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village. Bonneroy was very quiet. Shutters were up to every shop, nobody was out except a dog or two and the snow kept falling, falling, still in as persistent a fashion as if it had not been doing the same thing for six hours already. I found the shop shut up and the door locked. I looked everywhere for a bell or knocker of some description. There was neither, so I began to thump as hard as I could with my feet against the door. In a minute or two I heard Delle Josephine coming. Perhaps I had alarmed the poor soul. She did look troubled on opening the door and admitted me hurriedly, even suspiciously, I thought. The door of the little sitting-room was closed, so fancying that perhaps she had a visitor I refrained from much talking and asking her to cook me some eggs presently and bring them up, I went to my room.

These cold days I had to keep a fire in the small open “Franklin” stove going almost constantly. She had not forgotten to supply it with coals during my absence, and lighting my two lamps I was soon fairly comfortable. How it did snow! Lifting the blind I could actually look down on an ever-increasing drift below my window and dimly wonder if I should get out at all on the morrow. If not, I proposed to return to Montreal at once. I should gain nothing by being confined in the house at Bonneroy. Delle Josephine appeared with eggs and tea–green tea, alas for that village shortcoming– there was no black tea to be found in it, and I looked narrowly at her as she set it down, wondering if anything was amiss with her. But she seemed all right again and I conjectured that I had simply interrupted a _tete-a-tete_with some visitor in the sitting-room at the time of my return. When I had finished my tea I sat back and watched my fire. Those little open “Franklin” stoves are almost equal to a fireplace; they show a great deal of fire and you can fancy your flame on an English hearth very easily–if you have any imagination. As I sat there, it suddenly came home to me what a curious life this was for me; living quite alone over a tiny village shop in _Le Bos Canada_, with a queer little spinster like Delle Josephine. Snowed up, with her too! To-morrow I would certainly have to go and shovel that snow away from the front door and take down the shutters and discover again to the world the contents of the one window, particularly that frightful hat! I would–here I started it must be confessed almost out of my seat, as turning my head suddenly I saw on a chair behind the door the identical hat I was thinking about! I sat up and looked at it. It must have been there all the time I was eating my tea. I still sat and looked. I felt vaguely uncomfortable for a moment, then my common sense asserted itself and told me that Delle Josephine must have been altering it or something of that kind and had forgotten to take it away. I wondered if she sat in my room when I was away. I had rather she did not. Just as I was about to rise and look at it more closely, a tap came at my door. I rose and admitted Delle Josephine. She took the tea-things away in her usual placid manner, but came back the next moment as if she had forgotten something, clearly the hat. With a slight deprecatory laugh she removed it and went hurriedly down the stair. Whatever had she been doing with it, I thought, and settled with a sigh of satisfaction once more to my work, now that the nightmare in red, a kind of mute scarlet “Raven,” was gone from my room. How very quiet it was. Not a single sleigh passed, no sounds came from the houses opposite or from next door, the whole world seemed smothered in the soft thick pillows of snow quietly gathering upon it. After a while, however, I could distinctly hear the sound of voices downstairs. Delle Josephine had a visitor, undoubtedly. Was it a man or a woman? Not a large company I gathered; it seemed like one person besides herself. I opened my door, it sounded so comfortably in my lonely bachelor ear to catch in that strange little house anything so cheerful as the murmur of voices. My curiosity once aroused, did not stop here. I went outside the door, not exactly to listen, but as one does sometimes in a lazy yet inquisitive mood, when anything is going on at all unusual. This was an unusual occurrence. If Delle Josephine had visitors often, I was not aware of it. Never before had I noticed the slightest sound proceed from her sitting-room after dusk. So I waited a bit listening. Yes there was talking going on, but in French. As I did not understand her _patois_ very clearly, I thought there would be no harm in overhearing, and further I thought I should like to have a peep at her and her companion. I could see that the door was partly open. Taking off my slippers, I ran softly down and found it wide enough open to admit of my seeing the entire room and occupants in the looking-glass, that being opposite. It was quite dark in the little hall and I should be unobserved. So I crept–most rudely I am willing to say–into the furthest shadow of this hall and looked straight before me.

I saw none but Delle Josephine herself. But she was a sight for the gods. Seated on a kind of ottoman, directly in front of the looking-glass, she was holding an animated conversation with _herself_, wearing a large white antimacassar–one of those crocheted things all in wheels–pinned under her chin and falling away at the back like a cloak, and upon her head–the wonderful scarlet hat! I was amazed, startled, dismayed. To see that shrivelled little old woman so travestying her hideous charms, smiling at and bowing to herself, her yellow skin forming a frightful contrast to the intense red of her immense hat and her bright black eyes, was a pitiful and unique spectacle. I had intended but to take a peep at the supposed visitor and then go back to my room, but the present sight was one which fascinated me to such an extent that I could only look and wonder. She spoke softly to herself in French, appearing to be carrying on a conversation with her image in the glass. The feathers of the bird of paradise swept her shoulder–the one that was higher than the other–and mingled with the wheels of the white antimacassar. I looked as long as I dared and then, fearing from her movements that the strange scene would soon be over I went softly up again to my room. But I thought about it all evening, all night in fact. The natural inquiry was–was the poor girl a maniac? Even if only a harmless one, it would be well to know. As I sat down again by my fire I considered the matter in every light. It was a queer prospect. Outside the snow still fell. Inside, the fire languished and the time wore on till at half-past ten I really was compelled to call on my landlady for more coal. I could hear the muttered French still going on, but I did not know where the coal was and could not fetch it myself. I must break in upon her rhapsodizing.

“Delle Boulanger!” I called from my open door. “Delle Boulanger!”

The talking stopped. In a few moments Delle Josephine appeared, calm and smiling, _minus_ the hat and the antimacassar. “Coming, _monsieur_”

“I shall want some more coal,” said I, “It is getting colder, I think, every minute!”

“_Mais oui, monsieur; il fait fret, il fait bien fret ce soir_, and de snow–oh! It is _comme_–de old winter years ago, dat I remember, _monsieur_, but not you. _Eh! bien_, the coal!”

I discovered nothing morbid about her manner; she was amiable and respectful as usual, if a little more garrulous. The French will talk at all times about anything, but our conversation always came to a sudden stop the moment one of us relapsed into the mother tongue. As long as a sort of common maccaronic was kept to we managed to understand one another. After I made up my fire I sat up till long past twelve. I heard no more talking downstairs but I could fancy her still arrayed in those festive yet ghastly things, seated opposite her own reflection, intent as a mummy and not unlike one restored in modern costume. Pulling the blind aside before going to bed, I could see with awe the arching snowdrifts outside my window. If it went on snowing, I should not be able to open it on the morrow.

CHAPTER II

My prediction was verified in the morning. The snow had ceased falling, but lay piled up against the lower half of my window. On the level there appeared to be about three feet, while the drifts showed from six to twenty feet I had never seen anything like it, and was for sometime lost in admiration. Across the road the children of the _epider_ and the good man himself were already busy trying to shovel some of it away from the door. It seemed at first sight a hopeless task and I, looking down at Delle Josephine’s door, wondered how on earth we were ever to get out of it when not a particle of it was to be seen. Not all that day did I get out of the house, and but for the absorbing interest I suddenly found centred in Delle Josephine I would have chafed terribly at being so shut up. Trains, were blockaded of course, it was the great fall of ’81, and interrupted travel for half of a week. All that day I waited so to speak for the evening. Snow-boys there were many; customers none. The little Frenchwoman brought me some dinner at one o’clock, pork, tinned tomatoes, and a cup of coffee. About five o’clock I strolled down into the shop, it was lighted very meagrely with three oil lamps. Delle Josephine was seated on a high chair behind the one counter at work on some ribbon–white ribbon. She was quilling it, and looked up with some astonishment as I walked up to her.

“Do you object to a visitor Miss Josephine?” said I with the most amiable manner I could muster. Poor soul! I should have thought she would have welcomed one.

“_Mais non Monsieur_ but I speak so little English.”

“And I so little French. But we can manage to understand each other a little, I think. What do you say to the weather? When shall I be able to go out?”

Delle Josephine laughed. She went on quilling the ribbon that looked so white against her yellow hands.

“O _Monsieur_ could go out dis day if he like, but de snow ver bad, very thick.”

“Do you ever go out, Miss Josephine?”

“_Non Monsieur_. I have not been out for what you call a valk–it will be five years that I have not been.”

“But you go to church, I suppose?”

“_Mais oui Monsieur_, but that is so near. And the good _Pere Le Jeune_–he come to see me. He is all the frien Delle Josephine has, ah! _oui Monsieur_.”

“Ah! Bonneroi isn’t much of a place, is it? Have you ever been to Quebec or Montreal?”

“Ah! _Quebec–oui_, I live there once, many years ago. I was taken when I was ver young by _Madame de la Corne de la Colombiere pour une bonne; vous comprenez_?”

“Oh! _bonne_, yes, we use that word too. It means a nursemaid, eh! Were there children in the family?”

Delle Josephine dropped her ribbon and threw up her hands.

“_Mon Dieu! les enfants! Mais oui, Monsieur_, they were nine children! There was _Maamselle Louise_ and _Maamselle Angelique_ with the tempaire of the _diable_ himself _oui Monsieur_, and Francois and Rene and _l’petite Catherine_, and the rest I forget _Monsieur_. And dey live in a fine _chateau_, with horse and carridge and everything as it would be if they were in their own France. _Monsieur_ has been in France?”

Only in Paris, I told her; a spasmodic run across the Channel–Paris in eight hours. Two days there then return–

“That does not give one much idea of France.”

“_Nou, non, Monsieur_. But there is no countree like France dey say dat familee–and that is true, eh, _Monsieur_?”

“I am afraid I cannot agree with you, Delle Josephine,” said I. “To me there is no country like England, but that may be because I am an Englishman. Tell me how long did you live in Quebec with this family?”

“I was there ten year _Monsieur_. Then one day, I had a great accidence–oh! a ver sad ting, ver sad!” The Frenchwoman laid down the ribbon and went on. “A ver sad ting happen to me and the _bebe Catherine_. We were out _l’ptite_ and me, for a valk, and we come to a part of the town ver slant, ver hilly. _L’ptite Catherine_ was in her carridge and I let go, and she go all down, _Monsieur_, and I too over the hill–the cleef, you call it–but the _bebe_ was killed and I _Monsieur_, I was alive, but like this!” showing her shoulder. “And what did they do?”

“At the _chateau_? Ah, _figure-toi, monsieur_, the agony of dat _pauvre dame_! I was sent away, she would not see me, and I left _Quebec_ at once. I was no more _bonne_, monsieur; Delle Josephine was enough dat. I could make de hats and de bonnets for de ladees, so I come away out to Bonneroi, and I haf made de hats and de bonnets for the ladees of Bonneroi for twenty year.”

