Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

second day out, he rode ahead of the On the day when his leave of absence men into Plumb's Wood.

expired, Richard found himself in that There was no one in the cottage; but worldliest of all worldly bodies-2 he soon discovered the boat drawn up nominating convention-Colonel Seathe shore of a little cove, and near it a bray against Chinny, for the legislature, group of idlers, sitting under the trees. and the Colonel triumphant. The particular object that made Rich- Chinny came out of the convention ard start was a red shawl.

raving. The time had now arrived for “Just as sure as the world,” said he, him to strike; and he publicly deputting up his glass," that is Mary Sea- nounced the Colonel as a gambler and bray, and I must face the music; for murderer. they are getting into the boat. Either Many of the delegates were old setshe did not go to Chicago," he contin- tlers, of whom Chinny had“ taken toll," ued, " or she must have come back here in former years, for which they owed in a balloon, without stopping at New him a grudge; and before he could reBolton. I wonder if my friend, the peat the accusations, five or six great felDoctor, has not been giving me all his lows gathered about, and, putting Chinfatherly advice, lately, for his own par- ny astride an oak-rail, they rode him ticular benefit. I see now why he likes to the beach, and gave him a “ducking" Plumb's Lake."

in the lake. The boat soon landed, and the red There was much loud talk and a great shawl blazed and danced before Rich- deal of fist-shaking between Duke and ard's eyes so, that he could not keep Old Bob, leaving the old man in possesthem from getting moist, as Mary Sea- sion of the field, however, because he bray walked directly up to him—and could quote the Scripture, and Duke never before so fascinating.

couldn't. “ Dang it,” said Plumb, wiping his As Chinny threat to “ take the eyes, as he looked at the happy lovers, law" of his assailant, Colonel Seabray “I believe I'd like to whip Chinny." set a back-fire on him, by engaging

Mary's presence at Plumb's Lake was Richard to commence an action against briefly explained. Miss Plumb had Chinny for slander. This resulted in driven over to New Bolton for her, a heavy judgment for damages, which arriving there after dark; and they rode stripped him of his New Bolton propback the same evening to a friend's erty. house. Mary told no one where she The Colonel was triumphantly elected was going, as she thought it best to let that fall; and on the succeeding New people think that she had gone to Year's Day there was a wedding at his Chicago; and they did not arrive at house, then a ride across the prairie, Plumb's until Richard had started for and another wedding at Plumb's, celeWright's.

brated with as great a variety of genAt the Doctor's suggestion, nothing uine fun as could be crowded into the had been said or written to any one in cottage. In fact, Plumb's laugh was so New Bolton about Mary's presence, and uproarious, that it had to be turned out Richard was as much surprised as he of doors occasionally for want of room. was delighted to find her there. They From this time on, the shining angel walked, and talked, and gathered wild- of Happiness sat in Richard's house ; flowers together, and told the old story and never came the track of wolf to his -always fresh and new to young hearts. door.

The Doctor, in the plenitude of his Early in the spring following his marpower, gave Richard a furlough for riage, he was visited by Plumb, who two weeks, during which time he and gave him a quit-claim deed of the tract Mary built more air-castles than would at the outlet of the lake. He was so cover the prairie from Plumb's to New mysterious about it, that Richard tried Bolton.

to find out why he gave him the deed ;

a

but he never learned. It remained one taining four hard-boiled eggs, covered of those secret things for his mind to with fly-specks; some candy; crackers; bother itself with, at listless intervals, sour beer; apple-pies, ornamented like like an unbroken marrow-bone in a the eggs; a bottle of pepper-sauce, as bear's cage, which is guawed and pawed strong as John Brown's soul; and the when there is nothing else to gnaw. grim relic of a late engineer of a wheel

Richard deeded it to Mary and Mrs. barrow, smoking a black pipe, Blodgett, who laid out a town on it,

In widowy meditation, fancy free. while the Doctor and Richard ordered a new survey made of Globe City, by an A grist-mill was the next accession. engineer with geological tendencies. This was run by steam, which so con

He reported : “ Two feet of water, founded and overwhelmed the windthree inches of pollywogs, four inches mill, that it committed suicide, one of clear mud-turtle, then grass-roots, stormy night, and was discovered, next and bottomless mud."

