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OF THE ALPS,
Or, The New Fishing-Smack.
Sts LTi 3]lustra,- olio .
FREDERICK WARNED AND CO.
SBEDFORD STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
NEW YORK SCRIBNER, WELFORD, AND CO.
CAMDEN PRESS, LONDON, N.W.
THE PEASANTS OE THE ALPS. 1
ROBERT WILMOT 9
PASE-TOUT; OR, THE NEW FISHING-1MACK 39
GEORGE HART 108
DAVID THE TRAPPER 127
* i. -u
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
THE long, narrow district of Switzerland called the
Valais is almost entirely surrounded by high moun-
tains, which separate it from Italy, Savoy, and the
neighboring canton of Berne.
At the foot of one of the lofty Alps, which, from
its forked appearance, is called Mount Furca, rises
the river Rhone, which, increased by many a moun-
tain stream formed by the melting of the snow,
winds its rapid way through this district until it
adds its waters to the beautiful lake of Geneva.
Parts of this country are warm and fruitful; but
some of the villages are placed on such rugged spots
near the Alps, and those valleys or plains of ice
called the glaciers,-that we should be tempted to
think them more fit for the habitations of goats than
of men, if we did not find that mountaineers gain,
by practice, almost as much agility as goats them-
selves. This mountain region seems at the same
time to feel the effects of summer and winter: with
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
one hand, the traveller may grasp snow, with the
other, beautiful flowers. There is sometimes danger
in spring, when the heat of the sun loosens from the
sides of the mountains immense masses of snow,
called avalanches, which roll down with a noise like
thunder, occasionally overwhelming travellers and
Most of the inhabitants of the Valais are shep-
herds. In the spring, they bring their flocks and
cattle from their winter quarters in the valleys to
the first mountain slope from which the snow is
melted; and afterwards ascend higher, as more grass
is exposed to view, just putting up a shed to shelter
themselves on each resting-place. They live a quiet
life with their cows and their sheep. The cows are
adorned with bells; and in imitation of the jingling
of these bells a favourite Swiss tune has been com-
posed, called the Ranz des vaches (the wanderings
of the cows). One of the cows takes the' lead of
the rest and bears a larger bell, an honour of which
she is said to be proud, but this may be a shepherd's
In a village perched among these rocky moun-
tains, lived a widow with her three children. Her
husband had been killed in the dangerous pursuit of
the chamois,-the antelope of Switzerland. His
son, young Walter, wished at an early age to be a
hunter also, but he yielded to his mother's earnest
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
desire that he should remain with her and be a
The sun was just risen, and Walter dressed, not
in shepherd-trim, but in his holiday suit, was eating
his hasty breakfast; at his feet, looking impatient
for the signal to depart, lay Alp, an Alpine dog
of the famous St. Bernard kind. Walter's mother
looked fondly at the dog, as she gave him his food;
" Alp," said she, I would scarcely trust my boy so
far, if you went not with him."
There was to be a large fair this day at the town
of Sion, the chief place of the district; and to this
fair Walter was going, charged with the commissions
of the family.
It was seldom that any traders visited this secluded
village; for though the Valais is the high-road from
Switzerland into Italy, no carriage, no horseman
even, could reach a spot which can only be gained
by ascending steep steps cut in the rock, and by
crossing narrow bridges over the torrents.
Sometimes a poor Italian, wandering on foot from
Piedmont with his little store of barometers and
images, lodged for a night with the hospitable vil-
lagers, or some adventurous pedlar worked his way
up with his pack of useful articles for sale; but, in
general, all purchases were deferred till the time of
this fair. The charge of the cows and sheep was
given over to Gaston, Walter's younger brother,
4 THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
who in his turn felt pleased and important as he
ascended the mountain with his troop. Mabel, the
sister, brought the little bag that contained the money
which she had gained by knitting, and confided it to
her brother, with whispers which were for his ear
alone. Walter was indeed going on an important
errand. He carried wool, goat-skins, horn, cheeses,
and knitted stockings, some of which last were his
own work; for he knitted while he tended his flock,
and during the long winter evenings. He was to
bring back many useful things, besides some more
doubtful articles, which were left to his judgment to
be bought, if not too dear." But he now, like his
dog, was impatient to proceed; so as soon as Mabel
had finished talking, he took the spiked pole which
mountaineers use in climbing, and set off on his
Mabel looked long and wistfully after her brother;
now she lost sight of him behind a rock, and now
she again distinguished his cheerful voice as he
hallooed to his dog Alp, and Alp returned the
"Mabel," said her mother at length, "the sun
shines low upon the hills."
"Oh, yes; I had forgotten! I must go and milk
my goats," cried Mabel, "I have much to do before
I carry Gaston his dinner on the hill side."
The labours of this day and of the next were over;
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS. 5
and the villagers came forth and sat before their
doors, or on their outside staircases, knitting and
chatting, watching the brilliant sun-beams, which
now, leaving the misty valley, tinged the snowy
summits of the mountains with various colours. The
day had been warm, but the evening air was frosty,
and the villagers soon retired and shut their windows;
while Mabel, expecting her brother's return, wrapped
her shawl round her head, and sang by the open
window one of her favourite songs:
Look, shepherds, look! Mount Rosa's height *
Glows with the sun's last beam of light!
The mountain air is keen and cold,
The lambs and kids require the fold;
It is too late the hills to roam,
Weary shepherds, hasten home!
Has any traveller lost his way?
Here let him stay till break of day:
We are not rich, yet gladly share
With all who come our simple fare.
'Tis far too late the hills to roam;
Welcome, traveller, to our home!
See, our fire is burning bright:
Seek shelter from the freezing night;
Mount Rosa. is the highest of the mountains between Swit-
zerland and Italy; it is so named from the number of its lofty
peaks, which, all rising from one centre, have been thought to
resemble the petals of a rose.
6 THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
Lest the stormy north-wind blow,
Bringing an avalanche of snow I
It is too late the hills to roam,-"
Mabel's song was suddenly checked, for she heard
the well-known voice of her brother, who in his
It is too late the hills to roam,
Weary shepherds, hasten home !"
She looked out eagerly,-two figures were ascending
the path. And Alp knows the stranger," said she
aloud, "for he seems quite fond of him, sometimes
licking his hand and gamboling round him. Mother,"
cried she, withdrawing from the window, "here is
Walter at last, and a stranger with him!"
The supper was already prepared: there were
curds, brimming bowls of milk, goats' milk, cheese,
bread, and fruit: and large pieces of pine-wood
blazed upon the hearth. The good dame was as
hospitable as Mabel's song seemed to promise, and
the stranger was kindly welcomed, and helped to
change his wet clothes before he sat down to the
evening meal; while little Gaston, glad that he was
allowed to be his brother's attendant, while he helped
him to put on clean shoes, kept talking about the
cows which had been left under his care for these
two long days. Nor was Alp forgotten,-the dog
seemed extremely happy, now casting his eyes on his
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS,
master, now on the stranger, till at last, overcome
with weariness, and having satisfied his hunger, he
fell asleep before the blazing hearth. When the
supper was ended, the stranger turned to the good
dame, and after thanking her for her kind hospitality,
he told his tale. He had been wandering on foot
through great part of Switzerland, and had that
morning ascended a steep mountain-path, where the
rhododendron bloomed on the verge of a precipice of
ice, and delighted with the beauty of the scene, he
sat down to sketch the prospect before him. While
thus employed, he did not observe the cloud behind
him, and a sudden snow-shower came with such
force as nearly to blind him, and soon covered all
traces of his path. Terrified and bewildered, he
endeavoured to find the right track, but missed his
footing, and fell into a deep hollow, where he lay
almost stupified, though not hurt, in that sleepy state
in which people are before they become frozen.
Meantime, Walter was sheltering himself from the
storm in a neighboring shed, when, to his surprise,
Alp roused himself, and rushed into the hollow; and
presently returning, made signs to his master that
he should follow. Walter obeyed, and soon disco-
vered the traveller lying amidst the snow: by the
help of his spiked pole, Walter quickly descended
into the chasm, and placed the almost helpless
stranger on the back of his great dog, Alp, who
8 THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
was remarkably strong. This good dog bore him
in safety to the shed, where Walter, by rubbing his
feet and hands with snow, and giving him a few
drops of the brandy which is always carried on these
expeditions, soon restored his strength; and he was
able when the storm ended to continue his journey
without the assistance of his four-footed friend. But
he had wandered far from the beaten road, and
gladly accepted Walter's invitation' to spend the
night in his mother's cottage. He was not so
strong as the young Swiss, and soon after supper
retired to rest.
"Well, Mabel," said Walter to his sister, when
their mother and the stranger had withdrawn,-
"have you lost all your curiosity? You have not
asked me yet, what I have brought in my basket
And yet I am sure I wish to know," said Mabel,
"only I have been thinking so much about this poor
traveller, and about you and Alp. Well, now let us
see the contents of the basket !"
"You will be disappointed, Mabel, I fear," said
her brother, as he produced his basket, and took out,
first, the yarn for knitting, then the bag of salt, then
the coarse cloth which was, to be made into shirts;
"these are the useful things, you know, which my
mother wanted: the only things I have bought for
you, Mabel, are this ribbon," and he showed her a
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
bright cherry-coloured ribbon to tie round her hat,
'"and this," said he, producing a slate, "which is
such a good thing to learn to write upon, because we
can always rub out the writing again, and so the
slate lasts for ever almost, and here is a piece of
"But what have you bought for yourself, Walter?"
"I have bought nothing for myself; here is my
bag of money safe."
But why ? Were there no pretty things at
Indeed there were, Mabel, a great many; but
some we could have no use for, and some I could not
have carried safely up our rocky paths. There were
plates and basins all painted with gold and bright
colours like flowers and birds, but they cost a great
deal of money, and break if you let them fall; so I
say that our clean wooden bowls and trenchers are
better for us: then there were pictures, and looking-
glasses, and necklaces,-oh, there were heaps of pretty
things! but there was only one thing, Mabel, that I
set my mind on, because I thought it might be a
comfort to my mother, and I had not quite money
enough for that, so I brought my purse back till I
could save more to add to it."
What was this thing ?" asked Mabel, impatiently.
"'A clock," answered her brother; "there was a
great number of clocks and watches at the fair, made
io THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
by the Swiss who live on the other side of the Lake
of Geneva, in what they call the 'Pays de Vaud.'"
I can almost always tell how the time goes on by
the sun," said Mabel; when the sun only tints the
highest point of the mountains, I know that it is
very early. I think I can tell almost every hour by
observing what part of the country the sun shines
on; and when it is just over our heads, and we have
scarcely any shadow, who does not know then that it
is twelve o'clock?"
Very true, Mabel, but there are some days when
the sun does not shine, and it never shines in the
"But we sleep in the night," said Mabel, "and
then we do not want to know the hour."
When Gaston had the fever," said Walter, "how
my mother used to watch for the first break of day I
I think it would be a comfort to her to have a clock,
though you, who are strong and sleep all the night,
may not want one."
Well," said Mabel, I had indeed forgotten the
time when my poor mother used to sit and watch by
Gaston's bed. I think she will like to have a clock;
so we will go on knitting, and I will make as good
cheese as I can, and perhaps by next fair we may
have saved enough."
"Thank you, Mabel," said Walter, "you are a
good little sister: now good night." The brother
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
and sister spread out their beds of straw, and soon
the whole family was fast asleep.
The next morning, Gaston conducted the stranger
through the mountain path as far as the more open
road by which he wished to continue his journey. It
was a pleasant duty to Gaston, for he liked to hear
the stranger speak of the countries in which he had
travelled,-of that beautiful land on the other side of
these rocky mountains,-fair, sunny Italy, the land
of the olive, the mulberry, and the vine:-the olive,
which yields oil,-the mulberry, which supplies the
silkworm with food,-and the vine, with its purple
clusters, which adorns so many cottages, and hangs
in beautiful wreaths from so many trees.
