HotFreeBooks.com
A Village of Vagabonds
by F. Berkeley Smith
Previous Part     1  2  3  4
Home - Random Browse

To the right of him crouched the restaurant, a low wooden structure, with its back to the breakers. It has the appearance of being cast there at high tide, its zigzag line of tiled roofs drying in the air and sun, like the scaled shell of some stranded monster of the sea. There is a cavernous old kitchen within, resplendent in shining copper—a busy kitchen to-day, sizzling in good things and pungent with the aroma of two tender young chickens, basting on a spit, a jolly old kitchen, far more enticing than the dingy long dining-room adjoining it, whose walls are frescoed in panels representing bottle-green lobsters, gaping succulent clams, and ferocious crabs sidling away indignantly from nets held daintily by fine ladies and their gallants, in costumes that were in vogue before the revolution. Even when it pours, this cheerless old dining-room at The Three Wolves is deserted, since there are half a score of far cosier little round pavilions for lovers and intimate friends, built over the oyster pools.

Beyond them, hard by the desolate beach, lie the rocks known as The Three Wolves. In calm weather the surf smashes over their glistening backs—at low water, as it happened to be to-day, the seethe of the tide scurried about their dripping bellies green with hairy sea-weed.

Now and then came cheery ripples of laughter from our little pavilion, where Germaine and Alice de Breville were arranging a mass of scarlet nasturtiums, twining their green leaves and tendrils amongst the plates of hors d'oeuvres and among the dust-caked bottles of Chablis and Burgundy—Alice, whose dark hair and olive skin are in strong contrast to Germaine's saucy beauty.

They had banished Tanrade, who had offered his clumsy help—and spilled the sardines. He had climbed on the roof and dropped pebbles down on them through the cracks and had later begged forgiveness through the key-hole. Now he was yelling like an Indian, this celebrated composer of ballets, as he swung a little peasant maid of ten in a creaky swing beyond the pool—a dear little maid with eyes as dark as Alice's, who screamed from sheer delight, and insisted on that good fellow playing all the games that lay about them, from tonneau to bilboquet.

Together, the cure and I carried the basket, now plentifully filled with oysters back to the kitchen, while Tanrade was hailed from the pavilion, much to the little maid's despair.

"Depechez-vous!" cried Alice, who had straightway embraced her exiled Tanrade on his return and was now waving a summons to the cure and myself.

"Bon," shouted back the cure. "Allons, mes enfants, a table—and the one who has no appetite shall be cast into the sea—by the heels," added his reverence.

What a breakfast followed! Such a rushing of little maids back and forth from the jolly kitchen with the great platters of oysters. What a sole smothered in a mussel sauce! What a lobster, scarlet as the cap of a cardinal and garnished with crisp romaine! and the chickens! and the mutton! and the souffle of potatoes, and the salad of shrimps—Mon Dieu! What a luncheon, "sprayed," as the French say, with that rare old Chablis and mellow Burgundy! And what laughter and camaraderie went with it from the very beginning, for to be at table with friends in France is to be en fete—it is the hour when hearts are warmest and merriest.

Ah, you dear little women! You who know just when to give those who love you a friendly pressure of the hand, or the gift of your lips if needs be, even in the presence of so austere a personage as Monsieur le Cure. You who understand. You who are tender or merry with the mood, or contrary to the verge of exasperation—only to caress with the subtle light of your eyes and be forgiven.

It was not until we had reached our coffee and liqueur, that the surprise for the cure was forthcoming. Hardly had the tiny glasses been filled, when the clear tone of the bell ringing from the ancient church of The Three Wolves made us cease our talk to listen.

Alice turned to the cure; it was evidently the moment she had been waiting for.

"Listen," said Alice softly—"how delicious!"

"It is the bell of Ste. Marie," returned the cure.

Even Tanrade was silent now, for his reverence had made the sign of the cross. As his fingers moved I saw a peculiar look come into his eyes—a look of mingled disappointment and resignation.

Again Alice spoke: "Your cracked bell at Pont du Sable has not long to ring, my friend," she said very tenderly.

"One must be content, my child, with what one has," replied the cure.

Alice leaned towards him and whispered something in his ear, Germaine smiling the while.