morning, hanging lifeless, and head This mud was found to be peat of downward, from the top of the tank. the finest quality, wbich could be made Dwelling-houses soon began to gather into fuel for locomotives. The only about the mill; and at last there was difficulty seemed to be, that it took ten a public square and a court-house. pounds of coal to heat up and ignite Globe City is now a county-seat, and one pound of peat. The engineer re- flourishing; an honor to its founders, ported that some of the water could be although, according to the original map pressed out of the peat by a machine; hanging in the register's office, the but as it would cost about a dollar a limits of the old city contain no strucpound to do it, that scheme was aban- ture but the water-tank aforesaid. doned, and attention turned to Plumb's Old Bob wrestled with some pretty Lake, where population began to in- tough sinners, and threw them; but he

took one gird that was too much for Emigrant-wagons were arriving and him. He married a woman who proved, emptying out great quantities of ineffi- on close acquaintance, to be an Episcocient dogs, mixed up with greater quan- palian; and ever after that he led a tities of white-headed children, from melancholy life, until he took a gird at many states and kingdoms-the whitest Death, and was thrown in his tracks. head of all being Old Bob's.

Poor old boy! He had a large funeral After he and other founders had set- --that's one consolation. tled there, the great father of all mod- Chinny lives at Turkey Bend-poor, ern founders himself came in, with a unmarried, and unhappy. He receives servant along, to ring his bell, while a season-pass, every year, over the railhe startled, with his whistle, a silence way, signed by Blodgett, president, which had brooded there since crea- and countersigned by French, attorney. tion.

The pass is charged to the coal-account; The laying of the rails galvanized because, as the Doctor says, it is a kindGlobe City into existence again. It ness which heaps coals of fire on the began its new life with a water-tank, head of an enemy, and proves, also, that and a wind-mill to do the pumping, this corporation has a soul—lawyers, located on the hill where Chinny and legislators, and stockjobbers to the conthe Doctor had their encounter,

trary notwithstanding. The wind-mill took a personal inter- Colonel Seabray sleeps in the beauest in the place, and worked so dili- tiful cemetery on Plumb's Lake, under gently, vight and day, that a platform a very large monument, with a brief was soon added to the city, and then a epitaph, commemorating his virtues ; depot.

wherein it is not written that he was The next thing was a “saloon," con- one of The Founders of Globe City.

crease.

A STUDY OF STILL - LIFE-PARIS.

The traveller who, after painful climb- des Italiens, where dandies and petits ing, has reached the summit of a hill, crevés lounge before cafés from morning often forgets to enjoy the wide prospect till night, getting shot, occasionally, at whose anticipation had allured him Tortoni's, when a coup d'état comes that thither. After one hasty glance over way. And the Faubourg St. Germain, the far-reaching plains, and the valleys with its slim relics of a vanishing arisundulating to the distant horizon, he tocracy, and its intrusion of a new, throws himself upon the ground, upon whose rank is guaranteed by no surer just such grass and mosses as might be warrant than bits of red ribbon, indifound in the orchard by his father's cating the Legion of Honor, and the door, and is presently absorbed in con- favors of the Bonaparte dynasty. And templation of ants hurrying back and the Faubourg St. Antoine, with its forth to populous hillocks, of beetles dreadful capacity for forty-eight hours rolling huge balls of ciay, of ladybugs fighting on a stretch, as at the time swinging on long timothy-blades, and when the bell of St. Germain Auxerrois of bees humming in the fragrant clover, tolled the signal for the Massacre of St. -of all the infinitesimal, murmuring, Bartholomew; or, later, when the last multitudinous life, which, to the atten- Bourbon was invited to retire from the tive eye and ear, dilates to roaring di- palace of his ancestors. And there is mensions.

the Quarter of the Batignolles, where So the traveller to a great city, though fiery-tongued artisans congregate for the he have resolved to study the whole spread of terrible Socialistic ideas, and with as much desperate energy as he whence issue subscriptions for statues once may have expended in mastering to Voltaire and other Iconoclasts. And “Rollin's History,” often ends by drift- the Place du Trône, also thronged by ing into some side-eddy, drifting and Baron Haussmann's laborers, but of a lodging there, and taking all his ob- quieter species, and innocent of Socialservations from an area of life about as ism or Voltaire—who work patiently big as a nutshell. Happy if he learn to three hundred and sixty-three days in comprehend that; for however small the the year, and are satisfied with the comsurface, the depth is infinite, and reaches pensation of Merry-Andrew shows on to the very roots that sustain the whole Easter Sunday and a special supply of big city itself.