And Italy has its mountains, and strange moun-
tains too," thought Gaston, when the traveller told
him of Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna, from
which no snowy avalanches fall, but sometimes
burning cinders and streams of lava, which may be
likened to melted rock; for when it becomes cold it
is as hard as stone. "What a strange land!" said
Gaston; I would rather live among our mountains
of snow, than near to those mountains of fire !" But
when the stranger spoke of the beautiful orange-
trees, covered at the same time with fruit and
blossoms, and told him that ice was hoarded as a
valuable article in places built on purpose to secure
it, called ice-houses, and said that it was used as a
12 THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
luxury to cool the water which the inhabitants
drink, Gaston declared that he would see that
country some day, he would study the book of
geography which his brother had brought him from
Sion,-he would not always tend his flock on the
Farewell, my young friend," said the traveller,
"you must gain a little more age and a little more
wisdom, before you set out on your travels,-go
home and be industrious."
Besides the great object which Walter and his
sister had in view, and for which they were indus-
triously spinning and knitting, they were now busy
in trying to make a little garden for vegetables on a
slope of the rock near their dwelling. It was hard
work, for Walter was obliged to cut steps up the
ascent, and they were forced to bring the earth in
baskets from below, with which they formed a scanty
soil where they hoped to grow a little spinach and a
few lettuces. It was a great labour, but they were
When the crops appeared above ground, there
was another difficulty in guarding them from the
goats; cows are heavy animals, they do not leap
precipices; sheep, too, are timid, and easily re-
strained by fences; but goats are so adventurous,-
such bold leapers, that it required all the care which
Walter and Gaston could bestow, to keep them from
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
tasting the vegetables which promised to De more
juicy than their scanty herbage.
Months rolled on peacefully with our moun-
taineers; at last came another fair day at Sion, and
Walter thought that he and Mabel h'ad stored up a
sufficient quantity of goats' horns, cheese, and knitting
(in addition to their former savings) to enable them
to purchase the long-wished-for clock. The weather
was fine, and the mother allowed Mabel to accom-
pany her brother on the expedition,-Alp, as usual,
being of the party.
They set off at a very early hour of the morning
when a deep mist hung over the valley, and no
sound was heard as they stepped along the moun-
tain-path, but the occasional whistle of a marmot.
But soon the bright blue gentian anti the Alpine
ranunculus sparkled in the sun-beams, and, though
Mabel was impatient to reach her journey's end,
she could yet spare a glance for her favourite
Suddenly they caught a glimpse of a little bub-
bling stream, whose trickling they had long heard,
but which had been concealed from their sight by
rocks and groves of pine-trees. "That," said Walter,
"is the river Drance, a beautiful sparkling stream,
as you see it now in summer, but in spring often a
furious torrent, when it is swelled by the melting of
the snow. I can never look upon this river without
14 THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
thinking of the dreadful flood which took place in
1818, and of the brave men of our canton who
worked so hard to serve their country."
"How was it ? tell me," said Mabel.
"In the spring of that year," said Walter, "some
people were surprised to observe that the Drance
remained a small stream at a time when it is usually
much enlarged by the melting of the snows, and
there was a written account that once, a great many
years before, a dreadful flood had happened, when
the fall of some masses of ice from the mountains
had prevented this river from taking its usual
course. So, in April, 1818, some persons went up the
valley to try if they could find out the cause of the
Drance's remaining so shallow, and they discovered
that vast masses of snow and ice had fallen into
a narrow part of the valley, forming a dyke 600 feet
wide, and 400 feet high, which obstructed the course
of the river; and the waters, not finding a passage
out, formed a lake. A very clever man, M. Venetz,
was consulted, and he thought the best thing to be
done was to dig a passage through this wall of ice,
to be begun at 60 feet above the height at which
the water then was. He thought that this opening
might be cut through the mass before the water
should have risen 60 feet higher in the lake. Fifty
men worked at a time, then were relieved by
another fifty, and they laboured day and night with
THE PEASANTS OF TIE ALPS.
the greatest perseverance and courage in the midst
"Danger I from what ?" asked Mabel.
From the fresh masses of ice which were con-
tinually falling. The water of the lake rose rapidly,
and threatened every moment to burst the dyke, and
sweep all away in its course, and the men suffered
severely from cold and wet; but, at last, they com-
pleted their work, just before the water reached
them, and the torrent rushed through the opening
which they had made.
"But all was not so safe as they had hoped. The
torrent was increased after three or four days by the
melting of that mass of snow and ice through which
the passage had been cut, and the mighty stream
hurried on at the rate of twenty miles an hour,
destroying all before it. A large forest was not
strong enough to obstruct its course; large trees
were rooted up as if they had been osier wands, and
borne away like floating branches in its tide. Very
many cottages and half the town of Martigny were
swept away. The flood rushed on as far as the Lake
of Geneva, where it subsided."
How dreadful!" cried Mabel. Then, no good
was done, at last, by all that labour in making the
"Oh, yes; great good was done," said Walter;
"for it was thought if great part of the water had
16 THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
not run off through this passage, before the dyke
burst, the whole of the lower Valais would have
been deluged; as it was, few lives were lost, because
the inhabitants-had received notice to guard against
the danger, but many fields and vineyards were
quite destroyed by being covered with gravel and
stones. But do not let me talk to you now of
danger and distress; see what a beautiful prospect
is before us!"
Walter and his sister were now descending the
last height; they beheld the beautiful Rhone wind-
ing in the valley among orchards and vineyards
(where the ripe grapes hung from the poles much
as hops do in England), while the snowy Alps were
seen in the distant background, and beneath, the
town of Sion, with its rocks and castles. Mabel was
delighted; she thought that she had never seen so
beautiful a scene. The little patches of corn
among our mountains are scarcely yet ripe," said
she; here the harvest has been gathered in, and,
look, the vintage is begunI Have we passed from
summer to autumn in one day ?" It was indeed a
busy scene at Sion: here came waggons with barrels
for the wine, just pressed from the grapes; here
were peasants busily employed in cutting off the
ripe clusters; while on a meadow close to the town,
was held the fair. Mabel had never before seen so
many people collected together, nor such heaps of
THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
temptingg articles ; but she felt puzzled with the
crowd and the different languages she heard; for in
some parts of Switzerland German is spoken, in
others French; and there are many different dialects
or patois. She clung fearfully to her brother's arm.
One seller tried to tempt her with a splendid bell
for a favourite cow; another told her it would be
a pity to waste her money on a cow and to leave
herself unadorned, and showed her a fine hat.
Mabel admired both the bell and the hat, but said
in a low voice to Walter that she did not think
either her cow or herself needed the finery. It is
a good thing," whispered she, "that we made up
our minds as to what we most wished for, before
we came; do let us go to the clock-seller, that we
may not be tempted to buy anything which we
might repent of."
Walter had fortunately been recommended to an
honest watchmaker who understood his business; his
bargain was soon concluded, and his basket strapped
upon his back. With a light step, though with a
heavy load, did he ascend the mountain path. With
a pleased-and important look, did he place the clock
on the little shelf in his mother's cottage.
"Look, mother, it stands nicely there!" cried
Mabel," and long may it tick: it's only Walter who
knows how to set it ticking again if it leaves off.
The man who sold it told him how to manage it."
18 THE PEASANTS OF THE ALPS.
"It is a great ornament, indeed, to our cottage,"
said the mother; and what gives me the most
pleasure is knowing that it was gained by my
children's industry. Yes! I am a happy woman,
although I live in a poor cottage, under mountains
of ice; for my children love me, and help one
'-N ::-_w? -,i -.
-----44. ,. i
--. ,,..- o ,
"You always like to have your own way," said
Edmund Wilmot to his brother Robert, who was
piling up some stones to form a grotto in the garden;
" and if we begin our work ever so happily, we are
sure to quarrel before long. Why may not I place
some of these stones as well as you, Robert?"
"Because I know how to put each stone into
its proper place, a great deal better than you do,"
answered his brother.
You cannot tell that, till you have seen how I
place them," said Edmund.
"Nonsense! how can you suppose that I do not
know better than you ? demanded Robert, in a high
tone-" I, who am ten years old. But it does not
signify talking; the long and the short of it is,
I shall place the stones myself."
"Then I think you are very disagreeable," said
You can wheel the stones in the barrow, if you
choose," said Robert, as he continued smoothing
with his light trowel the mud plaster that he laid
between the rock-work.
No," said Edmund, you know that the plaster-
ing is the pleasantest part of the job, and if you will
not let me do some of it, I shall not bring the
stones. It is too bad of you to leave me all the
Who wants you to do the hard work?" returned
Robert. "I can build the grotto very well my-
Edmund made no answer, but he walked away
disappointed and vexed. Robert did not attempt to
detain his brother, although the moment after, he
felt that he had not acted rightly, and that his own
love of domineering had, as usual, interrupted their
The stones, bricks, and other materials, were in a
heap in a lane near the end of the garden; and from
the garden, there was a gate that opened into the lane.
The day was very hot, and Robert found the
labour of repeatedly loading the barrow and wheel-
ing it to the grotto, by no means pleasant. He soon
became tired of his work; but as his brother was
sitting under a tree near the grotto, he did not like
to show his fatigue, so he continued labouring in the
hot sun for some time. At last he threw down his
trowel, and exclaimed, How horridly hot it is; the
grotto will not be done to-day I "
"Then let us work together," said Edmund,
jumping up from his seat, turn and turn about.
I am quite willing to take my share of the hard
"Come along then," said Robert.
After this agreement the boys worked happily
together. Edmund good-naturedly fetched the first
two barrowfuls of stones, and when his turn came
to plaster, shewed the utmost readiness to follow his
brother's advice as to the best position for each piece
of rock-work. The grotto proceeded rapidly; and
Robert felt that he had acted both foolishly and
unkindly at first, in attempting to make his brother
do exactly as he chose.
It must not be supposed that Robert Wilmot was
a cross, ill-tempered boy. When his love of having
his own way did not interfere with his other good
qualities, no boy could be more agreeable. He was
so trustworthy, so ready to oblige those he loved,
and so obedient to his parents, that he was generally
esteemed, but all his friends declared that they
should have loved him much more, if he had not
disputed so much about trifles. The ill effects of
this disposition were felt much more by his com-
panions than by his parents; for he could not order
his parents about as he did his companions. Not-
withstanding Robert's well known ready talent in
inventing games, and planning new amusements, le
began to be shunned by his playfellows, for, as Ed-
mund truly said, "however happily the games might
begin, they were very frequently spoilt by Robert's
resolving to have his own way." Edmund, who was
a year younger than Robert, and very fond of him,
would often speak to his companions in his defence,
urging for him that no boy in the village was more
active than Robert in assisting at their sports, nor
more generous in lending his balls and bats.
I am sure it is not kind of you to leave Robert
out," said Edmund one day to Frank Collins, who
was inviting him to meet a young party at his
house, and who had purposely omitted Robert.
" That is not the way Robert treats you. When
papa wished to take us to the Zoological Gardens,
and said we might have a friend with us, Robert
refused to go, because he found that you could not
go with us, although papa said it would be some
time before he could spare another day to take us.
I had seen the Zoological Gardens, but Robert had
not. Do you not remember that you had both been
quarrelling only the day before? yet he forgave that,
when he refused to go without you. Was not that
kind of Robert? "
"Yes," said Frank Collins, "it was very kind
indeed of him, and I am sure it made me try to
put up with his commanding ways for ever so long
afterwards. But it is really, Edmund, so unpleasant
to have our parties spoilt by him, that I cannot ash
him for to-night. But you may come, Edmund: w(
shall be glad to see you."
"No," said Edmund, "if Robert must not come, I
would rather not. I could not bear to be enjoying
myself, while he is staying at home."
S" Oh, do come," said Frank, it will be a rare
good party, Edmund; and we are going to let off a
fire-balloon, and after that some fire-works."
"No, thank you," said Edmund, "I won't come
"But we shall all be so sorry to lose you," said
Oh, never mind about that," said Edmund; but
his voice faltered as he spoke, for he did not at all
like to lose so much pleasure, though he had quite
made up his mind.
"Well," said Frank, hesitatingly, "I cannot let
you stay away, so I will ask Robert. Tell him we
shall have a good many boys, and plenty of fun:
mind and come early."
Oh, yes; I will be sure to remember," said
Edmund in a joyful tone, and he ran home to tell
his brother of the intended party.