I saw his reverence give a little start of surprise.

"No, no," he protested half aloud. "Not that; it is too much to ask of you with all your rehearsals at the Bouffes Parisiennes coming."

"Parbleu!" exclaimed Alice, "it will not be so very difficult—I shall accomplish it, you shall see what a concert we shall give—we shall make a lot of money; every one will be there. It has the voice of a frog, your bell. Dieu! What a fuss it makes over its crack. You shall have a new one—two new ones, mon ami, even if we have to make bigger the belfry of your little gray church to hang them."

The cure grew quite red. I saw for an instant his eyes fill with tears, then with a benign smile, he laid his hand firmly over Alice's and lifting the tips of her fingers, kissed them twice in gratefulness.

He was very happy. He was happy all the way back in Germaine's yellow car to Pont du Sable. Happy when he thrust his heavy key in the rusty lock of the small door that let him into his silent garden, cool under the stars, and sweet with the scent of roses.

* * * * *

A long winter has passed since that memorable luncheon at The Three Wolves. Our little pavilion over the emerald pool will never see us reunited, I fear. A cloud has fallen over my good friend the cure, a cloud so unbelievable, and yet so dense, if it be true, and so filled with ominous mutterings of thunder and lightning, crime, defalcation, banishment, and the like, that I go about my work dazed at the rumoured situation.

They tell me the cure still says mass, and when it is over, regains the presbytery by way of the back lane skirting the marsh. I am also told that he rarely even ventures into his garden, but spends most of his days and half of his nights alone in his den with the door locked, and strict orders to his faithful old servant Marie, who adores him, that he will see no one who calls.

For days I have not laid eyes on him—he who kept his napkin tied in a sailor's knot in my cupboard and came to breakfast, luncheon, or dinner when he pleased, waking up my house abandoned by the marsh with his good humour, joking with Suzette, my little maid-of-all-work, until her fair cheeks grew the rosier, and rousing me out of the blues with his quick wit and his hearty laugh.

It seems impossible to me that he is guilty of what he is accused of, yet the facts seem undeniable.

Only the good go wrong, is it not so? The bad have become so commonplace, they do not attract our attention.

Now the ways of the cure were always just. I have never known him to do a mean thing in his life, far less a dishonest one. I have known him to give the last few sous he possessed to a hungry fisherwoman who needed bread for herself and her brood of children and content himself with what was left among the few remaining vegetables in his garden. There are days, too, when he is forced to live frugally upon a peasant soup and a pear for dinner, and there have been occasions to my knowledge, when the soup had to be omitted and his menu reduced to a novel, a cigarette and the pear.

It is a serious matter, the separation of the state from the church in France, since it has left the priest with the munificent salary of four hundred francs a year, out of which he must pay his rent and give to the poor.

Once we dined nobly together upon two fat sparrows, and again we had a blackbird for dinner. He had killed it that morning from his window, while shaving, for I saw the lather dried on the stock of his duck gun.

Monsieur le Cure is ingenious when it comes to hard times.

Again, there are days when he is in luck, when some generous parishioner has had the forethought to restock his larder. Upon such bountiful occasions he insists on Tanrade and myself dining with him at the presbytery as long as these luxuries last, refusing to dine with either of us until there is no more left of his own to give.

The last time I saw him, I had noticed a marked change in his reverence. He was moody and unshaven, and his saucerlike hat was as dusty and spotted as his frayed soutane. Only now and then he gave out flashes of his old geniality and even they seemed forced. I was amazed at the change in him, and yet, when I consider all I have heard since, I do not wonder much at his appearance.

Tanrade tells me (and he evidently believes it) that some fifteen hundred francs, raised by Alice's concert and paid over to the cure to purchase the bells for his little gray church at Pont du Sable, have disappeared and that his reverence refuses to give any account.

Despite his hearty Bohemian spirit, Tanrade, like most musicians, is a dreamer and as ready as a child to believe anything and anybody. Being a master of the pianoforte and a composer of rare talent, he can hardly be called sane. And yet, though I have seen him enthusiastic, misled, moved to tears over nothing, indignant over an imaginary insult, or ready to forgive any one who could be fool enough to be his enemy, I have never known him so thoroughly upset or so positive in his convictions as when the other morning, as I sat loafing before my fire, he entered my den.

