Miss Martha, it's not as if I was a strong, able-bodied woman. Thin, I couldn't complain whin me time was out. I've always been ailin' an' wake, an' niver got more nor half the good out o' life that others got; an' I think it 'ud be only fair o' the good God to let me live twice as long, to make it even an' just.-You'll ask Him, Miss Martha, honey?'
'I'll pray for you, certainly, Mrs Morris, that you may not be taken away before you are ready and willing.'
'Some payple are quare, an' say it's a wary world, an' they'd like to be gone from it; but I'm not that kind. The worst day I iver had, Miss Martha, I niver wished I was dead. You've tuk a load off me mind, alanna, for I'm sure the Lord 'll hear you. He's very good to thim that put Him in mind of their wants.' Very, very good and pitiful. You remember what David says '
'Shure, I wasn't thinkin' David,' interrupted the old creature ruthlessly. I was goin' to tell you about me own mother's first-cousin, ould Molly Malone. She was an ould, ould woman, an' not a bit like me, for she raly wanted to die. But she lived, an' lived, till she could bear it no longer, an' she bedridden for five year an' more. So sis she to her son Tim one day-he was her youngest son, an' gettin' to be an ould boy too, waitin' for the mother's death to bring home a wife-"Tim," sis she, "I'm thinkin' the Lord has forgotten me."- "Faith, an' I'm o' that same opinion meself, mother," he sis.-"I don't 1 like to be overlooked," sis she. "Yoke the dunkey, Tim," she sis, "an' wrap me in me cloak, an' carry me up to the top o' the road, till I put Him in remimbrance," sis she.-An' he did. He put an ould bed in the cart, an' her atop of it, an' jowlted her up to the top o' the hill an' down agin widout a word. An' signs on it! Miss Martha, whin he stopped at his own dure, she was a dead woman.-"Troth, an' she was in the right of it," sis Tim. "As soon as iver He seen her, He kindly give her the call."'
I think the jolting had something to do with it,' said Martha, rising.-'Mrs Morris, I can't stay longer now. I will come and read to you another day. Good-bye.'
Good-bye; an' thank ye kindly, Miss. I feel quite cheered up now, honey.'
'Isn't it extraordinary,' said I to Martha, when we were out of the house, the clinging to life some people show? The poorer and more miserable they are, the less desire they evince to give
'Except they think they are being overlooked,' said Martha, like old Molly Malone. I've heard that story so often, I can't laugh at it. She only told it to put me off reading the psalm for her. See! there are the almshouses,' continued Martha, pointing to a row of neat little houses, with pretty porches and gardens in front. 'We won't go in. It's not my day. They are not very pleasant to talk to, poor things, just now. You see their endowment is in land, and for the last two years, owing to "Land League" and other troubles, there has been no rent paid. But for the Archdeacon, they would actually starve. He pays their weekly money out of his own pocket. It is just the same with the Orphan Fund, and Aged and Infirm Protestant Relief Fund. I don't know what we shall come to in the end; the Archdeacon can't go on supporting all the poor of the parish in this way.'
"Why doesn't he get help from the people around?'
'He can't. They have not any money. The gentry are most of them living on borrowed money, waiting for better times; and the shopkeepers say business is bad. Lawyers are the only people who are making anything.-Oh! just wait a minute! This is Anty Dillon's.'
A soft-looking woman, with bare, red arms flecked with soap-suds, came to the open door at the sound of our voices. 'Good-evenin', Miss Martha !-Won't you come in, Miss?'
'Not to-day, Anty, thank you.-When did you hear from your daughter Rosanna? I hope she gets on well in her situation?'
"Deed, thin, Miss Martha, not to be afther tellin' you a lie, she don't like it at all, at all. She's for comin' home agin.'
'Why? I heard it was a very good, easy place.'
'She's not faultin' the sickuation, Miss; but, shure, no servant stays in it, specially housemaids, an' so she give notice to lave this quarter.'
'For what reason?'
Here Martha began to laugh. 'Her mother! Didn't you recognise her? That was Anty Dillon, who was reported as "tearin' mad with the toothache," an hour ago.'