Robert was greatly pleased at the invitation, for
Mr. Collins was so agreeable a man, and generally
joined so much in his son's amusements, that the
parties at his house were always delightful. Directly
after dinner the boys got ready to go. Before they
left home, their mother whispered in Robert's ear,
that she hoped he would be careful not to offend his
companions by trying to be the first in every game;
and, she observed, that as Frank Collins had invited
his friends to entertain them, it would be kind, as
well as polite, to allow him to propose the games
Robert nodded, and looked so happy and good-
tempered, that his mother thought she could depend
upon his good conduct. He kissed the baby, and
told Ellen that if she looked in the play-room, she
would find her doll's bedstead mended, so that she
might play with it while they were away.
Oh, thank you," said little Ellen, that is kind
The boys then set off on their walk to Mr. Collins'.
Edmund rejoiced that they were together, and he
skipped from mound to mound in very glee. He
did not tell his brother of what had passed between
Collins and himself.
When they arrived at Mr. Collins', Frank came
out to meet them, and led them into the garden,
where several boys were vaulting with a pole over a
stretched rope. The party quickly increased, and at
last twelve or fourteen boys assembled, and were
soon in high fun together. At the sound of a bugle
horn which Frank gave Edmund to blow, the boys
ran to the end of the garden. There they found, on
the grass-plot, three or four tables spread with tea,
cakes, and other good cheer. Mr. and Mrs. Collins
joined their young friends, and added much to the
amusement of the party, by making jokes andere-
lating funny stories. The boys declared that Mr.
Collins' grave stories were as hard to be believed
as those told in jest. Who ever heard of people
living in trees day and night, wearing wooden dresses,
procuring bread and tallow from trees, eating earth,
and a hundred other things that Mr. Collins declared
to be true ? Now and then Robert, who was a well
informed boy for his age, could explain some of
these wonders, and then they all joined in shouts of
laughter against Mr. Collins, for failing in his attempt
to puzzle them.
After tea, the games continued with fresh spirit.
Mr. Collins asked the boys if they ever played at
the game of the bear, and selecting six of the
younger boys, he said they should be the bears, and
he would be the pole. He threw off his coat,
buttoned his waistcoat tight, and placing an apple
in his right hand, held it high above his head: he
said that each boy was in turn to climb up him and
attempt to reach the apple, which should be the
prize of him who could get it. All the boys declared
that nothing could be easier, and bargained that if all
six touched the apple, they were to have one a-piece.
"Oh, certainly," said Mr. Collins; "now my
It was soon plainly seen that it was by no means
an easy thing to reach even to Mr. Collins' shoulder.
Boy after boy struggled, and struggled, while the
by-standers shook with laughter at the red faces and
panting breath of the young climbers. One advised
them to hold fast, another to make a good spring,
while a third begged them not to give up so soon.
In spite of all their exertions, the bears slid down
faster than they climbed up, and out of the six one
only secured the prize.
The rest of the boys were now very anxious for a
trial, but Mr. Collins declined the embraces of full
grown bears. He fixed for them, however, a high
pole which was made to sink in a deep socket in the
grass plot, and in a minute, two or three were trying
their skill on its smooth surface.
After this, they were rather at a loss for a game.
They had played at base-ball and leap-frog; and
rival coaches, with six horses at full speed, had been
driven several times round the garden, to the im-
minent risk of box-edgings, and the corners of flower-
beds: what were they to do next? Robert knew
a French game, but he remembered his mother's ad-
vice, and waited till Frank Collins said he could not
think of any new amusement. He then proposed
the sea and her children." This game Robert told
ROBERT WILMOT. 27
them was frequently played amongst grown-up people
at Paris, and he thought it was a very good one.
How do you play at it ? inquired everybody at
Why, first, you must place chairs for all except
one. The chairs should be put in a line, back to
back. Then the boy who is to represent the Sea
asks each of the others by what name he chooses to
be called; whale, shrimp, shark, stickleback, salmon,
dolphin, or any other name. When the Sea has
learned all the names of her children, she suddenly
calls out to one of them to follow her. "Shrimp,
shrimp, follow me:" then another, or half-a-dozen
of them, or, if she likes, the whole. The fun is,
to lead them into all kinds of difficulties, just like
"Follow my leader," because they must imitate the
Sea in all her movements. Then in a moment she
calls out, Home, home, homeI" and all rush to
their seats. The boy that is left out, of course
becomes the Sea. The names are to be changed
whenever there is a fresh leader."
Oh, let us play at that," said they all, and do
you be the Sea, Robert."
,The game went on with different leaders for a
considerable time; but all declared that Robert made
the ,-t -.1. ,'. It was now growing dusk, and Mrs.
Collins invited them in to supper. Hitherto nothing
could have surpassed the good humour of the whole
party. It was true, that in the midst of their play
there had been several sharp knocks, but nobody
cared for them, and the party sat down to supper in
good spirits, and with excellent appetites.
Immediately after supper, Mr. Collins let off the
fire-balloon. It steadily ascended for some time, and
was then carried by a gentle breeze over a common
that joined Mr. Collins' garden. It looked like a
deep red ball of fire, till it gradually diminished to a
small red speck.
"I thought fire-balloons were rather dangerous
things, sir," said Robert to Mr. Collins, "I have
heard papa say that hay-stacks have been set on fire
"Yes; that has been the case sometimes," replied
Mr. Collins; "but I have guarded against any danger
to-night. There are no hay-stacks on the common,
and long before the balloon has passed over the
common, the spirits of wine will be exhausted;
unless the wind had blown in the direction of
the common, I should not have ventured to have
sent up the balloon. But now for the fire-works,
Robert had brought with him some fire-works
which he had made himself. He, therefore, thought
he might certainly give directions about them.
But not content with that, he gave so many orders
about the rest of the fire-works, as to the best way of
letting them off, and found so much fault, that the
boys did not like it.
"Do not you see," said he, "that you are wasting
all the squibs, when you might make beautiful stars
with them? Will you listen to me? How silly you
are!" he continued, as one boy after another passed
him with whiz, whiz, whiz, bang."
Will you hear me speak ? he bawled out, as a
fresh group passed him in high fun.
Well, what ? said one of the boys.
Why, look here, if you cross two squibs, and
put a pin through the middle of them, and fix them
to a tree, and light both ends, you will see quite a
bright circle of light."
Saying this, he fixed two squibs on a pin, and stuck
the pin into the bark of a tree. He then lighted the
ends of the squibs. One, however, would blaze
before the other, and the boys laughed at the one-
Try two others," said Frank Collins; I do not
think you will manage it, though; for papa tried
several times, one night. If the gunpowder is not
rammed exactly as tightly in one squib as in the other,
it won't do."
Robert pinned two more squibs to the tree, but
this trial succeeded no better than the last. One
squib obstinately remained, with a smouldering spark
in it, while the other blazed away, and only
commenced burning after its companion had gone
"How provoking !" exclaimed Robert.
"Oh, never mind," said the boys, and they began
squibbing one another again round the garden.
Robert then said he would lay a train of gun-
powder; and he gave a dozen commands to the boys to
keep away from the path where he stood. So many,
however, paid no attention to his words, that he
became quite vexed.
Well," cried he, all I say is, you will be burnt,
and then it will not be my fault."
You had better give up the train, Robert," said
Frank Collins; they are all too busy to think about
the danger. It would be a pity to do anything that
might hurt the little ones."
"But it is so tiresome," said Robert, "that they
will not do as one asks them. I am sure I have
told them not to come this way a hundred times."
Why as to that," replied Frank, "'you know it is
only you who care about this train. If you are tired
of squibbing, there are plenty of catherine-wheels and
Well, I shall fire this train first, to please myself,
if no one else," persisted Robert, and he held the
lighted paper to one end of it.
At the very instant it began blazing, a little boy,
who was running very fast, and knew nothing about
the train, cr,--cd over it, and his leg was severely
The brave little fellow tried to bear the pain with-
out roaring, but his cheeks tingled, and his eyes filled
with tears, as he said, I must go in-doors, I can
hardly bear the pain."
"There, Robert! exclaimed Frank, "see what
your resolving to have your own way has done!" and
he took up the child in his arms, to carry him into
Robert.was generally a humane boy, and anxious
to assist any one who suffered; but Frank's expres-
sion, although quite true, hurt his pride, and he
answered in a fierce ill-tempered tone, Then he had
no business to come down this path; I called out
often enough, I am sure; it is not my fault."
"For shame, for shame!" said Frank.
"I did not hear you tell us not to go there," said
the little boy, there was such a popping and bang-
ing; but I dare say my leg will:be better soon."
Frank took the child in-doors to Mrs. Collins, who
bathed the leg with soft linen rags, dipped in spirits
of turpentine. After a little time, the pain consi-
di.tllv abated, and Mrs. Collins placed him on a
soya, which she wheeled close to the window, that
looked into the garden. He could not, however,
play with his companions again that evening.
Robert felt very uncomfortable; he wished to go
and sit by the side of the little b|, but he did not
like to meet Mrs. Collins, who, he supposed, knew
exactly how the accident had happened. Frank
Collins, and some other boys, kept away from him,
for his answer seemed to them so very unfeeling,
that they did not wish to play with him. They did
not know, that almost immediately after Frank had
left the little boy in the house, Robert had sent his
brother Edmund to learn how he was, and to tell him
how sorry he was for the accident. Robert had now
lost all relish for play, and he was glad when the
party broke up. He could not tell, by Mrs. Collins'
manners, whether she knew of his conduct or not,
but he felt very much ashamed when he bade her
The next day, and for many days afterwards,
Robert kept a continued watch over himself, and
there was constant good-humour among the brothers
and sisters. There were so many occupations in
Mr. Wilmot's family, and such a hearty good-will
in assisting each other in all their little plans, that
their happiness was seldom disturbed except by
Robert's unfortunate disposition. About this time,
Mrs. Wilmot fell ill, and Robert was so fearful of
making any disturbance, and by that means pre-
venting her recovery, that he took particular pains
to control himself, when he was otherwise inclined
to domineer. At last his mamma became so much
ROBERT WILMOT. 33
better, that sh&.w s enabled to sit up in her own room,
and have the children to spend an hour or two with
her by turns. The young people began to consider
their mamma almost well, and therefore no longer
thought so much of her health as they had done.
One day, after the boys had come from school,
they were playing with Ellen, in a room on the same
floor as their mother's, but on the other side of the
house, when Robert proposed that they should make a
large stage-coach with the various boxes that hap-
pened to be in this room. The boxes were soon piled
together; but Robert insisted that they should be
placed exactly as he described, nor would he allow
anyone to be seated until he had altered the arrange-
ment several times. Edmund was to be the guard,
he the coachman. "Cannot you keep down, when I
tell you ? said he to Ellen; "you are not to be
passenger yet. I shall call you presently."
Ellen waited patiently a little time; but Robert
was so long before he held up his finger and called
out, "Going up to London, ma'am?" that she became
quite impatient, and was scrambling up the boxes to
"Yes, let her ride now," said Edmund; "I am
sure she has waited long enough."
"No, she shall not," exclaimed Robert; "she has
no business to get up before I beckon to her," and he
S sprang off his coach-box to pull his sister down.
Ellen did not like to be treated qo roughly, and
she struggled to prevent him, seizing hold of one of
the boxes, and calling out that he would hurt her
Edmund begged his brother to leave Ellen alone,
and asked him what was the use of persisting: You
will be sure to hurt her, Robert," said he, and then
you will be sorry."
Robert took no heed of what either of them said;
but resolving to make them follow his wishes, he
continued pulling Ellen with all his might. He did
not observe that the heavy box, which Ellen grasped
so firmly, was moving. In a moment, Robert, Ellen,
and the box fell together, and the poor little girl gave
a loud shriek. Edmund cried out, Oh, Robert, the
box has fallen on her: what have you done! what
have you done ?" Robert could not speak for terror.
He sprang from the ground to assist his brother in
removing the box, and had scarcely done so, when
his mother rushed into the room. She placed the
little girl on her lap, and attempted to soothe her;
but the more she pressed her towards her, the louder
Ellen screamed, My arm! my arm I" It was then
seen that the right arm was broken, for it hung by
her side quite powerless.