"It is incredible, mon vieux, incredible!" he gasped, throwing himself disconsolately into my arm-chair. "I have just been to the presbytery. Not only does he refuse to give an account of the money, but he declines to offer any explanation beyond the one that he "spent it." Moreover, he sits hunched up before his stove in his little room off the kitchen, chewing the end of a cigarette. Why, he didn't even ask me to have a drink—the cure, mon ami—our cure—Mon Dieu, what a mess! Ah, mon Dieu!"

He sank his chin in his hands and gazed at me with a look of utter despair.

I regarded him keenly, then I went to the decanter and poured out for him a stiff glass of applejack.

"Drink that," said I, "and get normal."

With an impetuous gesture he waved it away.

"No, not now!" he exclaimed, "wait until I tell you all—nothing until I tell you."

"Go on, then," I returned, "I want to hear all about this wretched business. Go slow and tell it to me from top to bottom. I am not as convinced of the cure's guilt as you are, old boy. There may be nothing in it more than a pack of village lies; and if there is a vestige of the truth, we may, by putting our heads together, help matters."

He started to speak, but I held up my hand.

"One thing before you proceed," I declared with conviction. "I can no more believe the cure is dishonest than Alice or yourself. It is ridiculous to presume so for a moment. I have known the cure too well. He is a prince. He has a heart as big as all outdoors. Look at the good he's done in this village! There is not a vagabond in it but will tell you he is as right as rain. Ask the people he helps what they think of him, they'll tell you 'he's just the cure for Pont du Sable.' Voila! That's what they'll tell you, and they mean it. All the gossip in the world can't hurt him. Here," I cried, forcing the glass into his hand, "get that down you, you maker of ballets, and proceed with the horrible details, but proceed gently, merrily, with the right sort of beat in your heart, for the cure is as much a friend of yours as he is of mine."

Tanrade shrugged his broad shoulders, and for some moments sipped his glass. At length, he set it down on the broad table at his elbow, and said slowly: "You know how good Alice is, how much she will do for any one she is fond of—for a friend, I mean, like the cure. Very well, it is not an easy thing to give a concert in Paris that earns fifteen hundred francs for a cure whom, it is safe to say, no one in the audience, save Germaine, Alice and myself had ever heard of. It was a veritable tour de force to organize. You were not there. I'm glad you were not. It was a dull old concert that would not have amused you much—Lassive fell ill at the last moment, Delmar was in a bad humour, and the quartet had played the night before at a ball at the Elysee and were barely awake. Yet in spite of it the theatre was packed; a chic audience, too. Frambord came out with half a column in the Critique des Arts with a pretty compliment to Alice's executive energy, and added 'that it was one of the rare soirees of the season.' He must have been drunk when he wrote it. I played badly—I never can play when they gabble. It was as garrulous as a fish market in front. Enfin! It was over and we telegraphed his reverence the result; from a money standpoint it was a 'succes fou.'"

Tanrade leaned back and for a few seconds gazed at the ceiling of my den.

"Where every penny has gone," he resumed, with a strained smile, "Dieu sait! There is no bell, not even the sound of one, et voila!"

He turned abruptly and reached for his glass, forgetting he had drained it. A fly was buzzing on its back in the last drop. And then we both smiled grimly, for we were thinking of Monsieur le Cure.

I rang the bell of the presbytery early the next morning, by inserting my jackknife, to spare my fingers, in a loop at the end of a crooked wire which dangles over the rambling wall of the cure's garden. The door itself is of thick oak, and framed by stones overgrown with lichens—a solid old playground for nervous lizards when the sun shines, and a favourite sticking place for snails when it rains. I had to tug hard on the crooked wire before I heard a faint jingle issuing in response from the cure's cavernous kitchen, whose hooded chimney and stone-paved floor I love to paint.

Now came the klop-klop of a pair of sabots—then the creak of a heavy key as it turned over twice in the rusty lock, and his faithful Marie cautiously opened the garden door. I do not know how old Marie is, there is so little left of this good soul to guess by. Her small shrunken body is bent from age and hard work. Her hands are heavy—the fingers gnarled and out of proportion to her gaunt thin wrists. She has the wrinkled, leathery face of some kindly gnome. She opened her eyes in a sort of mute appeal as I inquired if Monsieur le Cure was at home.