“Is it possible?” I said, much touched by the little story. “And the ladies of Bonneroi, are they hard to please?”

Delle Josephine, who had spoken with the customary vim and gesture of the French while–telling her tale, resumed her quilling and said, with a shrug of one shoulder,

“They do not know much, and dat is true.” I laughed at the ironical tone.

“And you–you provide the _modes_?”

“I haf been to Quebec” she said quietly.

“Twenty years ago,” I thought, but had too much respect for the queer little soul to say it aloud.

“I see amongst other things,” I went on, “a most–remarkable–a very pretty, I should say–hat in your window. The red one, you know, with the bird of paradise.”

Delle Josephine looked up quickly. “Dat is not for sale, _monsieur_.”

“No? Why, I had some idea of perhaps purchasing it for a friend of mine. Did you make that hat yourself?”

She nodded with a sort of conscious pride. Yet it was not for sale! I wondered why. The strange scene of the foregoing evening came into my mind, and I began to understand this singular–case of monomania. It must be that having lived so many years in almost solitary confinement, one might say, her mind had slightly given away, and she found her only excitement and relaxation in posing before the glass in that extraordinary manner. I hardly knew whether it would be an act of kindness to remove the hat; she talked quite rationally and cheerfully, and remembering the innate vanity of the French as a nation, I concluded to let the matter rest That night I heard no talking in the sitting-room. I slept profoundly, and woke up later than usual We were not dug out yet, though two snow-boys with their shovels were doing their best to unearth us. I waited some time for Delle Josephine to appear with the tray; but she too was late, evidently, for at ten o’clock she had not come. I dressed and went down stairs. As I passed the sitting-room I saw her tricked out as before in the hat and the antimacassar seated on the ottoman in front of the looking-glass. Heavens, she looked more frightful than ever! I made up my mind to speak to her at, once, and see if I could not stop such hideous mummery. But when I advanced I perceived that indeed I had come too late. The figure on the ottoman was rigid in death. How it ever held itself up at all I could never think, for I gave a loud cry, and rushing from the room knocked against the open door and fell down senseless.

Outside, I suppose, the snow-boys shovelled away as hard as ever. When I came to myself I did not need to look around; I knew in a flash where I was, and remembered what had happened. I ran to the shop door and hammered with all my might.

“Let me out!” I cried. “Open the door! open the door! for Heaven’s sake!” Then I ran upstairs, and did the same at my window. It seemed years upon years of time till they were enabled to open the door and let me out. I rushed out bareheaded, forgetful of the intense cold, thinking first of all of the, priest _Pere Le Jeune_, so strong is habit, so potent are traditions. I knew where he lived, up the first turning in a small red brick house next the church of St. Jean Baptiste. I told him the facts of the case as well as I could and he came back at once with me. There was nothing to be done. Visitation of God or whatever the cause of death Delle Josephine Boulanger was dead. The priest lifted his hands in horror when he saw the ghostly hat. I asked him what he knew about her, but he seemed ignorant of everything concerning the poor thing, except the _aves_ she repeated and the number of times she came to confession. But when we came to look over her personal effects in the drawers and boxes of the shop, there could be no doubt but that she had been thoroughly though harmlessly insane. We found I should think about one hundred and fifty boxes: from tiny little ones of pasteboard to large square ones of deal, full of rows and rows of white quilled ribbon, similar to the piece I had seen her working at on that last night of her life on earth. Some of the ribbon was yellow with age, others fresher looking, but in each box was a folded bit of paper with these words written inside,

_Pour l’ptite Catherine_.

“What money there was, _Pere Le Jeune_ must have appropriated for I saw nothing of any. After the dismal funeral, to which I went, I gathered my effects together and went to the hotel. The first day I could proceed, I returned to Montreal and have not visited Bonneroi since. The family of _de la Corne de La Colombiere_ still reside somewhere near Quebec, I believe. The _chateau_ is called by the charming name of Port Joli, and perhaps some day I may feel called upon to tell them of the strange fate which befell their poor Josephine. Whether the melancholy accident which partly bereft her of her reason was the result of carelessness I cannot say but I shall be able, I think, to prove to them that she never forgot the circumstance, and was to the day of her death occupied in making ready for the little coffin and shroud of her ‘_p’tite Catherine_.’ My sketch of the frost bound Montmorenci was never finished, and indeed my winter sketching fell through altogether after that unhappy visit to Bonneroy. I was for weeks haunted by that terrible sight, half ludicrous, half awful, and I have, now that I am married, a strong dislike to scarlet in the gowns or head-gear of my wife and daughter.”

The Story of Etienne Chezy D’Alencourt

CHAPTER I.

As my friends know, I was born an Englishman, spending the first twenty-four years of my life in England. On my twenty-fifth birthday I set foot on the shore of the great North American Continent, destined for a time to be my home. Two days afterwards I entered the office set apart for me in the handsome Government Buildings at Ottawa, and began my duties. A transfer had recently been effected between the Home and Canadian Civil Service, and I had been chosen to fill the vacant colonial post. Having no ties or obligations of any kind I had nothing to lose by the transaction except the pleasure and advantage of living in England, which, however, had ceased for one or two reasons to be dear to me.

I did not, however, remain very long in the Service. I found it pleasant work but monotonous, and receiving shortly after I went out a legacy bequeathed by a widowed aunt I had almost forgotten, determined to leave it and devote myself to study and travel. Like many Englishmen, I had taken no trouble to ascertain the real points of interest about me. I had been content with mastering and getting through my work, and with mingling out of hours with the small but thoroughly charming set I had found ready to welcome me on my arrival as the “new Englishman.” On the whole, I was popular, though one great flaw–_i.e._–lack of high birth and desirable home connections, weighed to an alarming extent with the dowagers of the Capital.

I had, on leaving the Service, made up my mind to study the people of the Dominion. The English Canadians were easily disposed of in this way; most of them were Scotch, and the rest appeared to be Irish. I then began on the Indian population. But this was not so easy. It seemed impossible to find even a single Indian without going some distance.

At last I unearthed one descendant of the Red man who kept a small tavern in the lower part of the town; a dirty frame tenement almost entirely hidden by an immense sign hanging outside, having the figure, heroic size of an Iroquois in full evening dress, feathers, bare legs and tomahawk.

This place was known as “Tommy’s.” But Tommy himself was only half an Indian, and swore such bad swears in excellent English, that I was forced to leave after a minute’s inspection.

Then I began on the French-Canadians. There were plenty of them. In the Buildings, on the streets, in the markets, in shops, they were all over. Some of the most charming people I know were French-Canadians. My landlady and her husband, quiet, sober devout people, were French-Canadians.

What I wanted to find, though, was a genuine unadulterated French-Canadian of the class known as the _habitans_. I could recollect many dark-eyed, fierce-mustached men whom I had seen since my residence in Canada, and whom I conjectured must have been _habitans_. Up the Gatineau and down the St. Lawrence, it would be easy to find whom I wanted, but I preferred to wait on in town. I had many a disappointment. One day it would be a cabman, another day a clerk. Though they all _looked_ French, they invariably turned out to be English or Scotch. My notions of hair and skin and eyes were being all turned upside down; my favorite predispositions annulled, my convictions changed to fallacies–in short I was thoroughly bewildered. I could not find my _habitant_. At the same time, when I did find him, he would have to know how to speak some English, for I could only speak very little French. I read it well of course, wrote it quite easily, but on essaying conversation was always seized with that instinctive horror of making a fool of myself, which besets most Englishmen when they would attempt a foreign language. Besides, the _patois_ these people spoke was vastly different from ordinary French, as taught in schools and colleges, and what it might be like I had not in those days the faintest idea, not having read Rabelais.

The worst _desillusionnement_ I suffered I will recount. One day I noticed an elderly man clad in corduroy trousers, shabby brown velveteen coat, conical straw hat and dirty blue shirt, lounging about a wharf I sometimes frequented where, at one time, would lay from thirty to fifty barges laden with lumber. Bargetown it might have been called; it was a veritable floating colony of French and Swede, Irish and Scotch, jabbering and smoking by day and lying quietly at night under the stars, save for the occasional jig and scrape of the fiddle of some active Milesian. Here, had I fully known it, was my chance for observation, but I was ignorant at that time of the ways of these people and did not venture among them. But the man in the velvet coat interested me. He gesticulated the whole time most violently, waved his arms about and made great use of his pipe, which he used to point with. I could not hear what he was saying for his back was turned to me and the wind carried all he said to the bargemen, as he wished it to do I suppose.

How splendidly that coat becomes him, thought I. The descendant of some fine old French settler, how superbly he carries himself!

The conical becomes on him a cocked hat and in place of ragged fringe and buttons hanging by a single string, I see the buckles and bows, the sword and cane of a by-gone age!

I made up my mind to address him, when to my disgust he got into one of the barges, which moved off slowly, transporting him, as I supposed, to his northern home.

The next morning the bell of my front door attracted my attention by ringing three or four times. Evidently my landlady was out. I sauntered to the door and found my _habitant_ of the velveteen coat and duty blue shirt!

Gracious heaven! I was overcome! By what occult power had he been driven here to deliver himself into my hands? Before I could speak, he said:

“Av ye plaze, sorr, will yez be having any carrpets to bate? I’m taking orders against the sphring claning, sorr.”

“Oh! are you?” said I. I began to feel very sorry for myself, very sorry, indeed, at this supreme instant. “Do you live near here?” I further inquired.

“Shure and I do, sorr. Jist beyant yez. I pass yez every day in the week. Me number’s 415”–He was about handing me a greasy bit of paper, when I slammed the door in his face and retired to my own room to meditate on the strange accent and peculiar calling of this descendant of the “fine old French settler.”

My next choice, however, proved a fortunate one. I got into a street-car one evening late in the month of March. It was the winter street-car, a great dark caravan, with a long narrow bench down either side and a mass of hay all along the middle, with a melancholy lamp at the conductor’s end. Although fairly light outside, it was quite dark inside the caravan, so the conductor set about lighting the lamp. This is the way he did it. Opening the door he put his head in, looked all around, shut the door and stopped his horses. Then he opened the door again and put his head in again, keeping the door open this time that we might inhale the fresh March night air. I say we, because when I grew accustomed to the dark, I saw there was another occupant of the car, a man seated on the opposite seat a little way down. The conductor felt under the seat for something which I suppose was the can which, taken presently by him to the corner grocery before which we had stopped, came back replenished with coal oil. After he had filled the lamp, he lit in succession three matches, persistently holding them up so that they all went out one after the other. He felt in his pockets but he had no more. Then he asked me. I had none. Then he asked the other man. The other man laughed and replied in French. I did not understand what he said but saw him supply the conductor with a couple of matches. When the lamp was finally lighted I looked more closely at him. He was a working man from his attire: colored shirt, coat of a curious bronze colour much affected by the Canadian labourer, old fur cap with ears, and moccasins. At his feet stood a small tin pail with a cover. His face was pale and singularly well-cut. His hair was black and very smooth and shiny; a very slight moustache gave character to an otherwise effeminate countenance and his eyes were blue, very light blue indeed and mild in their expression. We smiled involuntarily as the conductor departed. The man was the first to speak:

“De conductor not smoke, surely,” he said, showing me his pipe in one hand. “I always have the matches.”