Run instantly to the doctor's, Edmund," said
Mrs. Wilmot, "lose not a moment; and, Robert, help
me to place your sister on my bed. I fear I am too
weak to carry her by myself."
Robert obeyed his mother without speaking, while
at each fresh movement Ellen moaned with agony.
Her mother, still feeble from the effects of her late
illness, exerted herself to the utmost. Robert knew
that his own wilfulness had occasioned all this pain
and distress; no wonder, therefore, that he could not
As soon as the doctor came, Robert slid out of the
room. He dreaded the sight of every fresh person.
During the time that the arm was being set, the boys
remained outside the bedroom door. Don't speak to
me, don't speak to me," said Robert, in a low, hurried
tone, to his brother. You must hate me! every-
body will hate me! oh, my poor sister !" and unable
to bear the thought of the pain she was suffering,
he ran to his own room, and threw himself on the
bed in the deepest sorrow. After the arm was
set, the little girl fell into a short sleep, but awoke
with so much fever, that her mother was greatly
As for Robert, he spent the remainder of that day
in his own bedroom, or stationed at his mother's
door, listening to every sound, and inquiring about
his sister from each person that came out of the
room. Edmund was ever on the watch to tell him,
and to console him.
"Dear Robert," said he, "do not be so very
miserable; Ellen may be better soon: you did not
mean to hurt her; pray, do not cry so. Poor dear
girl, she blames herself quite as much as you."
"And does my mother know all?"
"Yes, she asked me all about it," replied Edmund,
" and I was therefore obliged to tell her; but she
said nothing: she only sighed, and the tears came
down her cheeks. But I dare say she cried about
"Oh, no, no !" said Robert, "she cried at my
unkind conduct to Ellen;" and in fresh grief he left
his brother, to hide himself in his own room.
"How can I meet my father?" said he, as the
evening approached. "What shall I do? but it is
better to bear his displeasure, than to stay here
dreading to see him. He cannot blame me more
than I blame myself."
The moment he heard his father's knock, he ran
down stairs with a kind of desperate courage, and
with a voice almost choked with grief he gave his
father the whole account of the accident. His
father said not a word, but motioning him from him
he hastily took up a candle, to seek Mrs. Wilmot
and his little girl.
"Oh,father, speak to me!" exclaimed Robert; "I
am so very wretched: do not turn away. Speak
to me dear, dear, father."
"I cannot, Robert. What can I say to you?
To blame you now, would be cruel: I can only pity
your miserable feelings;" and so saying, Mr. Wil-
mot went up stairs.
For several days Ellen continued so ill, that
neither of the boys was allowed to enter her room,
and Robert scarcely knew a happy moment.
At length his earnest desire to see her was com-
plied with; and from that day till Ellen was allowed
to leave her room, Robert could hardly be persuaded
to stir from her side. He watched her while she
slept, assisted his mother in waiting on her, gave
her the choicest of his toys, refused every invita-
tion of his companions to join in their pleasures,
and spent all his money in buying picture-books for
her. Better even than all this, he showed his sincere
sorrow for the pain he had occasioned, by the most
earnest endeavours to check the disposition which
had led to this calamity. For more than two months
after Ellen had left her bed, she wore her arm
in a sling, and this sling constantly reminded
Robert of the necessity of watching himself. He
often felt strongly tempted to domineer; but he
restrained himself, and rather than insist on having
his own way, he would frequently bite his lip, and
iru ou't of the room. Neither his father nor his
m..Lther had ever uttered one word of reproach to
him: but now, when they saw his daily exertions
ti nact generously in trifles, they encouraged him
by every affectionate expression.
38 ROBERT WILMOT.
Two years have passed since Ellen's accident. She
has recovered the perfect use of her arm. Robert
is not only esteemed for those other qualities which
all knew himh to possess, but is beloved for his readi-
ness in giving up his own wishes for the gratifica-
tion of others. Everybody who knows how difficult
it is to cure a bad habit, must feel a double respect
for the boy who has so completely succeeded.
_- -- --- ,I
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
ONE fine morning, in the village of Dive in Nor-
mandy, a large crowd of people were gathered on the
sea beach round a new fishing boat. The bells of
the village church were ringing merry peals, and
many people- were still coming out at the church
door. It was not Sunday, but there had been a
short service this morning previous to the ceremony
of blessing the new boat, which the village priest was
about to perform. All the people as they issued
from the church porch directed their steps towards
the groups on the beach.
On a bench, before the door of a poor cottage
hard by, a fisherman, by name Francois Grandet, was
seated drinking cider. He was the owner of the new
smack, round which everybody was collected waiting
for the priest. Near him was his*wife Catharine,
dressed in her best, and looking very nice in her
clean white cap, dark blue petticoat, and coloured
cotton jacket. In the doorway, almost afraid to
move, lest she should spoil her pretty new frock,
was her daughter, Therence, a little girl of about
nine years old: and inside the cottage, rolling on the
table, with his legs dangling in the air, was her
youngest son Hector, a boy of about eleven. He was
not half so careful as his sister, and had already
managed to get two or three spots of mud on his
clean blouse. He was quite tired of waiting; and
not being allowed to have his sister to play with
for fear of spoiling her frock, sat there kicking his
legs about and yawning to the utmost limits of his
mouth. In Normandy these fine names, which seem
so strange to us, are very common-as common as
Dick, Tom, Mary, or Jane are here. They were all
waiting for the priest of the village to come and name
and bless the little boat before it was launched, and
Hector and Th4rence were to be the godfather
and godmother, and to give the boat the name.
The fishermen on this coast would never think of
putting to sea in a boat that had not been named
and blessed by the priest; they would expect to go
to the bottom in their first voyage. In the front
THE NE W FISHING SMACK.
part of the boat Therence had already nailed up a
little crucifix, in order to assure her father from all
Meanwhile Therence began to think the priest was
never coming out of the church; she was very nearly
as tired of waiting as her brother. He was yawning
and grumbling, for he was very anxious to see the
boat really launched. The tide was now just on the
turn; when it was fully in, the little boat was to be
launched for the first time, and to make its first
voyage after herrings and mackerel.
"I say, Therence," said Hector, suddenly swinging
himself off the table, and coming out into the porch, to
her, "Father has promised to take me out with him
to-day in the new boat Won't that be jolly! But
what, after all, do you think we had best call her ?"
Shan't we call her after mother? said Therence.
"Catharine? That's a woman's name; can't you
think of any other name, Therence ?" said Hector.
" I should like her to be called Dreadnought, or
something like that."
Therence laughed. "Nothing will satisfy you,
Hector; I have proposed such a lot of names, and
you don't approve of any. For the last week you
have altered her name every day. You know well
enough what I want to call her."
"What? said Hector.
Why, Mopse, after your dear doggie."
42 PASSE-TOUT: OR,
Oh, that's great nonsense. What's a dog to do
with a ship?"
Well," cried Therence, here comes M. Sales
at last, so unless you are quick you willbhave to call
her Catharine after all. But I know mother does
not want the boat called after her. I can't see why
she should not be called Mopse."
Come, children," cried Frangois Grandet, getting
up from his seat, "we must not keep M. Saules
waiting. Come along." There was no more time now
to discuss the name; the two children were obliged
to follow their mother and father, who, with all tne
rest of the villagers, now moved down to the beach.
The little godfather and godmother took up their
position on each side of the stern of the boat, while
their father and mother stood at some little distance.
Hector and Therence looked* at one another ; they
were still undecided what to call the boat. After
M. Saules had walked all round the boat, scattering
salt and wheat over it, and had come back again
opposite the stern, he read a short Latin prayer, and
then he chanted a hymn in which all the people on
each side joined. When they had done he turned to
Hector and said, What is her name to be ?"
Hector, so bold on the sea and so talkative at
home, now looked across at Therence, stammered,
and grew red.
"' Passe-tout,' please, sir," said Therence suddenly,
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
and blushing very much. "Will that do, Hector?"
she whispered in his ear. "I could not think of
anythiii' else except Catharine or Mopse, and you
did not like. them."
Oh, yes; that does splendidly. That is exactly
the sort of name I wanted. I mean that it shall be
"And you commander-in-chief, of course ?" asked
his sister, mischievously.
"Yes, Thdrence. If father only would let me. Oh,
I wish I were not a child. If I only had the strength
of a man, would not I do- a number of things. I
But Th6rence had turned aside to look after the
procession of people, who were following the priest
up the village, singing hymns. Dive is almost too
small even to be called a village, being entirely com-
posed of a few scattered fishers' huts, from the centre
of which rises the little white spire of the church.
Everything, however, looked bright and pleasant this
day, in spite of the poverty and dirt of the huts.
The sky was bright and blue; and the sea so calm
that the waves seemed scarcely bigger than the
ripples on a pond. The voices of the people singing
also sounded very pretty, as they walked along
through the village, the sounds getting fainter and
fainter till they died away altogether.
Hector was for going along the ground to dabble
44 PASSE-TOUT: OR,
in the water with his dog, now that the ceremony
was over and the people gone, but Ti6rence felt a
much stronger desire to run after the priest and the
people, so she began to sing at the top rf her voice
and ran off leaving her brother to follow if he liked.
As it is not amusing to play all alone, Hector soon
went after his sister, his dog Mopse running from
side to side after stones and sticks that his master
threw for him to pick up.
Everybody said that Hector would one day be
a very good sailor. He was very fond of the sea,
and never seemed happy when he was away from it.
When Frangois Grandet would not let him go out
with him to fish, which sometimes happened when
the sea was stormy, poor Hector was always quite
miserable; even Th6rence could not console him.
On these occasions he felt just like a dog that is tied
up to prevent it following its master.
At these times, his dog Mopse was the only
resource he had, for Th6rence was now always
occupied making lace.
He ought to have been sent to school, for he could
not read and write, but his parents said they could
not afford it any longer. The year before both
Therence and he had been to school. One went one
day, and one the next, so that they each had three
days schooling a week.
It is the habit of the people about this place, who
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
cannot afford to pay for more than one child's
schooling atga time, to divide it through the family,
sending one child one day and another the next, so
that the whole family should gain a little instruction,
and at the same time only one child should be at
school at a time.
This way they do not learn much. Neither
Thdrence nor Hector could write. Therence, who
had paid more attention than Hector, could read
a little, but he could not even do that.
The greatest desire he had, was to be a great sailor
and fisherman. He used to dream of catching more
fish than anybody on the coast, and to be called,
as his father had formerly been called, Risque tout,"
which means Dare all."
As for Therence, her principal desire was to be
able to earn seven pence a day making lace. This
is the chief occupation of the women here-they
all make lace. Th6rence was very industrious; and
sometimes now, when she worked very hard, she
could earn fourpence.
This day was, of course, a grand holiday for her.
Both the children had been looking forward to it
for a very long time. Meanwhile Catharine Grandet,
instead of joining in the procession, had gone home
to look after the dinner; for Frangois had invited
all his friends and relations to dine with him after the
ceremorg ofblessing the new boat.
1__1~__~1___ _1 ^^_ I~ ~i I __
46 PASSE-TOUT: OR,
This dinner was composed chiefly of fish and black
bread, not very nicely cooked, but whiih Therence
and Hector found delicious. The cottage was full
to overflowing and very noisy, as these*lpoor fisher
people, having no one to leave in charge of their
young children, were obliged to bring them, babies
and all, with them.
Such an assembly of young folks soon made too
much noise for the elders, and consequently they
were all turned out to play on the beach.
Poor Th6rence, very much embarrassed with her
new frock, and quite afraid to play lest the others
should tear it, speedily retired, and having been
forbidden by her mother to take it off, went and
sat down quietly in a corner of the room, feeling
very dull, and more inclined to cry than do any-
thing, as she looked out of window and saw Hector
and her cousin playing away in high glee.
Inside there was a great deal of eating and drink-
ing, and laughing and talking; all seemed to be
enjoying themselves thoroughly, with the exception
of one man, who sat at the end of the table near
Frangois Grandet, looking very grand. This was
Catharine Grandet's brother, Conscience Malais.
He had come that morning all the way from Honfleur
with his wife and children, on purpose to be present
at the blessing of the boat. Frangois was paying
him the greatest attention and pressing him to eat
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
and drink. But Conscience seemed to have to make
an effort e'.?f.re he could find anything to say.