fireworks at the Emperor's fête. But In Paris is no lack of side-eddies to above all, older than all, dearer than bcar away the wandering observer. all, more characteristic than all, there is There is English Paris of the Rue Rivoli the Latin Quarter, with the Pantheon and St. Honoré, where English dow- and the Sorbonne, with the Odeon and agers, in impossible bonnets, jostle the the Luxembourg, with the Ecole de dainty Parisian dames, and meek, many- Droit and the Ecole de Médecine, with daughtered English families, meander its charmingly narrow, tortuous streets on daily constitutionals. There is Amer- and its one rakish-looking boulevard, ican Paris of the Grand Hotel, the Arc with its students and grisettes, its cheap de Triomphe, and the Boulevard Male- restaurants and second-hand bookstalls, sherbes, where dashing American belles its libraries and its reading-rooms, its prepare for foreign conquests, and light- flavor of youth and remoteness and bearded Westerners vote the Emperor independence, and all its gay, studious, an infernal humbug (and pour cause). insouciant existence. In the heart of the There is Parisian Paris of the Boulevard Latin Quarter, half-way between the Louvre and the Luxembourg, between appropriate intervals a small current of the Institute and the École de Médecine, modern volumes filters into the library, lies a little street, that, in itself, is an monographs written by newly-elected epitome of the entire region. It is the professors, upon whose theories, whoso Passage du Commerce, that runs from would not be plucked, must absolutely the Rue de l'École to the Rue St. André take care to post himself.

There are des Arts, parallel to the Ancienne Comé- newspapers also, for the occasional redie, like a Mississippi cut-off, and in- laxation of studious brains. But, after vested with much the same charm as all, novelty is never very prominent, and renders those satellites of the big river never succeeds in overpowering the genso delicious; and the main institution eral air of well-seasoned age proper to of the Passage is a famous Salon de the establishment. Lecture, the Ancienne Maison Blosse, A library that is not old, is not worth well known to several generations of a Confederate bond. In the Rue Richestudents. Here they cram hopefully for lieu has just been built a gorgeous exthe examinations; hither they retreat tension of the Bibliothèque Impériale, dolefully when they have been plucked, all spick and span new, with lofty skyto prepare afresh for the ordeal. Here lights, and numbered desks, and much they dream day-dreams, in which visions pink and blue and gilding, and the of past balls and future internats, of ubiquitous "In regnum Napoleonis III. coveted microscopes, and actual pawn- constructu," etc., posted in conspicuous brokers' tickets, visions of fame and love letters. The place is as handsome and inand life, mingle in pleasant confusion, tolerable as a new beaver, as unvitalized and dance airily over the ink-stained as a transplanted clothes-pole, as devoid tables, before eyes that are supposed to of sanctity as a newly-created religion. be absorbed upon expositions of the It will not be fit to go into for about a Droit des Gens, or the knottiest prob- century. But this dear, dark old Maison lems of pneumonia.

Blosse, with its open fireplaces for tickTwo long, low rooms, and a smaller ling the cold in winter, and its unintermediate for newspapers--all lined shaded windows through which the sun with old books, blackened by time streams unmercifully in summer, its and much service. Here are numerous assortment of all the books you have shelves, occupied by Sirey's Jurispru- ever read, and absence of all those you dence-a perfectly exhaustive work, to ever want to read, its odd, big-nosed judge by its mass, and calculated to

garçon, fifteen hundred times as accommake all lesser treatises blush at their modating and efficient as the liveried own insignificance. Above, the Code officials in the other place,-why, for Napoléon perpetuates the glory of its comfort and cosiness, and ease and all-meddling creator, while opposite, in dreamy delight, the Bibliothèque Imserene indifference to parvenue legisla- périale cannot hold a candle to the tion, the Pandects of Justinian hold Maison Blosse, Passage du Commerce. their own