“So do I, as a general thing,”. I rejoined. “One never knows when a match may be wanted in this country.” I spoke rather surlily, for I had been getting dreadfully chilled while the conductor was opening and shutting the door. The man bent forward eagerly, though without a trace of rudeness in his manner.

“You do not live here, eh?”

“Oh! yes, I do now, but I was thinking of England when I spoke.”

“That is far away from here, surely.”

“Ah! yes,” I sighed. So did the man opposite me. We were silent then for a few moments when he spoke again.

“There is a countree I should like to see and dat is France. I hear, sir, I hear my mother talk of dat countree, and I tink–I should like to go there. But that is far away from here, too far away, sure.”

My heart leapt up. Here, if ever, must be the man I was in search of.

“You are a French-Canadian, I suppose?”

“Yes, Sir, I am dat.”

“And where do you live?” said I.

“I work in de mill; de largess mill in the Chaudiere. You know dat great water, the fall under the bridge, dat we call the Chaudiere.”

“I know it well,” said I, “but I have never gone properly over any of the mills. I should like to go some day very much. Should I see you anywhere if I went down?”

He stared, but gave me the name of his mill. It belonged to one of the wealthiest lumber kings of the district. I resolved to go down the next day.

“What is your name,” I asked. The man hesitated a minute before he replied,

“Netty.”

“Netty!” I repeated “What a curious name! You have another name, I expect. That must only be a nickname.”

“_Mais oui Monsieur_. My name is much longaire than dat. My whole name is Etienne Guy Chezy D’Alencourt, but no man call me dat, specially in de mill. ‘Netty’–dey all know ‘Netty.'”

It was a long name, truly, and a high-sounding one,–but I preferred thinking of him by it than by the meaningless soubriquet of “Netty.” At the next corner he got out, touching his cap to me quite politely as he passed.

I was in high spirits that evening, for I believed I had found my _habitant_. I went down to the Chaudiere the following day, and got permission to go over Mr. —-‘s mill I found it very interesting, but my mind was not sufficiently centered on planks and logs and booms to adequately appreciate them. I wanted “Netty.” After I had made the complete round of the mill I came upon him hard at work in his place turning off planks in unfailing order as they whizzed along. The noise was deafening, of bolts and bars, and saws and chains, with the roar of the great cascade outside. He saw me and recognized me on my approach, but he could not speak for some time. It was most monotonous work, I thought. No conversation allowed, not even possible; the truly demoniacal noise, yet just outside on the other side of a small window, the open country, the mighty waters of the ever-boiling “Kettle,” or Chauldron, and the steep spray-washed cliff. Standing on my toes I could, looking out of Netty’s small window, discover all this. The ice was still in the river, half the fall itself was frozen stiff, and reared in gabled arches to the sky. I watched the two scenes alternately until at 6 o’clock the wheels ran down, the belts slackened and the men knocked off.

Netty walked out with me at my request, and learning that he had to return in an hour I proposed we should have a meal together somewhere and a talk at the same time. He must have been greatly astonished at a complete stranger in another walk of life fastening upon him in this manner, but he gave no hint of either surprise or fear, and maintained the same mild demeanour I had noticed in him the day before.

It was darkening rapidly and I did not know where to go for a meal. Netty told me he ought to go to St. Patrick St. I knew the locality and did not think it necessary to go all that way, “unless anybody will be waiting for you, expecting you.”

“Oh! not dat I live in a boarding house, my mother–she in the countree, far from here.”

“Then, ‘I said,’ you can go where you like. Do you know any place near here where we can get a cup of tea and some eggs? What will do for you, I daresay, and I hardly want as much.”

But he knew of no reliable place and after walking about for a quarter of an hour we finally went to the refreshment room at the station and ordered beer and tea and sandwiches.

“I daresay you wonder at my bringing you out here with me. You’d get a better meal perhaps at your boarding-house. But do you know I’ve taken a fancy to you and, I want to see a little more of you and learn how you live, if you will kindly tell me. I am interested in your people, the French-Canadians.”

This sounds very clumsily put and so it did then, but I was obliged to explain my actions in some way and what is better than the truth? Lies, I have no doubt to some people, but I was compelled to be truthful to this man who carried a gentle and open countenance with him. No gentleman could have answered me more politely than he did now.

“Sir I am astonish–_oui un peu_, but if there is anyting I can tell you, anyting I can show you I shall be ver glad. The mill–how do you find dat, Sir?

“I like to watch you work very much, but the noise”–

Netty laughed, showing his radiant white teeth.

“_Mais oui_, de noise is bad, but one soon custom to dat. I am in de mill for four year. I come from up in de north–from the Grand Calumet–do you know there, Sir?”

“That is an island is it not? Yes, I know where it is, near Allumette, but I have never been so far up on the Ottawa. And the Gatineau, that is a river, is it not? What pretty names these French ones are! Gatineau!” I repeated thinking. “That comes, I fancy having heard somewhere, from Demoiselle Marie Josephe Gatineau Duplessis, wife of one of the first French settlers. By the way your name is a curious one. Say it again.”

Netty very gravely repeated, “Etienne Guy Chezy D’Alencourt.”

“Was your father a native Canadian?”

“_Oui Monsieur_.”

“The name seems familiar to me,” I remarked. “I daresay if you cared to look the matter up, you might find that your great grandfather was something or other under the Intendant Bigot or Vaudreuil, or earlier still under Maisonneuve the gallant founder of Montreal. Ah! how everybody seems to have forgotten those old days. Even in Canada, you see, there is something to look back upon.”

My companion seemed rather puzzled as I talked in this strain. Very probably it was over his head. I found he could neither read nor write, had been reared in the pine-clad and icy fastnesses of Grand Calumet Island all alone by his mother–an old dame now about seventy. He himself was about thirty he judged, though he was far from sure. He was a good Catholic in intention, though very ignorant of all ritual. From his youth he had been employed on the rafts and lumber-slides of the Ottawa river until his four years’ session at the mill, where he had picked up the English he knew. He had made no friends he told me. The more I conversed with him the more I was impressed with his simple and polite manners, his innate good breeding, and his faith and confidence in the importance of daily toil and all honest labour. He smoked a little, drank a little, but never lost his head became obtrusively familiar, noisy or inquisitive. I felt ashamed to think how deliberately I had sought him out, to pry into the secrets and facts of his daily life, but solaced myself into the assurance that it could not at least bode him harm and it might possibly do him some service.

When we returned to the mill, I was astonished at the weirdness of the scene. The entire premises were flooded with the electric light and the men were working away, and the saws, belts and bars all in motion as if it were the middle of the day. What a pandemonium of sound and colour and motion it was! The strong resinous odor of the pine-wood mingled with the fresh air blown in from the river, and I inhaled both eagerly.

It was almost powerful enough to affect the head, and I fancied I caught myself reeling a little as I walked out on to the bridge, swaying just the least bit as the torrent of angry water swept under it I had said “_Bonsoir_” to my friend the Frenchman and was free to go home. But I lingered long on the heaving bridge, though it was cold and starless, and I got quite wet with the dashed-up spray.

Up the river gleamed the icy masses of the frozen fall, beyond that the northern country of the northern waters stretched away up to the North Pole with little, if any, human interruption.

Down the river on the three superb cliffs, rising high out of the water, sparkled the many lights in the Gothic windows of the buildings. On either side were the illuminated mills with their rushing logs and their myriad busy hands piling, smoothing and sawing the monsters of the forest helpless under the fetters of leather and steel.

CHAPTER II.

For the events which followed, I hold myself alone and altogether responsible. Nearly every evening I spent at the Chaudiere, either watching my new friend at his work or lounging on the bridge, and always finishing the day by walking home with him to his boarding house. Thus I got to know him very well, and I soon discovered one thing that he was far from strong. Even a life-long residence among the purifying and strengthening airs of the keen fresh North had not protected him from the insidious ravages of that dread complaint– consumption. I fancied the hereditary taint must be on his father’s side, for he always alluded to his mother as being exceptionally healthy. On Sundays I accompanied him to Church in the morning at the Basilica; in the afternoons we used to walk all over the town in various directions. Of course, on all these excursions, I did most of the talking. He was a good listener, and readily improved in understanding and appreciation. Noticing that he was particularly fond of any story connected with the life of the early French in Canada, I read up all the works I could find on the subject, going often to the Parliamentary Library for that purpose, and retailing the more interesting and intelligible facts to him afterwards. Crusoe did not watch over and educate Friday any more carefully than I my mild and gentlemanly “Shantyman” in his blue shirt and canvas trowsers.

I grew at last, after three months’ intimacy with him, quite to love him, and I am sure my affection was reciprocated for he ever welcomed me with a strong, clinging pressure of my hand and a smile which was a brighter one than that which his face had worn when I met him first. A strange friendship, but one which I felt to be so absorbing that I could not have endured other friends. April passed, and May, and with the hot weather Etienne, whose health gave way all at once, would have to return for a short visit to the old mother all by herself on the island of Grand Calumet.

I feared to let him go, he looked more delicate in my eyes every day, but I knew it would be good for him in many ways. So a day came that saw my friend D’Alencourt go back to his northern home. He would not ask me to go and visit him, he had too much natural pride for that, but I made up my mind to find him out, for all that. As may be supposed I was like the traditional fish out of the traditional water for some time after his departure.

I read and amused myself in any way that offered, but cared not to experiment on any more French-Canadians.

In my reading I read for two, and made notes of anything I thought would interest Etienne. One day I came across the same name as his own, borne by a certain young soldier, a sprig of the French _noblesse_ who had followed in the train of Bigot, the dissolute and rapacious Governor of New France. I meditated long over this. The name was identical–Guy Chezy D’Alencourt. In the case of my friend the mill-hand there was simply the addition of Etienne, the first Christian name. Could he possibly be the descendant of this daring and gallant officer, of whose marriage and subsequent settling in Canada I could find no mention? The thing seemed unlikely, yet perfectly possible. I had predicted it myself. As if to fasten my thoughts even more securely on the absent Etienne that very day arrived a letter from Grand Calumet. It was addressed to me in a laboured but most distinct hand. I thought that Etienne had commissioned the priest doubtless to write for him or some other friend, but when I opened it I found to my great surprise that it was from Etienne himself and in his own handwriting, the result he told me of work at home in his Lower Town boarding-house.