"Where is my nephew, dear ?" at last Conscience
said. "I do not see him here to-day ? "
"No," said Francois, "he was obliged to go over
to Honfleur this morning to sell fish; we poor people
cannot all afford to be idle at once, you know. It's a
pity, though! You have not seen him for a long time.
I should have liked you to see him; he has grown
quite a fine young fellow. But he never will be
such a good sailor as Hector; he does not like the
That's a pity, as it must be his business," replied
Leon was Frangois' eldest son, a young man about
twenty-years old. He had gone to sea to help his
father, otherwise he would have much preferred to
be a land labourer. As he grew older, he felt very
much being,obliged to give his father all his earnings.
HIe thought he should like one day to have a home of
his own ; but yet when he saw the distress they were
sometimes in at home, he thought it was his duty to
do all he could to increase the comfort of the family.
All these reflections in.d!e- him grow very grave,
and feel sometimes a little disappointed.
It was th).:.ug-ts like these, also, that made Con-
science Malais now sit so silent and so thoughtful.
He wvas thinking how much all this dinner of fish
48 PASSE-TOUT: OR,
and meat must have cost Franqois, and how ill he
could afford it. He thought Thdrence would have
looked much nicer in her ordinary dean Sunday
frock, than in that expensive cotton in which the
poor child was afraid to move. Why, even for the
building of the new fishing smack, Franqois had been
obliged to go into debt, and had borrowed nearly
twenty pounds from his brother-in law Conscience.
Conscience thought how Frangois was ever going
to pay this I
When they were young, Conscience and Franqois
were equally poor, but Conscience had always been
careful and saving, for which some of his friends had
called him stingy and mean, but he had managed
to send all his children to school, and had even
taught himself to read and write.
When he had got together a few savings he had
left Dive and gone to Honfleur, where he was now
the owner of two or three large smacks, while his
wife Doroth6e kept a little shop.
Franqois had also been industrious, and a very
brave seaman too, but he was thoughtless. He used
to say life was not worth having if you did not
enjoy it. Where was the use of screwing yourself
down like Conscience, when from one day to another
you might be drowned ? As to his children, he said
he had got on very well, why should they want to
know more than he did? They would turn out all
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
right, he had no doubt, and be quite as good after
all, as their cousins, over whom such a fuss was
Nevertheless he was very glad to be able to
borrow 201. of Conscience, to build a new boat with
when the old one was worn out and unseaworthy.
Yet he knew the boat would some time or another
wear out, and that, if he lived, he would want
another. But he was growing an old man now; and
not having got while young the habit of saving,
he could not now deny himself.
Therence was very pretty; he liked to see her look
smart. He used to say, it was all very well for the
Malais to be dressed so plainly, because they none of
them had any good looks to boast of. And as for
Hector, there was not such another boy in all France.
Leon was too grave and gentle by nature to be
a very great favourite with his father, but Catharine
was very fond of him; indeed, it is hard to say which
of all three she loved best.
When the dinner was over, the men all went
outside to sit on benches and barrels before the
door, to drink cider and smoke, while the women
employed themselves in collecting their various
children previous to going home.
Poor Therence, tired and a little peevish with
doing nothing, went to take off her weary finery,
and ran out to join Hector.
50 PASSE-TOUT: OR, I
She found him in an equal state of distress.
During the last hour or two the sky had become
covered by light, windy-looking clouds, that sailors
call "mare's tails," and the morning breeze was now
quite a strong gale. Leon had come home abQut
half an hour ago, and Frangois, seeing the sea wA
likely to be stormy, had just said he could not take
Hector out with them.
Hector had set his heart on making this first
voyage in the boat. But Frangois was firm, and
said, "he could not be bothered with a little child
like him; that if it came on to be stormy, as he
expected, Hector would only be in the way, and
that he must stay at home with his mother and
The only person who rejoiced at this arrangement
was Catharine, who could not bear to think of so
young a boy as Hector being exposed to all the
dangers of the sea.
"But you promised me, father! Oh, what a
shame I" roared out the boy, with tears in his eyes,
as he saw them positively preparing to shove the
Leon looked as if he would willingly have re-
linquished his place to his brother, but said nothing.
His father, however, called out angrily:
"If you don't hold your tongue, you shall never
go out with me again."
E s FISHING SMACK. 51
Therence took her brother by the arm; her own
disappointment was now quite forgotten in that of
"Come along, Hector," said she, "it can't be
helped, you know; never mind, father will take you
out another day. The sky does look very stormy."
"What's that to me? It's all the better fun.
I say it is a great, big shame; father promised me."
But you know he never takes you out in bad
weather: mother does not like it."
"Why does not she like it, I should like to know?
It's all very well for you women to stay at home;
I 'm a man, I am."
"Now, don't talk nonsense, Hector; just think if
anything happened to father what would mother
do? And suppose you all three were out at once
in a storm, only think how dreadful it would be.
For, after all, it is very dangerous, you know."
I suppose you are right, Th6rence, but it's very
hard. You don't know how much I have been
longing to go in 'Passe-tout' on her first voyage.
And here is poor Mopse wanting to go too. Did
not you, poor old fellow?" he said, stooping down
to pat and caress a large water-spaniel that came
bounding up to him licking his face and hands.
"Poor Mopse he wants his supper," said Therence;
"and come, Hector, we ought to go help mother
to put things straight."
52 PASSE-TOUT.; OR,,
Oh, wait a minute, wait till 'Passe-tout' is out of
sight. See how gallantly she goes before the wind I"
The two children stood a few minutes looking
over the sea at the little dark speck which was
now all that could be seen of their father's boat,
and then turned silently away and walked slowly
They were both quite tired out, although they
had scarcely done anything all day. The unsatis-
factory feeling of idleness, added to the disappoint-
ments they had both had, had taken away all their
Thdrence helped her mother to put the cottage in
order, while Hector set to work to mend a heap
of fishing nets. Then Catharine gave them some
broth for their supper and sent them to bed.
The wind was howling, the rain beat against the
windows; it was a very wild night. Catharine her-
self could not go to bed, she was too anxious after
her husband and son, out on that stormy sea. She
sat down to mend her husband's clothes, and every
now and then took a peep in to see if the children
"What's the matter, mother dear?" asked Thd-
rence, awakened by the sudden flash of light in her
eyes from Catharine's candle.
"Nothing, dear. Have you been asleep?"
"That's not the wind that I hear, is it, mother?"
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
"Yes; it is, dear. It is a terrible night."
"How lucky that father would not take Hertor,
is not it, mother ?"
A violent clap of thunder at this instant seemed
to break right over the cottage. Catharine sank on
her knees in great terror, little Therence clinging
to her with her arms around her mother's neck.
Terrie dear, don't cry. We must have faith,"
said Catharine, in a voice half stifled with suppressed
tears. "A boat that has been so recently blessed,
surely cannot go wrong. Let us pray for them."
Catharine, quite worn out with fatigue and anxiety,
was soothed by the presence of her t-vo youngest
children; and at last yielded, unknown to herself,
to the influence, and fell asleep by Therence's side
with the child's soft little arms round her neck.
In the morning, when they awoke, the storm was
over, though the sea was still rough, and the sun
Catharine and the two children hurried down
to the beach, where many families were already
assembled anxiously watching for the return of the
No sooner was the smallest speck discernible on
the horizon than each one began to wonder whose
boat that was.
Oh, that is Jaques Pacomes'," said one; I
know it quite well."
54 PASSE-TOUT) OR, -
No; it is Pierre'sf There is one I don't know.
Mere Alain, whose is that boat to the eastwards?"
Ah, it is 'Passe-tout,'" cried Hector; I am sure
it is, Th4rence, I know her. I should know her a
thousand miles off."
Catharine's heart beat fast, she scarcely dared
hope it, her eyes were dim, she could not see.
But the boat came nearer and nearer. At last
Frangois and Leon were to be seen on the deck. On
it came, before all the others, leaving a little white
trail of foam behind it as it cut through the waves.
In another instant it touched the beach. Now they
are pulling it up; and now Francois is embracing
his wife and children once more.
Very little fish had been caught that night, the
storm had been so violent. One boat had been lost,
and the family that had assembled anxiously on the
beach to watch for the return of the father, now
went away home in great distress.
Everybody tried to show them some little kind-
ness. One sent some fish for the children's dinner,
another went to help their mother-poor M6re Alain
-for they were very poor.
Little Therence begged her mother to let her
take some of the pennies she had earned making
lace to the poor people, and as Catharine consented,
she ran off with her twopence, a very large present
from her. She felt very sad when she thought
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
how gay they had been a few hours before, and now,
how changed everything was. She thought, if it
had been her father instead, that they would have
been in an equal state of misery.
These reflections made her feel very sorry for
poor MBre Alain, as she was called, and she stayed
there all day nursing the baby for her. MBre Alain
had a little baby, that could not yet walk. As
Therence was going home, she saw her brother Leon
busy cleaning the boat, and she went up to talk to
him of what her mind was now quite filled.
Poor MBre Alain! she said, what can we do for
her, Leon? Do you know, she says, she does not
know how ever she is to feed her children. And
there is a poor little baby !"
"Have you been there, Therence? I would
have gone too, but I could not, it made me feel
so sad. I thought how nearly the same thing might
have happened to us. I think Uncle Conscience
is right after all, in spite of what father says.
We ought to save, and I am determined to do it."
But it is all very well for uncle," said Th6rence.
He can afford to save, he is rich. Why2 he has
three boats of his own. How are we to save out of
so little ?"
Then, Therence, if we are too poor to save, we
ought not to spend as we did yesterday. Suppose
father and I had been lost last night, how much
56 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
better it Av ld have been for mother to have had
in her pocket all that we spent yesterday. In
this way how are we to pay what we owe uncle? "
"Mother says she thinks uncle might have
given us that, as he is so rich," said Therence, and
I think so too!"
But you must remember, Therence, uncle was
not always so well off. Once he was as poor as we
are. How is it that he is now so much better off?"
"I am sure I don't know. But I should not like
father to be like uncle. He is so very close and
You do not know anything about him, Therence,
or you would never say that. Do you call him
miserly, because he does not spend everything
directly he earns it, and puts by a little, so that in
case of his death, my aunt would not be left utterly
Why does father call him mean and stingy then?"
Because he does not know him; and because he
will not save himself."
Father must know him much better than you do,
Leon. I believe father is quite right. I do not like
to hear you speak so of him."
Leon laughed, although in reality he felt vexed, and
he told Thdrence to go home and make lace, which
was what she understood.
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
The sea was still so rough from the effects of the
storm that nobody dared venture on it for several
days. The thunder-storm had quite broken up the
weather. The mackerel fishing for that season was
The constant storms in the succeeding fortnight
often altogether prevented their putting out to sea;
and when they did, but few fish were to be caught.
Lobster and crab fishing was quite out of the
question, the sea was too rough to allow the lobster
baskets to be put out; they would have been instantly
There was no question of saving now in the
Grandet family; they had barely enough to live
on. Thdrence had to work from morn till night at
her lace, but work as hard as she would, she could
not earn more than fourpence a day.
What with cooking, washing and mending clothes,
Catharine herself had but very little time for lace
Lobsters are caught
in baskets something like
this, which are sunk out
at sea by means of a
number of stones tied all
round the bottom. The
lobster goes in at the hole
at the top after a bait,
and then cannot get out
58 PASSA-n/ UT; OR,
making. Frangois began to look very grave; all his
hope now was in the herrings and whitings. If they
failed he did not know how ever he was to pay his
The herrings of late years had been very plentiful
on the coast, but this year they proved to be exces-
sively scarce. Some said it was the bad weather
that had washed them away: some that they were
afraid to come on account of the number that had
been caught: everybody, however, was obliged to
agree in saying, that fish of all kinds was very
scarce that year. Meanwhile winter came on,
adding its cold to the many sufferings these poor
people had to go through.
With all Francois' exertions he could only just
earn sufficient to keep his own family.
Leon thought often of the quantity of fish they
had caught the spring before, and regretted that
his father had not then put something by, for the
scarcity that must follow some time or other. For,
said he to himself, it is perhaps only once in two
years that we have such an abundance of fish as
we had then, at other times we have a scarcity,
or only just enough to keep us. Surely we ought to
save out of that abundance, for the hard time that
will come sooner or later.