a dozen centuries, The habitués of the Maison are as much Bound volumes of the Journal des Tri- at home there as if in their own libraries, bunaux fraternize in professional cour- -supposing that those prospective intesy with the Archives de Médecine. stitutions were already in existence. Bouillaud's treatises continue to pro- They are at liberty to ransack all the claim the lancet as the only salvation shelves; to leave their note-books in all of man, with all the heroic truculence the cupboards; to smoke up-stairs in distinguishing the aged professor at a room reserved for the purpose; to talk, La Charité. There are books that have though in subdued voices; to fall asleep created awful fame for their authors, the on the baize-tables; to pull off their writings of Dessault and Dupuytren, of coats and sit in their shirt-sleeves; to Louis and Broussais and Magendie, and go and come when they choose; to make the immortal Anatomie of Bichat. At appointments and receive letters; to carry on, in short, the principal busi- after the long day's worry of the pension ness of their lives at this favorite head- was over, now so faded and weak that quarters. They live here from eight in they can scarcely sustain the work of the morning till eleven at night, with the one priceless day; a face to which occasional intermissions. But there is a childbood and youth seem always to marked difference in the students who have been unfamiliar, and which will come on week-days, and those reserved never ripen into the serenity of age; for for Sundays only. From Monday to he will die, the poor seeker, at the very Saturday the salon is thronged by the moment that his feet seem to touch the well-to-do youth, possessed of reliable rainbow of promise. The will-o'-thegovernors at home in the provinces, who wisp that now cheers and lures on his send up yearly allowances of three thou- desperate hope is the flickering flame sand francs, and ask no questions, so of his own life, about to be extinlong as the Interne Concours and the guished. It seems to advance towards examinations are safely pulled through. heaven, because it is escaping from On Sundays these happy fellows hie earth; it leads the way boldly towards them to the Bois de Boulogne or other a delicious mirage, formed by exhalaless wholesome places of amusement, tions rising from an open grave. Their seats are occupied by their poorer Another among these weekly visitors comrades, who have more at stake in is a limp, elderly, unshaven man, with their work, and therefore work harder; cheeks flabby and hairy like an overand by certain others who only come ripe gooseberry, with helpless mouth on Sundays. These last probably work and chin supported by a chaotic crarat, all the week at some distasteful em- and coat and beaver in the last spasms ployment; they are school-ushers, book- of shabby gentility. This old gentlekeepers, who have sought a humble sit- man has outlived all feverish anxieuation in which to keep body and soul ty, for he has long ago given up the attogether, while engaged in scraping up tempt to succeed in any thing. Hence, some divine morsels of knowledge; he is no longer tormented by the dreadand have found that the daily drudg- ful sense of hurry that pursues his youngery absorbs so much time as to defeat er companions. He calculates his leithe purpose for which it was under- sure, not from the time that lies before taken.

VOL. II.44

across

him, but from that which is behind, Hard it is when life leaves no margin and feels that he has more than enough beyond the dull task of getting a living! to accomplish the little nucleus of real -hard for these thirsty souls, continu- business that slips about loosely in the ally in the presence of books, which are folds of his skinny existence, like a as food and drink to them, and from shrivelled kernel in a shell. So he sits which remorseless labor and poverty and writes with a calm, disengaged air, shut them out! One day they have, holding himself bolt upright and a good one glimpse of Paradise, from week to way from the paper. And this graduweek. They come to the reading-room ally covers itself with characters like at eight in the morning; they seize their copper-plate, fine, precise, and graceful, books with famished eagerness, and of which each letter seems to disown never relax their grasp till the salon the limp fingers that formed it, and the closes at night. One of these Sunday soiled shirt-sleeve that menaced the first students I have especially noticed, he moments of its existence. To students is so absorbed, so forlorn, Tall, pale, like these, the Passage du Commerce and gaunt, with hollow chest, hollow has no other interest, —what do I say?checks, and unwholesome earthy com- Paris has no other boundary than that plexion; hair worn away prematurely belonging to the twelve square inches by the ceaseless plodding of an unsatis- of table before them. But the others, ficu brain; reddened eyes, betraying more at their case, have leisure to surmany hours uselessly stoien from sleep, vey the world out of doors, as it defiles

« IndietroContinua »