I dropped the letter. He had taught himself to, write! This was the first fruit of my intimacy with him, and I hardly knew whether I was pleased or not. But I clearly saw that this night-work added to the arduous toil and late hours imposed upon him by his place in the mill had probably been the cause of undermining his bodily strength. The letter itself ran:

“Dear Sir,–The frend of Etienne D’Alenconrt, he can write you–he can send you a _lettre_ from the Grand Calumet, his island that is green, Monsieur, and full of sweet berries. If you would come, Mossier, you would find Etienne and his mother reddy to do all they can. Still, Monsieur shall in this please alway himself, the friend and benefactor of Etienne Chezy D’Alencourt.”

GRAND CALUMET ISLAND.

“It was at night, when Monsieur had gone home, that I learnt myself to write and thank him for all teaching from the books beside.”

“E.”

Of course, I would accept the invitation. I decided to go in a week’s time and wrote to that effect. I wished to reprimand him for having overtaxed his strength as I was sure he had done in sitting up teaching himself how to write, but respect for the dear fellow’s perseverance and ability restrained me.

Only when I got him again, I said to myself, I would stop that. I took with me a gun, fishing rods and tackle, a mosquito net, plenty of cigars and a hamper of tinned meats, tea, coffee and biscuits.

My journey was nearly altogether by water and I enjoyed every inch of the beautiful river. After I reached the landing stage, a place called Lichfield, I had to wait an hour before proceeding in the direction which I had found out it would be necessary to follow in order to find Etienne and his mother.

I shall never forget the delight of that one hour passed in rambling through the lonely green wood that covered the island down to the shore. The ferns were young and freshly unfurled, the moss was everywhere, green and close and soft like velvet and star-clustering, gray and yellow. The surviving flowers were the large white blossoms of the woodland lily, and the incoming _Linnaea_ began to show the faint pink of its twin bells, afterwards to be so sweet and fragrant.

I thought of that passage in the letter which told of “the island that was green and full of sweet berries.” Not a bad description for a person whom the world must perforce term an illiterate man.

When my conveyance arrived, it proved to be a stage of antiquated type and I suffered horribly during the journey of three hours. At the end of that time, I was set down with my luggage at the gate of a small log hut, with a little garden in front, bordered with beautiful pink and green stones, the like of which I had never seen before. A snake fence ran in front of this and on two sides, at the back was a thick wood.

Etienne was ready for me at which I rejoiced, fearing to make myself known to the dame his mother.

Once more I felt that honest and affectionate hand grasp, once more I met those clear and steady blue eyes, and I noted the flush of pride which overspread his face when I told him that I had received his letter and marvelled at it.

“Mossieu know so much and Etienne so ver little.” But when the flush had died away, I was pained exceedingly to see the pallor of his cheeks and the prominence of his high cheekbones. His walk was unsteady too, he put his feet down, I noticed, as if they were light instead of solid supports for his body, a sure sign of great physical weakness. My worst fears were realized when I saw on the deal table in the front room, furnished with home-made rugs drawn from woolen rags dyed all colors and some plain deal furniture stained brown, a little pile of books. There were two copy-books, two dictionaries, a small “Histoire de Canada” and some illustrated magazines. I saw that he could read, too, pretty well, for he presently drew my attention to a very old book indeed, that lay on a shelf, a little Roman Catholic missal with tarnished gold clasps and scarlet edges.

“Dat was belong to my fader,” he said, “for many a year; and it was from his fader he get it.”

I looked at it eagerly all over. The fly-leaf bore no inscription, but up in one corner, in faded red ink, was something that looked like a monogram with a device underneath. I would have examined it at once but that Etienne was anxious to read me a little of the Latin which he had picked out with infinite patience, I should think. I promised to help him a little occasionally, but told him that he was not looking well and had better be content with ignorance in this lovely summer weather.

“When the winter comes and you are back at the mill, you can study as much as you like.”

The old dame was sallow and sunken from a life of incessant hard work. The climate itself, so changeable as well as inclement in these northern wilds, is enough to pinch the face and freeze the blood, although at the time of my visit it was hot, intensely hot for so early in the summer. Moreover, the old dame was not given to talking. So taciturn a Frenchwoman I never met elsewhere. They are usually characterized by a vivacious loquacity which is the seal of their nationality. But this one was silent in the extreme and had, as her son told me, never once held a conversation with him on any subject whatever. Of his father he knew literally only this fact–that be had been a “shantyman” in his time too, and was killed by a strained rope striking him across the middle. Etienne did not remember him. The time sped on. They made me as comfortable as they could in the front or “best” room, but, when I thought it would not offend them, I slept outside–“_couchant a la belle etoile_” as Rousseau has it– and beautiful nights those were I spent in this manner. We had plenty of fruit–wild strawberries and raspberries–pork and beans and potatoes forming the staple articles of diet. There was no cow, no horse, no dog belonging to the house. Fish we could get ourselves in plenty, and eggs made their appearance in a farmer’s wagon about twice a week. Etienne and I spent entire days out-of-doors, shooting, fishing, walking, reading. I tried to take his mind off his books, but it was of no use. He had got so attached to his studies and new pursuits in life that one day he startled me by asserting that he did not intend to go back to the mill in future. I remonstrated gently with him, reminding him that as yet his education was very incomplete, that few situations of the kind he probably aspired to would be open to him for some time to come, and that in the meantime he must suffer from want of money, and thus be the cause of seeing his mother suffer as well. But he startled me further in reply by stating that he knew himself to be slowly dying of consumption and that he would shortly be of little use to anyone. His wish was to leave Canada altogether and die in–France! France, the country of his dreams, the goal of his dying ambition, the land of the golden _fleur de lis_, of the chivalrous soldiers, the holy women and the pious fathers who colonized the land of his birth!

I remonstrated with him as I have said. I expostulated in every key; I took his mother into my confidence as well as I could since she knew not a word of English; I laughed at him, I wept over him, I endeavoured by every argument in my power to make him change my mind, but–

I failed. Then when I understood how firmly his mind was set upon this extraordinary idea, I made up my mind to accompany him, in fact, not to leave him at all until he either grew wiser and stronger, or else died the death he predicted for himself. I found that the old dame had quite a store of money saved by her little by little every year from Etienne’s earnings, and from what she made by selling the rugs I mentioned. These sold for a dollar and upwards according to the size. Putting some of my own to this fund of hers, I calculated she had enough to go upon for at least a year. Wants are few in that district. Then I turned my attention to Etienne. He was growing worse; he would lie for hours reading or attempting to read with great beads of perspiration mounting on his brow. The heat was excessive and proved very bad for him. I judged he would be better in town and after I had been on the island for about two months, I begged him to return with me. I promised him that once there, I would not leave him for a day, and would even consider the possibility of taking him across the ocean. He still maintained his calm and perfect manners and insisted upon paying his fare down the river which I let him do, knowing that soon his stock of money would be exhausted and he would then be at my mercy. No sign of cupidity was apparent in his demeanor, yet I wondered how he ever thought to reach France unless I paid his way. Like all consumptives, he had a trick of rallying now and then and appearing better than he really was. This occurred on our arrival in town. He took long walks with me again daily and seemed so much stronger that I again dared to suggest the propriety of his returning to the mill, but to no purpose. He drooped at the very thought, and I perceived that his apparent recovery was but a delusion, I soon saw he was weaker than ever. But whenever he was at all able, he persisted in reading what he could understand and really his progress was a marvel to me. So it came about that one evening, towards the close of September where we had sometimes to light the lamp as early as half-past six, I returned to my rooms about that hour of the day (we shared rooms together, so fond had I grown of him, and I trust, he of me) to find him poring over the little Catholic Missal.

“In this light? This will never do. And you could not light the lamp yourself, my poor Etienne!”

When it was lighted, I saw indeed from his weak and excited appearance that he was unable to do anything for himself. Lying on my sofa, he had in one hand the scarlet-edged missal, and in the other the book I have referred to, which contained a short sketch of Guy Chezy D’Alencourt the handsome and reckless lieutenant of _La Nouvelle France_.

He could hardly speak but through his gasping I could gather that he wished me to examine the words in the corner of fly-leaf I had once noticed before and believed to be a monogram. I quieted him a little, then bringing the lamp-light to bear upon the faded ink, I was able to decipher the device, which comprised a crown, three _fleurs-de-lis_ under, and a lamb bearing a banner, with the letters I.H.S. upon it.

“The arms of Rouen!” I exclaimed “and above them, some initials, yes, a monogram!”

My companion sat up in his excitement.

“Ah! dat is what I cannot make quite out! Tree letter–_oui, vite, cher mosdieu, vite_!”

I had to look very closely indeed to decipher these, but with the aid of a small lens I found them to be “G. C. D’A.”

There could be little doubt but that Etienne was the lineal descendant of Guy Chezy D’Alencourt, native of Rouen, who came to Canada in the same year as Bigot. I told him so and wondered what his thoughts could be, for clasping my hands with as much force as he possessed–and that is at times a wonderful force in the clasp of the dying–he said with a great effort:

“If dat is so, _mossieu_, if dat is so, I have _O le bon Dieu_–I have–_mossieu_, I have–O if dat is true”–

He fell back and I caught no more. The excitement proved too much for my poor friend. When I spoke to him, he was unconscious and he never fully recovered his senses. Alas! he lay in a few weeks, beneath the sod of Grand Calumet Island, and France is ignorant of the fact that a true aristocrat and simple-hearted gentleman existed in the humble person of my friend the _habitant_, Etienne Guy Chezy D’Alencourt, _alias_ “Netty.”

Descendez a L’Ombre, ma Jolie Blonde.

The Honourable Bovyne Vaxine Vyrus refused to be vaccinated. Stoutly, firmly and persistently refused to be vaccinated. Not even the temptation of exposing to the admiring gaze of a medical man the superb muscles and colossal proportions of an arm which had beaten Grace and thrashed (literally) Villiers of the Guards, weighed with him.

“It’s deuced cool!” he said, to his cousin Clarges, of Clarges St. Mayfair, a fair, slight fellow, with a tiny yellow moustache. “Haven’t I been six times to India, and twice to Africa; that filthy Algiers, you remember, and Turkey, and New Orleans, and Lisbon, and Naples? and now, when I was done only eight years ago at home, here I am to be done again, where, I am sure, it all looks clean enough and healthy! It makes me ill, and I _won’t_ be done; laid up for a week and lose all the fun I came for!”

“Bovey, though you _are_ the strongest fellow in England, you’re no less a coward!”

Young Clarges looked up as he spoke, seriously: “_I_ shall be done!”