Hector went out occasionally with his father;
he had gained strength lately, and every day showed
THE NEW PFrHING SMACK
more courage and skill. Spring was now again close
The time had come when Conscience ought to
be repayed. In fact, it had more than come, for
it was now more than seven months since Frangois
had borrowed it, and he had promised'to repay it
They had entreated for another month. Franqois
had been making great efforts to get the necessary
sum of money together. Fish was still very scarce,
Leon was sent out on fine days in the old boat,
which they had managed to make lIA.:.lr. water-
tight again, to take up the lobster baskets, while
Francois and Hector went out to sea in Passe-tout.
Meanwhile Conscience had already been over once
for his money. He was in want of it he said. He
wanted to place his son as apprentice to a shipwright
at Havre, and could not without that 201. 12s. that
Frangois owed him.
Catharine was alone at home when he came. She
told her brother that he was very hard. That
her.husband had only borrowed 201., and that it was
very unjust to insist on his paying all that more,
when he could so ill afford it. Conscience said,
that he had lent him the 201. at 5 per cent.
"I do not understand anything about your 5 per
cents.," said Catharine quite crossly; all I know is
60 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
that they are very unjust, and that it is very hard of
"Now, Catharine," said Conscience, "you know
this is not the first time I have lent Fran9ois money,
and what difficulty I have had to get it back. If
I had kept it myself I should have employed it
in boat-building, or in the wages of another seaman
to help me. Either way it would have brought
me in more than what I have charged Franqois for
the use of it. I cannot afford to lose it; I have still
three children to place. I wish to be able to see my
children happy and thriving before I die; at all events
to be certain that they are saved from the acute
sufferings of cold and hunger that their parents have
had to endure.
Catharine was very angry; she thought this was
a reflection on her own family, and was quite relieved
when her brother went away. They parted on both
sides with many angry feelings, and nearly a month
passed before the Grandets heard anything more of
him. Conscience, being pretty certain that they
could not pay him, did not take the trouble to come
over so far for nothing. Besides he could ill spare
the time for such an expedition.
One day the sea was very stormy, although the
sky was fine. Therence was sitting before the door
making lace, while Catharine was preparing the soup
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
Hector and his father were out in the boat; and
Leon, who had gone off early in the morning to
Honfleur to sell some baskets of fish, had not yet
returned. Th4rence had been singing; she was very
tired of working and looked rather pale, as if she
wanted a little more exercise.
Mother," she said, suddenly starting up and run-
ning into the house," I do believe, here comes Uncle
Conscience; what shall we do ?"
Where?" said Catharine, coming to the door
with her sleeves tucked over her elbows.
She saw him, sure enough, walking very rapidly
along the road towards their cottage. She turned
instantly to look over the sea; not a sail was to be
Therence's heart beat very fast. What should
they do if Conscience insisted on being paid? She
knew her father had not more than a few shillings in
the cottage. She sat down again at her lace pillow
trembling all over, and began to work very fast.
"How do you do, Therence?" said her Uncle
Quite well, thank you," said Therence, looking
"Is your father in?"
No; but mother is," answered she.
"He '11 be in at the turn of the tide, I suppose ?"
"Yes; I suppose he will," said Th6rence, very
62 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
coldly, for she guessed that her uncle had come after
his money, and thought him very stern and cruel
in insisting on being paid.
Conscience went in and spoke to Catharine, and
then said he should sit down and wait for Francois,
as he wanted to see him very particularly.
He had determined not to say anything more to
Catharine, but to wait until he could see Frangois.
He therefore sat quietly down, and tried to talk to
her on different subjects; but he looked so grave and
sad that Catharine herself could not help asking him
what was the matter.
"None of the children are ill, I hope, Conscience?
and Dorothde, she still continues better ?"
Thank you," said Conscience "they are all quite
well-all except my poor wife; but, oh, Catharine,
they have carried off Bernard, and if Fran9ois can-
not pay me, I do not know what we are to do.
Dorothee is almost out of her mind."
"What do you mean?" said Catharine.
"I mean that they have taken him to Cherbourg,
and he will be sent off to the Baltic or Black Sea."
"Good God cried Catharine, turning pale.
They tell me men are very much wanted at
Cherbourg," continued poor Conscience, "I cannot
get a substitute under 301. Bernard, poor fellow, is
such a'good sailor
THE NEW FISHING SMACK
In France men are drawn for the army and navy
by conscription, and they must go, even if they dislike
it, unless they can afford to pay some one to go in-
stead. Of course for an able bodied young seaman,
knowing his business well, it is more difficult to find
a substitute than for an ordinary soldier.
Therence, seated in the porch, had heard heruncle's
words. Frightened and puzzled, she now left off
working and leant forward, looking anxiously at her
"Poor fellow," said Conscience, after a few minutes'
silence, he will not hear of my making any sacrifice
for him; and, indeed, if Frangois cannot pay me, I do
not know how I am to raise the money. The winter
has been very bad all along the coast. I have had
several losses besides my wife's long illness. All this
I have been able to meet without inconvenience, but
what I can do now to save my poor son, indeed, I do
Catharine was quite terrified. She was very sorry
for her brother, but at the same time she was more
afraid for her own son. What if Leon should be
seized in the same manner Involuntarily she turned
her eyes towards the road he would come, to see if he
were in sight.
Th6rence scarcely understood what her uncle
"But surely they," she said, laying great stress
64 PASSETOUT; OR,
on that mysterious they, "cannot take Bernard if
he does not choose to go. What will they do to
It is the Government of France, Thdrence," said
her uncle, patting her head, "that wants men to fight
the Russians, and if he refused to go he would be
And must he go if father cannot pay you, uncle?"
I am afraid so."
"Poor, poor Bernard; how I wish I could earn
more," said Th6rence, her eyes swimming with tears,
for she knew only too well that her father had not
the ability to pay her uncle.
Conscience got up, kissed Thdrence, and walked
out of the door to see if any boat was in sight. He
was in great trouble and anxiety.
Mother, what can we do?" said Th6rence, as soon
as her uncle was out of hearing. Father cannot
pay; can he ?"
Oh," said Catharine, not heeding her, "I shall
not be easy till Leon is home again. I wish Francois
had sent Hector instead."
"Why ?" asked Thdrence; "would not they take
"No: he is too young."
"But, mother, if we have been the cause of poor
Bernard's being taken away, what can we ever do for
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
Don't say a word about this, child, to your brother
when he comes home; do you hear?" said Catharine,
quite sharply, without paying any attention to what
Thdrence was saying. "He'll be wanting to go in
Bernard's place; I know he will."
Therence stared at her mother in astonishment.
She was quite frightened and puzzled. She sat
down trembling to her lace pillow again, while
Catharine went out after her brother in much
As Thdrence sat there alone she began thinking of
what Leon had so often said, about the way they
lived-how he regretted that money his father had
borrowed, how he had worked to help to repay it--
all to no avail, as she knew only too well. Then
she thought of her mother's words, don't tell him,
or he '11 want -to go in Bernard's place." It was
dreadful to think that they were the cause of her
uncle's distress. Ought Leon to go ?" she asked her-
self. But the thought of all the unknown dangers
and hardships he would have to go through so
frightened her that she was afraid to answer the
question. Unable to bear being left alone any
longer, she jumped up and ran out after her mother.
The tide was in and the sea very rough. Several
fishing smacks were in sight, and rapidly approach-
ing the shore. One of the foremost was "Passe-
Many people were already waiting on the beach
with baskets to help unload the boats. "Passe-tout"
was now so close in that Hector and his father could
easily be distinguished. Near in-shore the breakers
were very large, and the little boat was tossed up
and down with great violence.
Just as they were nearing the shore, the boat gave
a violent lurch, and Francois, who was lowering the
sail, was suddenly pitched over the side into the
There was a great cry on the beach. It was a
moment of breathless anxiety to Catharine. Fortu-
nately Hector did not lose his presence of mind, but
he had as much as he could do to steer the boat clear
of the groins.
It was impossible for him to render his father any
assistance. Frangois was a good swimmer, and
struggled manfully against the waves. Two of the
men on the beach made an effort to assist him, but
were both instantly knocked down by the first sea.
Hector, as soon as he could, flung a rope out of
the boat to his father. Fran9ois caught at it; he
was quite exhausted, struggling against the force
of the waves with all his heavy clothes on.
The boat was quite close in-shore and at the mercy
of the breakers, which were very violent. Hector
was at his wits' end, and evidently losing all his
presence of mind. Conscience saw there was
THE NEW FISHING SMACK
not another moment to be lost; and, stripping off his
jacket and boots, made a rush at the sea by the side
of the groin, stooped down, dived through the wave,
just as it was about to break, and swam out to the
All this was the work of an instant. He clam-
bered up the side of the boat and seized the helm,
which Hector had not the force to hold, while the
boy pulled in the rope his father was clinging to.
In his haste and terror Hector did not see where
he was drawing his father, who, pulled by the rope
and battered by the waves, was suddenly dashed
against the groin.
The boat at the same instant touching the shore,
all hands ran forward to haul her up, while Con-
science, without losing an instant, slipped down the
side of the boat and seized hold of Fran9ois, just as
a wave was about to hurl him again against the posts
of the groin. Conscience struggled along the groin
as well as he could, dragging Frangois, who was quite
insensible, after him.
All this time Catharine and Therence were stand-
ing motionless with terror on the beach, scarcely
daring to look at the scene of action, and yet unable
to turn their eyes in another direction. The moment
Catharine saw her husband fairly in Conscience's
strong arms, she rushed down to the water's edge
to meet him, and seeing Conscience quite out of
breath, and scarcely able to support Frangois any
longer, she tried to take her husband from her
brother's arms and to carry him herself.
"No, Catharine; you are not strong enough,"
Conscience said, as soon as he could draw breath.
"Run home, and light the fire, and get Frangois'
bed ready. He is stunned; we must put him to
bed directly. Don't be frightened; he'll soon come
With the assistance of another man, Conscience
carried Frangois up the beach to his cottage. Hector
and Thdrence followed after, carrying their uncle's
jacket and boots, that he had not stopped to put on.
When they began to undress Francois, Conscience,
who was chafing his limbs trying to restore animation,
found that the accident was more serious than he
had at first imagined, and that Fran9ois' right arm
was broken. Hector was sent off at once for the
doctor. Francois all this time remained quite
unconscious. He had had a heavy blow on the
Catharine, at a loss what to do for him till the
doctor should arrive, forgot everything in her dis-
tress and anxiety about her husband. Her brother
stood by, rubbing and slapping Fran9ois' feet and
hands to rouse him, in his dripping wet clothes.
He was too busy to feel cold, or even wet, and
Catharine never thought of offering him any
THE NEW FISHING SMACK. 69
dry clothes. She did not see till afterwards that
his clothes were wet, when she found a pool of
water on the cottage floor, where he had been stand-
ing. As for Therence, she had never seen any one
in such a state before; she thought her father was
It was only after three-quarters of an hour, that
Francois began to recover his senses. The doctor
came and set his arm. Conscience stood by, holding
Francois all the time, as the sight of the pain he
was suffering quite overcame poor Catharine. When
the operation was over, the doctor, M. Bouvier,
gave him some stimulants to revive him, said he
would send him a soothing draught, and then left,
desiring them to keep Frangois very quiet, as he
feared it might prove very serious.
Meantime the day had worn away and evening
was now closing in. Everybody had been so much
occupied that no one had observed how quickly the
Conscience, who had been doing all he possibly
could to assist Catharine, now began to think he
must go. His clothes had dried on him, and he felt
stiff and cold.
Francois was at last quiet, they hoped asleep, and,
all was order again in the cottage. The children
were eating their .supper; the others had no heart
to eat anything. Catharine was sitting sadly, with
70 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
'her head leaning on her hands, by her husband's
Conscience rose to go. After the misfortunes of
the day, he scarcely liked to ask again for his money.
He, sighed heavily as he thought of his poor wife at
home, and of Bernard's calm resignation.
"Sister," he said, at last, it is seven o'clock. I
must be off. I have a long way to walk."