'And wanting a bit of jam to help her to eat and sleep! She doesn't look much pulled down by her sufferings.'
'Wait till I catch Molly, I'll jam her!' said Martha, in a tone of good-natured vexation. Presently we came to a neat, whitewashed. tidy-looking, two-roomed cabin.
Martha. Our way is to put the children by families, under the care of respectable elderly people, who bring them up as if they were their own. It answers very well. Brothers and sisters are not separated. They have all the advantages of home-life; and the tie between them and their foster-parents strengthens with time into real filial affection in many cases.Our orphans generally turn out well,' continued Martha with excusable pride. We look after them, educate them to some extent, bind them to trades, or find situations for them as servants. But I think a great deal of their future success depends on the foster-mother. This woman has brought up two families most creditably, who are all doing for themselves in the world now. -Good-evening, Mrs Moore! How are the
A bustling little woman, in an old-fashioned cap and a big apron, turned round from scrubbing a deal table with freestone. 'Good-evenin' kindly to you, ladies! Wait till I take off my praskeen; denuding herself rapidly as she spoke of the apron, and dusting two white chairs with it. 'Won't ye sit down, Miss, afther yer long walk? -Shure the childhre is well an' hearty, thank God! They are away at the school now.'
'No, thank you; we won't sit down now. You're busy. I only came in with these little things for Betty. I think they will fit her.'
'Och! they'll be made to fit, Miss. She was just wantin' thim; an' wasn't it the good Lord put it into yer mind to bring thim this day, before the rain comes.'
'Mrs Moore,' said Martha hesitatingly, 'did you hear there would not be so much money as usual this month?'
'I did, Miss. The Archdacon come himself to insinse me into the rason of it. He was downcast. I tould him niver to throuble about it; shure, we'll git along somehow.'
How will you manage this month on so little?'
'Well, Miss, you see, Moore has got a stroke o' work. That will be a help. An' I had a letther from Amerkay, from Judy-you remimber little Judy Grace, Miss Martha ?-an' she sint me a little matther o' money, an' that'll tide us over a month or more. An' indade, the other childhre will niver let me want the bit o' bread while they have it. They're rale good in sindin' me things.' 'But they send the money for your own use.'
'For me an' Moore. Yes, Miss. look on us as their father an' mother. remimber no others, the cratures.'
'Oh, Miss Martha, is it you to think so little o' me as that? An' does His Riverince_sariously believe I'd do such a mane thing as turn? Drunk or sober, I'll niver belie me church an' clargy. Miss Martha, I'll tell you what I'll do. I wint to mass, there's no denyin', on Wednesday night; but I was tipsy-bad scran to thim that tuk me! rale-but I'll go to church this blessid night sober, and with me eyes open. There's for you! That'll convince His Riverince. Shure, I niver was in church on a week-day afore, barrin' the day I was marrid; but I'd do more nor that to show the Archdacon I was no turncoat.'
Shure, they They can't
to speak to him, I suppose; but I don't know what to say. He is a Protestant; but I heard he went to the Roman Catholic chapel on Wednesday night, and walked in the procession of penitents. He was tipsy, of course; but that makes it all the worse.'
The said Tom held down his head, and busied himself with an old shoe he was patching, as Martha entered his little cobbler's shop. I stood modestly in the door, and listened.
"Tom, what is this I hear about your doings on Wednesday night?'
'Musha! I donno, Miss Martha. People sis more nor their prayers.'
'Didn't you go to mass and walk in the procession before all the chapel full of people?'
'Shure, I wasn't in me sinses, Miss; I was unconscious. The boys made me just half-dead; an', faix, I donno what I did or didn't do, thin.'
Tom, if you would only take the pledge, it might be the saving of you.'
Shure, I'm willin' enough to take it, Miss Martha, if that will do you; but the keepin' it is another matther. I've taken it often an' often ; but sorra bit o' good that did me. It was worse nor ever I was, as soon as I broke it.'
"Tom, I wouldn't mind so much your going to mass, if you were in sober earnest. I would rather have you a good Catholic than a drunken Protestant.'
There was real surprise and indignation in the Miss ?'