“You? Well, so I should expect from a baby like you, Arthur! You will never grow up, never learn to think for yourself! Now let me alone on the subject, and let us look up this country place we were told about!” But Clarges was not easily silenced.

“Think of Lady Violet, Bovey! If anything were to happen to you out here, and the children, Bovey,–Rex and Florence, you know!”

“Oh! cut it, now, Arthur; I tell you it’s of no use!”

Young Clarges looked out across the river, and bit the tiny yellow moustache. “Then I won’t be done, either!” said he to himself. “It’s borne in upon me that one of us has got to get this accursed thing, and if I can prevent it, it shan’t be Bovey!” What a strange scene it was beneath, around, above and opposite them! Beneath flowed the river, solid with sawdust, the yellow accumulation of which sent up a strong resinous smell that almost made them giddy; to the left the tumultuous foam of the Chaudiere cast a delicate veil of spray over the sharp outlines of the bridge traced against a yellow sky; to the right, the water stretched away in a dull gray expanse, bordered by grim pines and flat sterile country. Around them the three mighty cliffs on which the Capital is built, above them the cold gray of an autumnal sky, and opposite them the long undulations of purplish brown hills that break the monotony of the view, and beyond which stretch away to an untrodden north the wastes and forests of an uncleared continent.

“Are we looking due north, now, Arthur, do you know?”

“I suppose so,” returned Clarges. He was astride a cannon and still biting the tiny moustache. “Yes, by the direction of the sunset we must be, I suppose. I say, if we are, you know, I should like to be able to tell between what two trees–it would have to be between two of those trees there–we should have to walk to get to the North Pole.”

The Hon. Bovyne looked around suddenly and laughed. He was fishing apparently in his pockets for a paper or something of the kind, as he had a number of letters in his hand, looking them over.

“What two trees? Where? Arthur, you _are_ a donkey. What are you talking about?”

“I say,” returned Clarges, “that it is perfectly true that as we sit here, facing due north, all we have to do is to walk straight over this river–”

“On the sawdust?”

“Certainly, over those hills and between two of those trees in order to get to the North Pole. Curious, isn’t it? If you look awfully close, real hard, you know, you can almost count their branches as they stand up against the sky. Like little feathers–huff-f-f-f–one could almost blow them away!”

The Honorable Bovyne laughed again. Clarges was a mystery to him, as to many others. Half-witted he sometimes called him, though on other occasions he stood in awe of his bright, candid, fearless nature, and his truthful and reckless tongue.

“I say,” went on Clarges excitedly, shading his eyes with his hand. “There are two trees out there in a straight line from this very cannon that–that I should know again, Bovey! Do look where I point now like a good fellow. Don’t you see there, following the chimney of that big red place, factory or other, right in a line with that at the very top of the hill at its highest point, two trees that stand a little apart from the others and have such funny branches–Oh! you must be able to see them by those queer branches! One crooks out on one side just as the other does on the other tree. That isn’t very lucid, but you see what I mean can’t you? They make a sort of– of–lyre shape.”

The Hon. Bovyne shaded his eyes with his hand and looked out over the river and distant hills. “I see a line of trees, feathery trees, you aptly call them my dear Arthur, but I can’t make out your particular two. How is it possible, at such a distance, to see anything like a _lyre_ of all things? Come along, I’ve found the address I wanted. It reads most peculiarly. It seems there are still a great number of French people around here, in fact, all over this Province which they sometimes call Lower Canada. Do you remember much of your French?” I spoke a lot in Algiers of course but I fancy it isn’t much like this jargon. Our destination is or appears to be, _c/o Veuve Peter Ross, Les Chats_, pronounced _Lachatte_, so Simpson told me.

“Who told you about the place?” enquired young Clarges getting off the cannon? “Simpson? What sort of a fellow is he?”

“Who? Simpson?” said his cousin in turn. “Um–not bad. Been out here too long, though. Awfully quiet, goes in for steady work and takes hardly any exercise. I wonder why it is the fellows here don’t walk more! New country and all that; I should have thought they would all go in for country walks and shooting and sports of all kinds. They don’t, you know, from some reason or other. It can’t be the fault of the country.”

“You forget the roads, Bovey, and the fences, and the interminable distances and the immense rivers, and the long winter. I say, it looks like snow to-night, doesn’t it?”

“What do you know about snow!” rejoined the Hon. Bovyne. “Let us get on, there’s a good fellow–confound you! don’t stare at those imaginary trees any longer, but come along.”

Certainly young Clarges was possessed with the queerest fancy about those trees. “I say, Bovey, they were funny, though, to strike me like that, out of all the others! I am sure I should know them again. Perhaps some day we’ll take a fly and go out there–I wonder if there’s an inn? Does what’s her name, your old Scotch lady, keep an inn, or is it a farm we’re going to?”

“Scotch? Why do you say Scotch? She’s French, I tell you. Simpson says she can’t speak a word of English.”

“But ‘Peter Ross’ is Scotch, isn’t it? At least you can’t make it French, however you twist it”

“I’m not anxious to twist it. Don’t you see, Arthur, she is evidently a Frenchwoman who married a man called Peter Ross; she is the _veuve_, widow, you know! of the lamented Scotchman. Now do you understand? But it _is_ peculiar.”

“Very,” said Clarges. “When do we start?”

“There’s a train to-morrow morning at eight o’clock, but I thought we had better hire a trap, and a man to bring the trap back, and put all our things, tents and so on, into it, and go out comfortably so as to see the country.”

“All right!” said Clarges. “By Jove, what a splendid night it’s going to be, stars out already, Bovey! Don’t you hope it’ll be like this tomorrow? Shall we camp out the first night and think of–of– Lady Violet by our camp fire, and Rex and Florence–how they’d like to see us, wouldn’t they? And they can’t, you know, they’re three thousand miles away, trying to make out each other’s faces in the November fog, eh! Bovey? I say, what shall we get to eat out there, at Lachatte, you know, the country always makes me desperately hungry.”

“Oh! we shall do well enough. Simpson says she is a capital old woman, lives entirely alone; will cook for us, wait on us, make us pancakes, I expect, and give us plenty of that stuff we had this morning at the hotel”

“Sweet stuff?” asked Clarges. “_I_ know. Syrup, maple syrup, that’ll do.”

Simpson, the authority, thrice quoted by the elder of the two Englishmen, appeared at dinner with them that evening. He was a hard-working, stodgy son of person who had come out to the Canadian Civil Service fifteen years, ago, lived much by himself until he took a wife out of a Canadian village, a phlegmatic, stolid, unimaginative sort of a girl, who was nevertheless a good wife and an excellent housekeeper. Simpson sniffed at the dinner. It wasn’t as good as his own. He felt ill at ease in the presence of the two men, whose airy talk and loud laughter struck him with a keen sense of its novelty. They joked about everything. Clarges particularly was in high feather. The wine, which came partly from the hotel and partly from the Hon. Bovyne’s hamper, flowed often and freely, and Simpson, who was a very moderate fellow, wondered at the quantity his friends seemed to be able to imbibe. “Without showing any traces of it, either,” he said to himself. “All this vivacity is natural; I remember the type; in fact, I was something like it myself ten or twelve years ago.”

After dinner, Clarges rushed up stairs and down again with a small silk plush packet of photographs tied with ribbons. The men were in the smoking room.

“I say, I want Simpson to see Lady Violet, Bovey.”

“All right, and the children too? You sentimental ass, Arthur!” Clarges laughed. It was a funny laugh, a kind of inane ripple that nevertheless tickled everybody who heard it. “But it’s too smoky here. Come up stairs to the drawing room. There’s a jolly big drawing room with a piano, and we can say what we want to, everyone stares here so!”

“I should think they would,” said Simpson quietly. “Why do you get yourself up like that, simply because you’re in Canada? A knitted waistcoat, three sizes too large for you–”

“That’s to admit of heavy underclothing,” said Clarges, not in the least perturbed. “Knickerbockers,” continued Simpson, “that are certainly one size too small; a cap that looks like a hangman’s, and a coat that must have come off Praed St.”

The Hon. Bovyne laughed long and loud. “Oh, Arthur, Arthur!” he said. But young Clarges did not mind in the least. Indeed, had he but known it, and be it remembered to his merit that he did not know it, he made a fair and manly picture as he stood under the light of the chandelier. His slim, well-knit figure was more prepossessing than the herculean proportions of his cousin, “the strongest man in England;” his crisp fair hair brushed boyishly up on one side and his well-trimmed moustache of silky yellow, his keen gray eyes and delicate features, all went far in point of attractiveness, especially when added to these mere physical details, rang the infectious laugh, clear, hearty and youthful, and spoke the natural, honest, unrestrained tongue.

In the drawing room Clarges established himself on a sofa between the other two. “Now, Simpson,” he said, “you must excuse me calling you Simpson so freely, by the way, but you know, Bovey always calls you Simpson–you don’t mind, do you? You bang away at my clothing all you like, and in return I’ll call you Simpson. Now I’m going to show you Lady Violet. You know who she is, she is Bovey’s wife, _and_ the loveliest woman in England. Loveliest woman in England, look at that!” Clarges held up very carefully, out at arm’s length, a very fine photograph of an undeniably beautiful woman. “Bovey’s wife.” he ejaculated again. “You never saw her, so you don’t know what beauty is, do you? But here’s the next best thing, her photograph, and such a photograph! Now, you be good, as we say to the children, and I’ll show you that again after all the others.” Next he showed him in a sort of ecstasy, Bovey’s children.

“Rex and Florence,” he said, in an awe-struck tone. Bovey laughed, so did Simpson. So would anybody have done.

“What are you laughing at,” said young Clarges, solemnly. “Oh, at me! that’s all right, everybody laughs at me. I knew it couldn’t be the children. Now here’s another lovely girl,” and then there was another and still another, and then a group in hunting attire just after the breakfast; then pretty interiors with dainty rooms and women and children and dogs, a capital likeness of Fred Burnaby, Vyrus’ fellow-officer, autographs of Gordon and Wolseley, a garden party at Clarges Mount, a water-party at Richmond, photograph’s and sketches taken in Algiers, Cairo, Damascus, Bombay and Edinburgh. Simpson sat through all this slightly bored and confused. What had he to do with this kind of life? Once he had had some gleams of it, it is true, but that was years ago, before his modest little establishment was in existence, presided over by the plain, but virtuous Matilda of his later days.

“Well, now,” said he, preparing to take his leave, “is there anything further you want to know about your plans, for I suppose I shall scarcely see you again before you leave if you get off tomorrow morning as you intend. One thing–of course you’ve been vaccinated?”

The Hon. Bovyne muttered, “bah!” Clarges began putting the photographs away, all but Lady Violet.