Catharine got up; she looked very pale. "Good-
bye, Conscience," she said. "You have saved my
husband's life to-day, and how I am ever to thank you,
indeed, I do not know-or those poor children
Can Frangois pay me, Catharine? said he, in a
She shook her head, and burst into tears. There
was an instant's silence, during which Catharine in
vain attempted to control herself: at last she said,
making a violent effort, "Brother, I don't know
when ever we shall be able to pay you. I will pay
you a few pennies every week ; thatwill be the best
way. If we keep it in the house, it is sure to go
somehow; I don't know how, I'm sure I But you
have saved dear Frangois' life, and we cannot, must
not, let you lose your son through our means. You
cannot pay a substitute-take-take Leon instead I
You have already paid for him," and she burst into
tears and covered her face with her apron.
THE NEW FISHING SMACK. 71
Hector, who knew nothing of what had passed,
stared at his mother in great astonishment, and
Th6rence began to cry.
Conscience could not say another word, he was
so shocked and distressed. It seemed very dreadful
to him, that parents should go into debt, and being
unable to repay what they owe themselves, should
turn to their children to pay it for them.
Catharine, frightened at his silence and the
expression of his face, which was grave even to
sternness, suddenly turned towards him, and taking
him by both hands, implored him, at any rate, not
to turn them out of their cottage till Francois was
well. We will sell every stock and stone then to
pay you, if you will but wait."
Catharine!" he replied, gravely, what are you
thinking of? I cannot accept your offer of Leon.
See what a position you have placed us both in!
If I insist on being paid now, I shall be the cause
of Franqois's death; if I do not, I lose my only
son-perhaps for ever." His voice faltered, but he
went on: What has your son Leon had to do
with all this ? It is not just that he should suffer
from his parents' thoughtlessness. Ah, had you
listened to my advice long ago, how much misery
might have been spared !"
Catharine turned her head aside, his words affected
her deeply. She was in an agony of self-reproach.
72 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
To think that her brother, so unceasing in his kind-
ness to them in spite of all they had done, to whom
they owed almost everything, even Francois' life,
should be brought into grief and misery by them !
What an awful return for such kindness I Her
thoughts were embittered also by the reflection,
that all had not been done that might have been
done to pay off their debt. She remembered
numberless little things in which the resources of
the family had been wasted. Frangois and she had
first trusted to the herrings to pay off Conscience;
and when they had failed, Francois had said, Well,
we must wait for the spring now; when that comes
we'll soon be all right, you '11 see; besides, I know
Conscience will wait; he does not want the money,
She closed her eyes and hid her face, that Con-
science should not see her.
But Conscience did not see her; his thoughts were
far away in his own desolate home, and he was
internally bracing himself to meet this inevitable
misfortune as bravely as he could.
Suddenly he felt Th6rence's little arms round his
neck, and the child's head sobbing on his shoulder.
She had left her supper, and, unable to eat any more,
had climbed up on the table.
"Dear uncle, can't we do anything?" she sobbed
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
"No, nothing now, dear," he said, taking her in
his arms and kissing her, "it's too late. Don't cry,
there's a good child. Go and help your mother."
He wiped her eyes with his rough hand, kissed her
again, put her down on the ground, and bidding
Catharine and Hector a hasty "Good-bye," he rushed
out of the house. Bowed down as he was by his
own private sorrow, the sight of his sister's distress
was more than he could bear any longer. He would
still, however, willingly have helped them, had it
been possible. But'how can you help people who
will not help themselves? Advice, example, money,
allwas thrown away upon them. All he could do
now was to pity them.
Catharine scarcely noticed he had gone. To bitter
repentance for the past had succeeded the almost
overwhelming considerations of the future. What
was to become of them? She saw misery staring
them in the face. Who was to pay for Frangois'
illness, and all the little comforts he ought to have?
To her brother, after all that had passed, and all
the misery they had brought upon him, she felt
it was impossible to look for any assistance.
How lonely and desolate she felt, as she sat watch-
ing at the foot of Francois' bed, her head buried in
her hands, the tears trickling silently down her
But she had too much to do, to be able to sit long
lamenting over their hard fate. Frangois awoke;
he was very feverish and restless, and she had as
much as she could do to soothe and tend him.
He was also in great pain, and although he did
not say much, she could see how he suffered from
the expression of his face. She sat up all night with
As the hours of the night wore on, she began
once more to think of Leon. He ought to have
returned at least by eight o'clock; it was now near
midnight, and no Leon was yet to be seen.
"He must have been detained by something, and
will be back in time for the morning tide, I've no
doubt," she said, half aloud, as if to convince herself.
But, in reality, the fear that he had been seized and
carried off to Cherbourg was becoming every instant
Towards morning, quite worn out with fatigue,
she fell asleep and was awakened by Therence, who
had been out the first thing with Hector to unload
their father's boat, which had been forgotten in the
hurry and confusion of the preceding day.
Catharine, who had been dreaming of Leon, awoke
with a start, and instantly exclaimed-
What's the matter? Therence, where's your
Th6rence, thinking she meant Hector, replied
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.- 75
"Oh, down on the beach cleaning the boat."
Catharine was quite relieved. With a more cheer-
ful heart, she got up to light the fire and prepare
some gruel for Frangois.
Francois was a little better; he had slept the
latter half of the night, and Catharine began to think
all would soon be well with them again.
She told Therence to tie up a few whitings, as
payment for the doctor when he came; and set to
work to get the family breakfast ready. Hector
came in shortly afterwards.
"Go and tell Leon to come in to breakfast,
Hector," said she, as she put the saucepan of soup
on the table.
Very well; where is he, mother ?"
Down on the beach cleaning the boat."
"No, indeed, he isn't. I have just come from her
myself," replied Hector.
What did you mean by saying he was there,
Therence?" said her mother.
"I did not. I thought you meant Hector. I do
not think Leon has come home yet."
"Not home yet!" cried poor Catharine, turning
pale. It was in vain she sat down to breakfast; she
could not touch a morsel, she was so anxious, but
kept looking out of window in the direction he would
"Meanwhile the tide was on the turn: the last
76 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
smack had just put off. Leon would at any rate be
too late to go out fishing to-day. What could he be
While she was looking out, up came M. Bouvier,
the doctor. He came in, stayed a few minutes, said
Francois was going on very well, recommended
Catharine to get him a softer mattress, to keep him
warm, and added that in a few days some wine
would be very good for him, without thinking
whether she had the means to procure them. Then
he began talking of a subject everybody was full of
now-the war with Russia.
Fortunately for Catharine the doctor did not stay
long talking. She could not hear the war mentioned
now without shuddering.
But the work of the day must be done: she must
Therence sat silently and sadly down in the door-
way to work at her lace-making, while her mother
washed up, made the black bread, and attended to
Franqois. Even Hector's spirits were damped. He
came and sat down to net by his sister's side,
and asked her all that had happened with his uncle.
The day wore away, and no Leon appeared. When
evening came Catharine began to be quite ill with
anxiety. What would they do, thus suddenly
deprived of both the bread-winners of the family.
Towards evening, came one of the fishermen, who
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
had been to Honfleur the day before. He was an
old battered-looking man, who had been a very kind
neighbour of theirs. He came in and sat down in the
porch; and, after giving the children a few friendly
pats, he said to Catharine, that he had seen Leon the
day before at Honfleur; and then, putting his hand
into his pocket, pulled out a dirty piece of paper
on which a few words were scribbled in pencil.
It was from Leon, who was the only one of the
family who could write. It was instantly given to
Therence, who after great trouble spelled out the
"Jaques Pac6me will give you this, and tell
you all about me. Keep up your spirits and don't
fret about me. In the autumn I hope we shall all
meet again. Next week I am off to the Baltic on
board the 'Vigilant.'
"Your affectionate son,
Old Jaques Pacome told them that he had seen
more than half a dozen fine young men taken off the
day before at Honfleur, for the service," as he called
Therence had to read the letter over and over
again. Catharine, in spite of her fears, would not
believe that her daughter read it right.
When the old fisherman had gone, she gave way
to all the despair she felt. How were they to
live ? The fishing season would pass without their
being able to make anything. The winter would
Nothing could keep them from the most abject
poverty, and should Conscience again insist on being
paid and turn them out of their cottage, which was
the only way he ever could get his money, she
did not know what would become of them.
She made a great effort, however, to overcome
this feeling of despair. She worked all day, scarcely
allowing herself time to sleep. Still, with her sick
husband to attend to, in addition to all the other work
of the cottage, she had not much time for lace-making.
Thdrence worked very hard, but the poor little
girl could not earn much with all her endeavours.
Hector got occasionally a few pence for helping to
unload the boats when they returned. But Dive is
so poor a place, that there was scarcely any one who
could give him any work.
It was on Th6rence's earnings, then, chiefly that
the family had to subsist. Occasional presents of fish
was all that their friends could afford to give them.
Catharine had to sell many of the poor articles the
cottage possessed to get food that her husband could
Frangois himself, weak and depressed, did not
THE NEW FISHING SMA CK.
recover. For a long time the bone would not set,
and they had to go to great expense to get food
and stimulants for him.
Hector grew grave and sad. He often used to
talk with Therence, as to what he could do!
"Fish is now so plentiful. Oh, if I only had the
strength, I would catch such a lot! Mother is
getting quite ill, and we soon shall have nothing
left in the cottage. And you, Therrie, you do not
know how pale and thin you have grown, and I can
do nothing-nothing. I am sure if father would let
me have the boat, I could manage her. I am now
twelve years old."
Do you really think you could manage the boat,
"Yes; I am quite sure of it."
"Do you know, Hector, I am afraid mother has
been borrowing more money. Last week she
pawned all her clothes but those she has on. The
day before yesterday I was getting on famously with
this piece of lace, for which I was to have six
shillings from.Madame Giraud up at the Chateau;
but yesterday I cut my finger, and although there
were only a few inches to do, I have not yet finished
"We shall have to sell the boat next," said
Hector, gloomily. Therence, if you are not afraid,
and would come out with me, together, I am sure, we
So PASSE-TOUT; OR,
should catch no end of fish. You would help rne to
spread the nets."
"But father will never let you have the boat,
I know," said Thdrence.
"Why should he know anything about it? He
will be sure to forgive us, when he sees how much
fish we bring home."
It was now about a month since the accident, and
Fran9ois, unable to do anything, was strolling about
sadly, with his arm in a sling.
The two children were sitting in the porch talking
in an under tone, which they ceased as their father
drew near. Therence had lost all her good looks,
and was pale and thin from insufficient clothing, and
stooping continually over her lace pillow.
Fran9ois stood looking at them a few minutes, and
then turned aside, sighing heavily.
Should you be afraid to go ? whispered Hector,
as soon as his father had gone away.
"I afraid!" said Therence: "no; I was only
thinking whether it would be right."
"What harm can there be? We shan't hurt the
boat. We will only go if the sea is very calm.
That is why I want you to make up your mind
quickly. The sea is like a river to day, and it will
be high-water about half-past four or five. We can
slip out after supper, nobody will miss us; and even
supposing we do not catch much, it will not be
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
waste time, for you cannot work with that bad finger.
See, it is going to gather!"
"What, and be out all night on the sea?" said
Therence, looking at her brother.
"Yes; there is no danger in the world. But you
are afraid. You are a regular girl."
"There you are out," cried Therence; and
though I am a girl I believe I am as brave as you
are, but I am not quite so strong."
Will you come, then?"
"All right, then. I will go and make everything
ready," and off ran Hector in high spirits.
He waited in great impatience until the few men
who were-on the beach had gone in for their after-
noon meal, previous to putting out to sea, and then
he set to work in the boat, arranging the fishing
tackle, and making everything ready.
Two or three times he was startled during this
occupation, and once nearly caught by his father
coming suddenly out of their cottage, right in front
of the boat. But Hector laid himself down flat
in the bottom, and covered himself over with a
In a few minutes Frangois went back again, and
Hector resumed his work.
At four o'clock Therence came to call her brother
into supper. She was now quite as excited as he
was, and greatly afraid lest Francois should catch
them before they were off. The sea was as smooth
as a lake, with a slight breeze off shore, which would
greatly help them to get out.