“Then you haven’t been done, eh?” said Simpson, interrogatively. “I would if I were you. You can’t tell where you’re going or whom you’ll meet. Why, you can ‘do’ yourself if you object to a medical man fussing around.”

“Can you?” said Clarges.

“I don’t object,” said Bovey, loftily; “but I must say I think it is making a ridiculous and most unnecessary fuss about the matter. Why, there are half a dozen diseases as virulent as the small-pox stalking about in every large town, and we don’t take those! Why should we take the small-pox when we don’t take the cholera, or the– the–”

“Yes,” observed Simpson, in his quiet manner, “I thought you would stick for want of details. The fact is, that you can inoculate for small-pox, and you can’t as yet, for cholera or leprosy, and so wise people accept the fact, the revelation if you will, and get vaccinated. However, as far as your immediate surroundings go, you’re safe enough. Old Mrs. Ross will do all she can for you, and it isn’t far, only twenty two miles from town after all. You’ll be walking in in a day or two for another tent or a barrel of whiskey. Nothing like whiskey, Canadian whiskey, out in camp on cold nights.” Simpson got up.

“I wonder,” said he, suddenly, “how you escaped being done on the train. You came up from Quebec _via_ St. Martin’s Junction, didn’t you?”

“Oh! your importunate Inspector did make an effort on my behalf, but I was firm. Nearly had a lodging in the Police Station though, but I told him who we were and swore to having marks the size of flat-irons on both arms, so he let me go.”

“And you,” said Simpson, turning to Clarges. “Me! oh! I shall be done. I say, couldn’t I walk out with you now and see a doctor about it? I believe I will, Bovey, if you can spare me. For look you, Simpson, I am the plaything of his leisure hours, a kind of Yorick, you know, and he might be dull.”

The Hon. Bovyne looked grave for a second, “I believe I _should_ be dull without you, dear boy, though you are a crank. Let me see, how old are you, Arthur?”

“Twenty-two,” answered Clarges. “Good heaven!” exclaimed the Hon. Bovine, “and I am getting perilously near to forty. We’ll change the subject. I’m very sleepy. Don’t expect to find me up when you come in, Arthur; to-morrow night, remember, we may be sleeping on the cold ground, I shall get all the rest I can to-night.” Clarges and the other man took their leave.

“Once more, Bovey,” said the former, “won’t you be done? Simpson, make him! See here, look once more at Lady Violet, speak with _her_ lips, look with _her_ eyes–the loveliest woman in England!”

“Go and get ‘done,’ as you call it, for heaven’s sake, and let me alone!” was all he got in reply.

But Clarges did not get done. He had an idea and this was his idea: To walk to some doctor recommended by Simpson and procure an instrument suitable for the purpose, and the necessary material, and to vaccinate his cousin himself. The first part was easy enough. Simpson vaguely wondering at his light-hearted talk, left him at a doctor’s surgery door, and Clarges, who could always get what he wanted from anybody in any part of the world, soon persuaded the doctor to give him a “point” and all necessary instructions.

“A small lancet is really a better thing,” said that gentleman, “but you will manage all right, I daresay. We must really take every precaution we can. Good evening.”

All this was easy; now arose the difficulty, how best to tackle Bovey.

“He’s such a giant of a fellow,” thought Clarges. “But if he is only asleep as he hinted he would be, there’ll not be much difficulty. What will he do when he finds it out in the morning, supposing I am successful in operating upon him to-night? What a suggestive word! I am quite the surgeon. But I’ll do it–Arthur Clarges, see that you _do_ do it, by all you hold dear and sacred in old England!”

On his return, however, to the hotel, he found that his cousin was clearly wide-awake again.

“Hang it all!” he said to himself, “why isn’t he asleep?” But the Hon. Bovyne was not in the least sleepy. He rallied Arthur on his poor arm but fortunately did not ask to look at it. He ordered up a sherry cobbler apiece and brought out some of his rarest weeds. “I say, what do you think of Simpson, Bovey?” said Clarges, suddenly.

“Think? why, that there’s nothing in him to think about.”

“Did you know he was married?”

“No; is he?” Bovey was always laconic.

“Yes, and he has four children. Just think, four! Two boys and two girls.”

“How interesting!” The two men smoked silently for a few minutes, then Clarges said, “It must be a beautiful thing to be married, you know.”

“Well, I _ought_ to know,” returned his cousin.

Clarges put his cigar down and went on. “To have somebody that belongs to you, and to know that you belong to somebody; that’s marriage, and I think it must be very beautiful. Of course, you belong to other people too, just the same, and they belong to you, but not so much, not in the same way. You don’t go to church all in a tremble with your father and your mother, or your sister or your brother. You don’t wear a ring–a beautiful, great broad band of gold, you know, always shining there on your finger–or you don’t put one on for anybody else save just the person that belongs to you in that way, in the way of marriage, you know. And to be able to think wherever you are, ‘Well, there is that person, anyway, thinking of me, waiting for me; the whole world doesn’t matter if that person is really there, anywhere, thinking of me, waiting for me.’ Now, you know, _I’ll_ never feel that, never, in this world. What good is there in me? I may be Arthur Clarges, of Clarges, of course, but without money, that means nothing. I say, Bovey, it’s rather ghastly, but it’s perfectly true. I haven’t a single soul in the world but you and Lady Violet to think of me at all, or for me to think of.”

“I don’t suppose you have,” said the Hon. Bovyne, thoughtfully. “You are a lone beggar, Arthur, but a cheery one nevertheless.”

“So you see,” Clarges went on, “If in accompanying you around the world in search of new pleasures and exciting experiences, anything happens to me, you know, Arthur Clarges, of Clarges, nobody need mind. There isn’t anybody to mind.”

“All this because Simpson has got four children! Well, I hope you’ll get married yet, Arthur, you queer fish, and have six, two more than Simpson. I know what you are driving at, however. You think me a selfish brute. You can’t understand how I can leave Lady Vi., and the two kids, and go off annually on tours of exploration and so forth. I tell you, I am the better for it, and she is the better for it, and nobody is any the worst for it, unless it be yourself. Men who have knocked about as I have done, will continue to knock about as long as they live. In the army, out of the army, all the same. Lady Vi. understands me, and I her, and you forget, Arthur, that you are very–young.”

“Then may I never get any older,” said Charles, almost rudely.

Not long afterwards his cousin, slightly heavy with wine, went to bed. Clarges, abnormally wakeful, tried to read _Bell’s Life_ which lay before him and waited until Bovey was fast asleep. They occupied the same room, a large double-bedded one, which opened into a bathroom and parlour _en suite_. When he was perfectly certain that his cousin was sound asleep, so sound that “a good yelp from the county pack, and a stirring chorus of ‘John Peel’ by forty in pink could not wake him,” thought Clarges, the latter undertook his delicate task and accomplished it. He did it quickly and skilfully with a tiny lancet he found in his cousin’s well-appointed travelling bag. Bovey never stirred. Clarges next undertook to “do” himself. Then a strange thing happened. He had gone to the glass and bared his left arm when a sudden faintness overcame him. He tried to shake it off and sat down. Presently it left him and he felt quite as usual. Then he made a second attempt. The same thing occurred again. This time it was worse, and sight and strength failing, he sank on his own bed, fainting. By a tremendous effort he prevented entire unconsciousness from taking place and lay there half dressed and tremulous.

“Well, I _am a fool_! I can’t help it. I can’t try any more to-night, for I am as weak and sleepy–if I can get up and undress it’s as much as I am capable of. But Bovey’s all right. There’s Lady Violet”– turning his eyes to the photograph he had stuck in the looking glass frame–“she’d thank me if she knew.” Sweet Lady Vi–so good to all around her–so good to me–dear Lady Vi, the loveliest woman in England!

When Clarges awoke he was chilled and dazed, couldn’t remember where he was and what he had done. When he did recollect, he rose quietly, extinguished the gas and made the room as dark as possible, in hopes that Bovey might outsleep himself in the morning. Then he went to bed properly, putting as a final precaution, his watch an hour in advance. It thus happened that by Clarges’ watch it was a quarter past ten when he awoke. He rose first and bullied his cousin to that extent that the latter tumbled out of bed and flung on his clothes without indulging in his usual bath. At eleven the trap was due and Bovey was all on fire, bundled his things around recklessly and swore a little at Clarges for keeping him up the night before. Clarges was nervous, but up to the present time was master of the situation. At breakfast, Bovey discovered the mistake, but attributed it to Clarges’ carelessness in such matters aggravated by a probable bad arm.

“Why I took your watch for an authority instead of my own, I don’t know,” said he. “But last night I thought you were the clearer of the two, in fact, I don’t recollect winding mine at all, and it seems now that _you_ were the delinquent.” “Yes, I must have been,” said Clarges, self-reproachfully.

At eleven the trap came, and by noon they were half-way to their destination. The road winding higher and higher as it followed the magnificent curves of the Gatineau was very beautiful, and revealed at each turn a superb panorama of water, and wood and sky. For a long time the Buildings were visible, towering over trees and valleys. Once the sun came out and lit up the cold, gray scene.

“Pull up, Johnny,” said the Hon. Bovyne, “I want to see this. Why, its immense, this is! Arthur, how’s your arm?”

But Clarges was evidently struck with something. “I say, over there, is where we were yesterday, Bovey, I can imagine I see the very spot, cannon and all.”

“Just as then you imagined you saw a couple of trees here, eh? Now go along, Johnny, and sit down, Arthur. It doesn’t agree with you to be vaccinated. I’m afraid you’re too imaginative already my boy. By the way, how _is_ your arm?”

“Its a novel situation,” thought Clarges. “_He’s_ the one, not me. Its _his_ arm, not mine. But my turn will come to-night; pretty soon he’ll find it out for himself.”

Arrived at the house of _Veuve_ Peter Ross, they found it clean and inviting; warmed by a wood stove and carpeted with home-made rugs. The old woman took a great interest in their arrival and belongings and jabbered away incessantly, in French. Did they but request her to “cherchez un autre blankette!” or fry an additional egg, up went her hands, her eyes and her shoulders, and such a tirade of excited French was visited upon them that they soon forebore asking her for anything but went about helping themselves. At first they thought she was angry when these outbreaks took place, but Bovey, who could partially understand her, gathered that she was far from offended, but given over to the national habit of delivering eloquent and theatrical monologues on the slightest provocation. She had no lodgers at the present moment; a Frenchman had left the day before, and the prospect was in every way favorable, to the comfort of the two friends.

When the dusk fell, Bovey made a camp-fire.

“It’s what we came for,” he said, “and we can’t begin too early or have enough of it, and I feel chilly, queer, quite unlike myself to-night. It’s a depressing country just about here.”

“It is,” said Clarges, anxious to keep his friend a little longer in the dark. “We’ll be all right when it’s really night, you know, and the fire blazes up. What a jolly tent and what glorious blankets? We ought to go to bed early, for it was awfully late the last night There! now its getting better. Hoop-la! more sticks Bovey! Throw them on, make it blaze up. Here we are in the primeval forest at last, Bovey, pines and moss, and shadows and sounds–What’s that now? Is that on the river?”

For suddenly they heard the most wonderful strain coming from that direction. The river was about three or four hundred yards away across the road, in front of them, and upon a raft slowly passing by were a couple of _habitans_ singing. What strain was this, so weird, so solemn, so earnest, yet so pathetic, so sweet, so melodious!

“Descendez a l’ombre
Ma jolie blonde.”

Those were the words they caught, no more, but the tune eluded them.

“It’s the queerest tune I ever heard!” ejaculated Clarges. He had a smattering of music, and not a bad ear.

“Can’t get it for the life of me. It’s like–I tell you what it’s like Bovey, its got the same–you know–the same intervals–that’s the word–that the priests chant in! And then, just when you’re thinking it has, off it goes into something like opera bouffe or those French rounds our nurse used to sing. But isn’t it pretty? I say–where’s Lady Violet now, Bovey, eh? Don’t you wish she could see us, see you there, quite the pioneer, looking like Queen Elizabeth’s giant porter in this queer light? and how she would catch up that tune and bring it out on the piano, and make ever so much more of it with her clever fingers, first like a battle-cry, men marching and marching you know, and then put in a wonderful chord that would make us all creep and sigh as she would glide into the loveliest nocturne, you know–I say, what a nocturne we’re having, eh! Do you think it’s any livelier now?”

“My boy,” said the Hon. Bovyne, solemnly, “You are right, it is a nocturne and a wonderful one. I’m not given to expressing myself poetically as you know, so I shall content myself with saying that its immense, and now will you pass the whiskey? I certainly feel shaky to-night, but I shall sleep out here all the same. What are you going to do?”

“I prefer to try the house, I think,” answered Clarges, and so he did. When he was going to bed, heartily grateful that his cousin was as yet ignorant of his interference, he looked long and earnestly from his one window in the roof at the scene outside before he attempted again the process of self-vaccination. He could see the mighty flames of Bovey’s camp-fire, a first-class fire, well planned and well plied. He could see the pale outline of the tent and the dark figure of his cousin wrapped in rugs and blankets by the side of the fire. He could see the tall pines and the little firs, the glistening line of river and the circles of gleaming white stones that marked the garden beds in front. The first snow of the year was just beginning to fall in tiny flakelets that melted as soon as they touched the ground.

“When they’re all covered with snow, it must be pretty,” thought Clarges. “Like all the Christmas trees in the world put together! The winter is beginning, the long cold, constant Canadian winter we have heard so much about. Good-bye, dear Lady Violet, good-bye, dear old England!” Clarges sat on the side of the bed with his arm ready. But the faintness came again, this time with a sickening thrill of frightful pain and apprehension, and he rolled over in a deathly swoon with his own words ringing in his ears.

When the morning broke, it broke in bright sunshine and with an inch or so of snow on the ground. The Hon. Bovyne, though feeling unaccountably ill and irritable, was delighted.

“Still I fear we are too late in the season for much camping,” he said, “I must see Arthur about it.”

He waited till ten, eleven, half-past eleven. No Arthur, not even the old woman about. He wondered very much. He approached the house, and finding nobody coming at his knock, opened the door and went in. Something wrong. He knew that at once. The air was stifling, horrible, with an unknown quantity in it, it seemed to him. He threw open the front room door. _Veuve_ Peter Ross was in her bed, ill, and of small-pox. He could tell her that, for certain. He rushed up-stairs and found Clarges on his bed, raving, delirious.

What was it he heard?

“Bovey’s all right! Bovey’s all right?” This was all, repeated over and over.

The Hon. Bovyne was neither a fool nor a coward. He tore off his coat and looked at his arm, then he dragged his cousin out of the room, down the stairs and out of the fatal house. Propping him up against a sturdy pine and covering him with all available warm clothing, he sped like wind to the nearest house. But neither the swift, keen self-reproaches of Bovey, nor the skill of the best physician to be found in the town, nor the pure, fresh pine-scented air, nor the yearning perchance of a dead yet present mother could prevail. The young life went out in delirium and in agony, but “thank God,” thought Bovey, “in complete unconsciousness.”

When he set about removing his tent and other camping apparatus some time later, he was suddenly struck with the appearance of the tree against which poor Clarges had been propped. He looked again and again. “I must be dreaming,” said the Hon. Bovyne. “That tree–oh! its impossible–nevertheless, that tree has its counterpart in the one opposite it, and both have extraordinary branches! They bend upward, making a kind of–of–what was it Arthur saw in those imaginary trees of his only–_yesterday_–my God–it is true–a kind of lyre shape! There it is, and the more I look at it the clearer it grows, and to think he has _died_ there–!! And beneath there he is buried, and the raftsmen will pass within a few hundred yards of him where he lies, and will sing the same strain that so fascinated him, but he will not hear it, and learn it and bring it back for Lady Violet, the loveliest woman in England! For he has gone down into the eternal shadow that no man ever penetrates.”

The Prisoner Dubois.

Miss Cecilia Maxwell was the only child of Sir Robert Maxwell, K. C. M. G., member of the Cabinet, chief orator of the Liberal party, and understudy for the part of Premier, who, although a Scotchman by birth, was a typical Canadian–free, unaffected, honest and sincere. His bushy iron-gray hair, his keen gray eyes, his healthy florid color, and the well-trimmed black moustache, which gave his face an unusually youthful appearance for a man of his age, went with a fine stalwart physique and a general bodily conformation apparently in keeping with the ideas of early rising, cold ablutions and breakfasts of oatmeal porridge that the ingenuous mind is apt to associate with Scotch descent and bringing-up. His daughter was a very beautiful girl. Born in the shadow of the pines, she had been educated successively in Edinburgh, Brussels and Munich, had been presented at Court, been through two London seasons, spent half of one winter in South America, another in Bermuda, had been ogled by lords, worshipped by artists, and loved by everybody.

Once more in Canada, she took her place in the limited yet exacting political circles of the Capital, of Toronto, and of distant Winnipeg. Life was full of duties, and she shirked none, though on days when they were put away earlier than usual she would fall to musing of the country place down the river she had not seen for years, with the beautiful woods, and the simple, contented French, and the evenings on the water.

“That great, lonely river,” she thought on one occasion, looking idly out of her window. “What other river in the world is like it?– and the tiny French villages with the red roofs and doors, and the sparkling spires and the queer people. Delle Lisbeth, and _veuve_ Macleod, and Pierre–poor Pierre. I have never forgotten Pierre, with his solemn eyes and beautiful brown hair. And how he knew the flowers in the wood, and what were those songs he used to sing?” And Cecilia sang a couple of verses of:

“Un Canadian errant,
Banni de ses foyers.”

When Sir Robert entered later he found her listless and preoccupied. “You mustn’t look like that to-night,” he said. “Don’t forget that this is your first important dinner-party: three French members and their wives, and La Colombiere, the new Minister of Finance, to whom you must be as charming as possible. This North-West business is quickening as fast as it can. The Metis are really up, there’s no doubt about it.”

“In rebellion?” asked Cecilia breathlessly. There was an added interest in life directly to the imaginative girl.

“Ay,” said her father, “there’s a rascal at the bottom of it we’ve been after for a long time; but now, run away and look bright at dinner, like a good girl.”

The small clique of Frenchmen and their wives could not but have been charmed with their reception that evening. The dinner was good, and not too heavy nor long, the wines excellent (for Sir Robert did not as yet favor the “Scott” Act), and the suavity of his manner combined with the appearance and grace of his daughter, in a delicate dress of primrose and brown, with amber in her beautiful golden plaits and round her whitest neck, left nothing to be desired. And yet on that very first night in her capacity as hostess, Cecilia found she had to learn to play a part, the part of woman, which all women who have just left off being girls find so hard to play at first. For naturally the report of the Metis revolt had spread. Sir Robert did a brave thing. He referred to it directly they were seated, and then everybody felt at ease. Now it could be talked about if anybody chose–and Cecilia did so choose.

“Who is this young Frenchman,” she asked of La Colombiere, “that is identified with this new rising? I have been away, and am ignorant of it all.”

“His name is Dubois–Pierre Dubois,” returned La Colombiere with a gleaming smile. “He calls himself the representative of the French-Canadian party. Bah! such men!” But Cecilia’s heart had given a mighty leap and then stopped, she almost thought, for ever.

“Pierre–Pierre Dubois?” she reiterated in her surprise. Her fan of yellow feathers dropped from her lap, and her face showed extraordinary interest for a moment.

“You know him M’lle.?” said La Colombiere, returning her the fan. For an instant she was the centre of attention. Then with a flutter of the yellow feathers that subjugated the four impressionable Frenchmen completely, she resumed her usual manner.

“I know the name, certainly. There was somebody of that name living at Port Joli where we go in the Summer you know.”

“Oh!” said Laflamme carelessly, a little man with a bald head and a diplomatist’s white moustache, “Dubois is not a new offender. He has been recognized as an agitator for three or four years. He has the eyes of the ox and the wavy hair of the sculptor. He is to be admired– _vraiment_–and has the gift of speech.”

When the dinner was over Cecilia played for them in the drawing-room. Somehow or other, she wandered into the tender yet buoyant melody of the _chanson_ she had hummed earlier in the day.

“Un Canadien errant,
Banni de ses foyers.”

“Hum-hum,” trolled little Laflamme. “So you know our songs? _Ca va bien_!”

“That was taught me” said Cecilia, “once down the river at Port Joli.” But she did not say who had taught her. Later on when the guests were gone and Sir Robert was preparing to go back to the office, his daughter said very quietly.

“Papa do you remember that young man at Port Joli who was staying with the cure for his health, the one who was so kind and showed me so many things, the woods, you know and the water, and who talked so beautifully?”

“I remember the one you mean, I think, but not his name. Why, dear child?”

“His name was Dubois,” returned Cecilia. “Pierre Dubois!”

“Dubois? Are you sure? That is very singular” said her father. “And he talked beautifully you say? It must be _this_ one.”

“That is what I think” said Cecilia, seeing her father to the door.