They ate their brown bread and drank their soup
as fast as they could, and then, watching their oppor-
tunity, slipped out. Hector had already pushed
the boat towards the water-and the tide being
now fully in, it had but a very few feet further
In order to launch the boat Hector placed
some beams of wood lying about the beach
under the prow. This prevented the boat from
sinking into the shingle, and allowed it to move
Therence helped; down went the boat into the
water, and the children scrambled, regardless of wet
feet, up the side of it.
In a few minutes Hector got up the sail, and away
they glided over the sea, as smoothly and as easily
as if they had been in a boat on a pond.
Then Therence and Hector looked at one another.
"What fun, Hector!" cried Therence.
"Yes; is not it jolly?" answered he, and they
"All by ourselves, too!" said Therence. "I wonder
what father and mother will say ?"
"I don't know; but they will be precious glad
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
when they see what a lot of fish we catch," said
It must not be supposed that this was Therence's
first voyage; in former days, before she had'to make
lace, she used very often to go out to see the lobster
baskets brought in, and if she had had the strength
she would have been nearly as good a sailor as
That evening Frangois felt very weak and ill, and
he did not stir out again after supper. Catharine
put aside her other work, and sat down to finish the
little bit of lace Therence had left unfinished. There
was not more than half an hour's work, and when
she had done it, she set off to the Chateau to take it
home, for she wanted the money very much.
She did not miss Hector and Therence till she
came back, when it was quite late in the evening.
"Where are the children, Frangois?" she asked.
"I don't know he replied. "I have not seen
them since you went out. I think they must have
gone to bed."
I dare say; Therence looked very tired. She
will be glad to hear that I have got seven shillings
for that piece of lace."
She must have a holiday," said Frangois.
"Yes!" said Catharine, "I will send her to-morrow
to get some of my clothes out of pawn."
Catharine was quite in spirits, such a windfall the
84 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
poor family had not had for a long time, and it was
all by Therence's untiring industry.
Lately she had been working from morning to
night without ceasing. Fran9ois said, "She is the
best girl in the world!"
Catharine opened the door into the back room of
the cottage (it had but two rooms), to take a look at
her, and if she were awake to tell her the good news.
What was her surprise, then, to find no one there!
"Where can the children have gone to, Frangois?"
Are not they there? Oh, then they are out
somewhere, having a run, poor things."
Catharine went to the door and called them; but
She went out on the beach and called again; all
was silent, the boats and men were all out on the
sea, and their families in-doors and asleep.
After wandering about for half an hour Catharine
returned, and found the dog Mopse, restless avnd
whining for his master. Frangois had gone to sleep.
She did not like to wake him, but finding the chil-
dren had not yet returned, she went out again with
Mopse in search of them.
She now began to be really uneasy. She went to
several cottages where she fancied they might be,
but nobody had seen or heard anything of them.
At last she was obliged to return home, but she
was too anxious to go to bed, and sat up all through
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
the night waiting for them. Sleep and rest were so
necessary for Frangois' recovery, that she dared not
When morning dawned she went out again, and
then, for the first time, she missed the boat. How
terrified she was at this discovery! The idea of
their having been out all night at sea by themselves
Several people came out to talk to her.
She waited down on the beach in the greatest
anxiety until the fishermen should return. The tide
was now again in, and many sails were to be seen
over the sea, coming homewards.
Old Jaques Pac6me's boat was the first to come
in; Catharine ran up: "Have you seen anything of
our boat ? she cried. "Hector and Therence have
gone out in her unknown to us, and been out at
sea all night. At least, so we suppose, for they are
not to be found anywhere, and the boat is gone."
"No; indeed, I have not. But are you sure they
are out? It has been a sharpish night out at sea."
Where else can they be? and who can have
taken the boat?"
Perhaps they are coming in now, with the rest
of them," said old Jaques, looking over the sea.
"Hector is sailor enough to know when the tide is
in, and will be sure to come back."
Meanwhile the other boats began to come in.
Catharine asked eagerly the same question of each,
and received always the same answer. She strained
her eyes to look over the sea. The boats were all in
now save "Passe-tout," and not a sail was to be seen
even on the horizon.
Frangois came out, and was in great alarm, when
he heard that the two children had not been seen all
night, and that the boat was gone. He had no doubt
that they were in it. What was to be done? Help-
less with his broken arm, what could Frangois do ?
Catharine sat down on the beach, weeping bitterly.
Had Frangois had the use of his arm he would have
borrowed old PacSme's boat, and put out to sea in
a minute to go in search of them.
The fishermen were all tired with their night's
work, and besides the sky began to look very windy.
The breeze of the evening before was now a strong
wind off shore. Francois felt sure that unaided,
they would never be able to return.
At last, old Pacome, who was very fond of Hector,
volunteered to go in search of them. Everybody
ran to help him to get his boat unloaded, and ready
to go to sea again.
Indeed there was not a minute to be lost, for the
tide was already on the ebb, and nobody can leave
Dive or enter it, except when the tide is fully in.
Frangois, in spite of his weakness, and although
he could do nothing, insisted on going too.
THE NEW FISHINGG SMACK. 87
In less than half- an hour they were off, and poor
Catharine was left all alone on the beach. It was
indeed a weary day for her; how anxiously every
hour passed; how she ran out whenever she fancied
she saw a sail on the sea; and how bitterly dis-
appointed she was, when it turned out to be
Twelve hours must at least pass before they
could return, but although she knew this perfectly
well, she could not help going constantly out on
to the beach to look over the ocean.
In the meantime, what really had become of the
two children? They had gone off in great glee
before a slight breeze.
Hector managed to take the boat in the usual
direction his father went. When they had gone out
some way they had taken in their sail and spread
their nets. Fish was very plentiful; and their first
net contained so much, that they scarcely had
strength enough to draw it up. After a great deal
of tugging and hauling, however, they succeeded
in pulling it up.
"Oh, Hector," cried Therence, "did you ever see
such a lot of fishes? Oh, how delighted they will be,
and how surprised!"
Oh, we will catch ever so much more before
we have done. Come and help me put these into
88 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
Therence was still quite red in the face, and out of
breath with tugging.
What a pity," said Hector, "we did not think of
sinking some lobster baskets-who knows, we might
have caught some of them too!"
"Never mind now, we can do that another day,"
said his sister. "Let's haul in another net, for
it must be getting late, and we must take care that
we do not stop out too long."
Oh, you need not be afraid. I know all about
that. Do you suppose I have never been out to sea
Then came another great tugging and hauling
to get in the second net. Just as they were about to
draw this full of fish into the boat, Therence, quite
exhausted, and unable to hold up such a weight any
longer, let her end go, and all the fishes fell back,
and slipped away again into the water.
"How stupid! How provoking of you! cried
"Indeed, I could not help it. The net was so
heavy. Next time suppose we let some of the
fish go before we attempt to pull it in, then it
will not be so heavy, and I shall be able to do
"That's a good idea," said Hector, who was
scarcely strong enough himself to pull such a
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
This they accordingly did; but the fish were so
numerous that they could not leave them, but
continued pulling up draught after draught. They
worked so hard and took so long over each draught,
that neither of them took notice of how the time
It was a fine starlight night, and by means of
a torch they could see to work very well. They
both thought it fine fun, particularly as their father
and mother knew nothing about their being out.
Th4rence once thought, perhaps her mother might
be anxious should she miss them, but Hector thought
this quite impossible.
How can she? You know Therence," he said,
" she was going out to Madame Giraud's up at the
Chateau this evening, and we shall be in by five in
the morning, so that she cannot have the time to miss
us. The very idea's quite absurd."
Oh, I am so tired, Hector," cried Therence. I
cannot do any more. I am sure we ought to be
going home now; it is getting quite light."
"Well, perhaps we had," said he. "I wish we
had thought of bringing some bread with us, I am so
Dear me, does not it look very black and stormy
over there ? said Th4rence.
"Where? Oh, that's nothing," said Hector;
" come and help me hoist the sail."
90 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
Poor Thdrence was quite tired out. She assisted
her brother as much as she could, and then sat down
on the edge of a fish basket. Tired, hungry, and
very sleepy, she soon began to feel cold.
Hector had been out once or twice by night before,
but she never.
The wind was now quite strong, and they were
obliged to tack about in order to approach the shore.
Hector could not manage this very weU. The sun
rose when they were still out of sight of land.
Oh, what shall we do ? We shall be too late,"
cried poor Therence.
Hector was a little bit frightened, though he tried
to reassure her. He looked about, but no sails and
no land were to be seen.
Are you sure we are going right, Hector ?"
"Oh, yes. See, there is the east on our left. We
are going south, as fast as we can."
Th6rence felt a strong desire to cry. Meanwhile
day dawned. Towards the east the sky became
one sheet of golden light, with little red and purple
clouds floating about in the bright, deep blue beyond.
Each wave was again sparkling in the sun-light.
Gradually, however, the beautiful golden light faded
away, the last star disappeared, the sun was hidden
by a large mass of clouds, and daylight, broad day-
light had come.
Then poor Therence could no longer control her-
THENVE W FISHING SMACK.
self; she knew it must be past five o'clock, and yet
they could see no land. She burst into tears.
Hector himself was quite tired out too.
"Don't cry, dear Therrie," he said, "we will be
.all right soon. How cold you are! Here, take
my coat. I am not a bit cold. Lie down and go
to sleep. You are quite tired. I can manage the
For a long time Therence refused; but at last,
in spite of herself, she went to sleep sitting up on
the basket, and then fell off down on to the deck.
Hector wrapped her up in his coat and made her
as comfortable as he could.
Ah! how lonely he felt now, out at sea by himself,
with his sister tired and ill. He thought he should
not have minded it half so much had he been by
himself. But suppose anything happened to her,
what could he do?
He climbed the mast and tied his red cotton hand-
kerchief up there, in the hope that somebody might
see it and come to help them.
Meanwhile the wind rose higher and higher; it
was dead off shore. He tacked about, but could
make no way.
Fortunately Therence was asleep. He did not
think that there could be any danger in her sleeping.
At last, in despair, he took down the sail. He could
do nothing more. He could not steer the boat any
92 PASSE-TOUT; OR,
longer, his hands were so numbed with cold; and
the sail therefore only impeded their movements.
He was faint with hunger, and crept down close
by his sister for warmth. She was so cold when
he touched her, that he was quite startled.
He sat up and looked anxiously over the sea
on all sides in search of a sail. He looked and
looked till everything seemed dim to him, and then,
gradually, his head sank on his breast, and he was
quite insensible. Fatigue, hunger, terror, and cold
had completely overcome him.
How long he remained like this the could not
recollect; when he opened his eyes, his father and
old Jaques were leaning over him, pouring some
brandy down his throat. It was then nearly four
o'clock;- they had been out almost twenty-four
Jaques and Franoois had been sailing about all
day in the greatest anxiety, and had at last been
able to discover them by Hector's red handker-
Frangois was still too frightened and uneasy to
find time to scold him, for Therence was still quite
insensible. They wrapped her up in their great
coats, rubbed her hands and feet, and dropped a few
spoonfuls of brandy down her throat.
"Well, come, Francois," said old Jaques, "here
is the little chap come to I t'other will be all right
THE NEW FISHING SMACK.
in a minute. Just wait till I give her a little more
But until they reached the shore poor little
Therriea gave no signs of life. Her mother was
on the beach waiting with sickening anxiety the
arrival of the boats. With what inexpressible joy
she ran to meet them. She seized Therence in her
arms, and insisted on carrying her home herself.
A kind neighbour came in to help her to light the
fire and warm the bed for the poor little unconscious
girl. They chafed her limbs and put hot bottles to
her feet, and did everything they could think of to
warm and rouse her. Poor Hector, still quite stupi-
fled and giddy, stood by in the greatest distress. He
began to think his dear little sister was dead. And
I persuaded her to come out," the poor boy said to
himself. "I am the cause of it all: oh! whatever
shall I do ?"
Presently, however, Therence gave a deep sigh and
half opened her eyes. She stared about her vacantly
for a minute, turned round, and closed her eyes again.
But a faint colour had come back to her lips and
cheeks. Hector, now that he saw his sister was safe,
could hold up no longer, and went away to hide him-
self and cry in a corner.
They gave Therence a little brandy and some
weak broth, after taking which the child seemed