Then ensued a period of hard work for Cecilia. She read the papers assiduously, going up every day to the Parliamentary reading-rooms for that purpose that she might lose no aspect of the affair. She followed every detail of the rebellion, even possessing herself of many of her father’s papers bearing on the matter. Those details are well known; how the whisper ran through our peaceful land, breathing of war and battle and blood-shed; how our gallant men marched to the front in as superb a faith and as perfect a manhood as ever troops have shown in this country or the Old; how some fell by the way, and how others were reserved to be clasped again to the bosoms of wife and mother and how some met with the finest fate of all, or at least the most fitting fate for a true soldier–death on the battle-field. For a month the country was in a delirium. Then joy-bells rang, and bonfires blazed, and hands were struck in other hands for very delight that the cause of all the mischief, the rebel chief, the traitor Dubois was taken. Cecilia alone sat in her room in horror.

“What will they do with the prisoner Dubois?” she said with a vehemence that dismayed Sir Robert.

“The prisoner Dubois? Why, they will hang him of course. He has caused too much blood to be shed not to have to give some of his own.” Cecilia writhed as if in extreme pain. Her beauty, her grace, her youth all seemed to leave her in a moment, and she stood faded and old before her father.

“Oh, they will not do that! Imprison him or send him away–anything, anything save that! See, they do not know him–poor Pierre, so kind, so good–they do not know him as I knew him. Father, he could not hurt a thing–he would step aside from the smallest living thing in the path when we walked together that summer, and he helped everybody that wanted help, there was nothing he could not do. And he loves his country–at least he did so then. There is that song, _’O mon cher Canada_,’ he used to sing, and he told me of the future of his country, and how he had prayed to be allowed to aid it and push it forward. And he does not hate the English, only how can he help loving the French more when he is one of them, and has good French blood in his veins–better than many of the so-called English! And he was born to be a leader and to bring men away from their home into battle and make war for them, and where in that does he differ from other heroes we are taught to love and admire? If you had ever heard him talk, and had seen the people all gathered round him when he spoke of all these things–as for his church and the Virgin, and the priests, it would be well if you and all of us thought as much about our religion, and loved and revered it as he did his!”

Cecilia broke down into incoherent sobs. Sir Robert sat aghast at this startling confession. No need to tell him that it was prompted by love.

“But what if he be insane, my dear?” he asked very quietly.

“Then it is still bad–it is worse,” said Cecilia. “Will hanging an insane man bring back the others that are slain? Will it make foul fair and clean still cleaner? Will it bring peace and friendliness, and right feeling, or will it bring a fiercer fire and a sharper sword than our country has yet seen–a hand-to-hand fight between rival races, a civil war based on national distinction!”

“What would you do?” said her father, walking up and down the room. “What can I or anybody do? It is common law and common justice; if he be found guilty he must swing for it. Personal intercession–”

“Might save him!” said the girl.

“Must not be thought of!” said her father.

“You mean, _you_ may not think of it. But others may–_I_ may. I am a woman, free and untrammelled by either party or personal considerations of any kind. Father, let _me_ try!”

“Cecilia, it is madness to take such a thing upon yourself. How is it possible? What are your plans?”

“I do not know. I have not thought. All is in a haze through which I see that vision of the hangman and the rope Father, let me try!”

Sir Robert thought for a moment, then he said: “Very well, my dear, you shall try, on one condition; that first of all you have an interview with Dubois himself. In fact, for your purpose it is absolutely necessary that you should see him, in order to identify him with the other Dubois you used to know. After that interview, if you still persist in your course, I promise–rash as it certainly seems–to help you. Now hold yourself in readiness to start for the North-West at a moment’s notice. I have private information that tells me Dubois will be hung and any intervention on your part or that of anybody else must be set on foot immediately, do you see?”

A few days afterwards Cecilia, unveiled, and dressed in an irreproachable walking costume of gray, was taken to the gloomy prison outside the little northern town of —-, where the prisoner Dubois was confined. There was a bit of tricolor in her hat and her cheeks were very pale–As the beautiful daughter of Sir Robert Maxwell her way was sufficiently paved with politeness as she presented her private order to see the prisoner. Her heart was beating tumultuously and the blood surged round her temples. The turnkey showed her into a small whitewashed room, opposite the cell in which Dubois spent his time and informed her that in compliance with strict orders he would have to be present during the interview, to which Cecilia bent her head in assent; she could not have spoken just then. “It is a strange thing that I am doing,” she thought, “but I shall see Pierre–poor Pierre.” Approaching footsteps were soon heard and the prisoner Dubois entered, escorted by two warders. He started when he saw his visitor, and–stared.

“Mademoiselle,–” he said, evidently trying to recall her name and failing.

“Cecile,” she said, eagerly, “Ma’amselle Cecile you always called me, and I liked it so much better than Cecilia. I think I like it still– Pierre–I–.”

The prisoner Dubois frowned.

“If Mdme. Dubois had ears through these walls, you had not called me ‘Pierre.’ But–” laying his hand on his heart and bowing low, “Pierre himself is flattered–_oui, mademoiselle_–by your attention– _oui, vraiment_–and he is rejoiced to know that his image is still cherished in that heart so fair, so _Anglaise_, so pure, so good. _Belle-enfant, Je n’ai pas oublie nos amours_!”

The three men in the room suppressed a smile. Dubois stood with his head thrown back, his arms folded and his soft dark eyes fixed on Cecilia. She was still standing, indeed there was no chair in the room, and her eyes were fixed on him as his upon herself. It was Pierre, and yet not her Pierre. Rather an exaggerated growth–of the man she had once known. The same soft brown hair, only thicker and rougher, one drooping wave looking tangled and unkempt–the dreamy eyes with the latent sneer in them dreamier than ever and yet the sneer more visible, the thin sensitive nose thinner, the satisfied mouth more satisfied and conscious, the weak chin fatally weaker. And he was married, too! Mdme. Dubois–that must be his wife! How strange it was! Cecilia’s brain was in a frightful state of doubt and fever and hesitation. It was necessary for her to explain her presence there, however, for she could not but resent the opening speech of the prisoner Dubois. She was growing very tired of standing, moreover, but she would have died rather than have demanded a chair. At length the turnkey observed her fatigue and sent one of the warders for a chair.

“Fetch two,” interposed Dubois, with a flourish of his hand. “I myself shall sit down.” When the man returned, bringing only one chair on the plea that he could not find another, Cecilia, whose nerve was returning, offered it to Dubois. He accepted it calmly and sat down upon it, waiting to hear what she had to say. At this signal instance of arch selfishness Cecilia felt her heart tighten and her temples grow cold as if fillets of fire had been exchanged for ribbons of snow.

“Sir,” she began, “I am sorry to find you here.” Dubois smiled the smile of a great man who listens with condescension to what an inferior has to say. “I am glad you have not forgotten me, because all the time I was away, and it has been a long time, I never–it is quite true–forgot you–I mean (for Dubois smiled again) I never forgot that summer you spent near us at Port Joli, and the things you talked about, about your future. When I came home I found you had gone so much further than I know you ever intended to, and have been the cause of so much trouble, and the death of brave men, and I was very sorry.” Cecilia leant on the bare table before her, and felt that every moment as it passed brought with it a cooling of the once passionate feeling she had entertained for the Dubois of her childhood. But if the lover were gone, there remained the man, husband and father, maybe the leader, the orator, the martyr, the dear human being.

“So I thought that if it were possible at all, some step should be taken to–to prevent the law from taking its course–its final course perhaps.” Cecilia felt her throat tighten as she spoke. “You have plenty of friends–you must have–all the French will help and many, many English, for it is no cause to die for, it is no cause at all! There should never have been bloodshed on either side!”

Dubois uncrossed his long legs at last and said in his loftiest tone:

“_Chere enfant_, the French will not let me die. I–I myself–Pierre Dubois–allowed to hang by the neck until I am dead! That will never happen. _Voyez-vous donc cherie_, I am their King, their prophet, their anointed, their fat priests acknowledge me, their women adore me!”

Cecilia shrunk together as she listened. She had sought and she had not found, she had expected and it had been denied her. At this moment, the turnkey signified that time was up. She felt her heart burning in an agony of undefined grief and disappointment in which was also mingled the relief of resignation. The prisoner Dubois bowed low with his hand on his heart and then pressing her own hand lingeringly, gave her a tenderly insinuating glance. As she turned away she heard him exchange a laugh and a jest with one of the wardens, and her cheeks flamed with indignant anger. “Were he a good or suffering man as I dreamed he was, I would have bent low and kissed his hand; as it was, I am sorry I let him take mine.”

She was calm when she reached her carriage in which sat her father waiting. He divined at once that his plan had been successful. “You look tired, my dear,” was all he said.

“Yes, I have been standing for some time,” Cecilia returned in a peculiar voice.

“Could they not find you a chair in the establishment?”

“They found one,” she said grimly, “and that was appropriated by the prisoner Dubois.”

“The prisoner Dubois!” thought Sir Robert. “It is well. We shall hear no more of Pierre.”

Two days before Christmas the prisoner Dubois underwent the extreme penalty of the law. Cecilia sat in her room all that day. She never quite made up her mind as to whether Pierre had been a lunatic or a fanatic, a martyr or a fiend, an inspired criminal or a perverted enthusiast. Perhaps he was a mixture of all.

How the Mr. Foxleys Came, Stayed and Never Went Away.

CHAPTER I.

There flows in Western Canada, by which I mean a region east of the Saskatchewan and west of the Thousand Islands, a singular and beautiful stream. It is beautiful because it is narrow, undulating and shallow, because it has graceful curves and rounded bends, because its banks are willow-clad and its bed boulder-strewn, because it flows along between happy farms and neat white villages, because at one spot, it boasts a picturesque and ruined mill and a moss-covered bridge and because–chiefly because–it is above all things–placid. The mind familiar with our Canadian streams will easily understand then, that if these be its attributes of beauty, they also attest to its claim of singularity. For the Canadian river is seldom placid, but oftener seething and steaming and foaming; or else deep and dark and dangerous with many a mighty gorge and tumbling cascade, wide and lonely and monotonous for the most part; pine hung down to the very edge, black and lowering, or displaying waving wisps of dry gray foliage that only resembles human hair. What a contrast, then, does this cherished river I speak of, afford! No local Laureate has as yet written it up, though picnic parties used to gather themselves together on its banks and in its well-wooded shades, defiling everything they touched from bark to beach, leaving bits of bread here, dead pie there, buttering the leaves, peppering the grass, salting the stones, and scattering greasy crumpled paper–PAPER–PAPER–everywhere. That is what picnic parties do all over the world, and with such gusto all of them, even the Sunday-schools, Dorcases, W. C. T. U’s. and all the rest of them, that I really think it must be intended as a serious part of the Picnicker’s Ritual and forms very likely a peace-offering or sacrifice of propitiation towards some unknown God. I don’t think the Druids left paper about underneath their oaks. But presumably they left worse. Well, if as yet, this river I love so well has not been immortalized in fiction, travels or verse, it has however attracted the attention of several gifted members of the Royal Academy–Royal Canadian of course, who have from time to time