"Ah! My poor monsieur, his reverence will see no one"—she faltered—"Ah! Mais"—she sighed, knowing that I knew the change in her master and the gossip thereof.

"My good Marie," I said, persuasively patting her bony shoulder, "tell his reverence that I must see him. Old friends as we are—"

"Bon Dieu, oui!" she exclaimed after another sigh. "Such old friends as you and he—I will go and see," said she, and turned bravely back down the path that led to his door while I waited among the roses.

A few moments later Marie beckoned to me from the kitchen window.

"He will see you," she whispered, as I crossed the stone floor of the kitchen. "He is in the little room," and she pointed to a narrow door close by the big chimney, a door provided with old-fashioned little glass panes upon which are glued transparent chromos of wild ducks.

I knocked gently.

"Entrez!" came a tired voice from within.

I turned the knob and entered his den—a dingy little box of a room, sunk a step below the level of the kitchen, with a smoke-grimed ceiling and corners littered with dusty books and pamphlets.

He was sitting with his back to me, humped up in a worn arm-chair, before his small stove, just as Tanrade had found him. As I edged around his table—past a rack holding his guns, half-hidden under two dilapidated game bags and a bicycle tyre long out of service, he turned his hollow eyes to mine, with a look I shall long remember, and feebly grasped my outstretched hand.

"Come," said I, "you're going to get a grip on yourself, mon ami. You're going to get out of this wretched, unkempt state of melancholia at once. Tanrade has told me much. You know as well as I do, the village is a nest of gossip—that they make a mountain out of a molehill; if I were a pirate chief and had captured this vagabond port, I'd have a few of those wagging tongues taken out and keel-hauled in the bay."

He started as if in pain, and again turned his haggard eyes to mine.

"I don't believe there's a word of truth in it," I declared hotly.

"There—is," he returned hoarsely, trembling so his voice faltered—"I am—a thief."

He sat bolt-upright in his chair, staring at me like a man who had suddenly become insane. His declaration was so sudden and amazing, that for some moments I knew not what to reply, then a feeling of pity took possession of me. He was still my friend, whatever he had done. I saw his gaze revert to the crucifix hanging between the steel engravings of two venerable saints, over the mantel back of the stove—a mantel heaped with old shot bags and empty cartridge shells.

"How the devil did it happen?" I blurted out at length. "You don't mean to say you stole the money?"

"Spent it," he replied half inaudibly.

"How spent it? On yourself?"

"No, no! Thank God—"

"How, then?"

He leaned forward, his head sunk in his hands, his eyes riveted upon mine.

"There is—so—much—dire—need of money," he said, catching his breath between his words. "We are all human—all weak in the face of another's misery. It takes a strong heart, a strong mind, a strong body to resist. There are some temptations too terrible even for a priest. I wish with all my heart that Alice had never given it into my hands."

I started to speak, but he held up his arms.

"Do not ask me more," he pleaded—"I cannot tell you—I am ill and weak—my courage is gone."

"Is there any of the money left?" I ventured quietly, after waiting in vain for him to continue.

"I do not know," he returned wearily, "most of it has gone—over there, beneath the papers, in the little drawer," he said pointing to the corner; "I kept it there. Yes, there is some left—but I have not dared count it."

Again there ensued a painful silence, while I racked my brain for a scheme that might still save the situation, bad as it looked. In the state he was in, I had not the heart to worry out of him a fuller confession. Most of the fifteen hundred francs was gone, that was plain enough. What he had done with it I could only conjecture. Had he given it to save another I wondered. Some man or woman whose very life and reputation depended upon it? Had he fallen in love hopelessly and past all reasoning? There is no man that some woman cannot make her slave. It was not many years ago, that a far more saintly priest than he eloped to Belgium with a pretty seamstress of Les Fosses. Then I thought of Germaine!—that little minx, badly in debt—perhaps? No, no, impossible! She was too clever—too honest for that.

"Have you seen Alice?" I broke our silence with at length.

He shook his head wearily. "I could not," he replied, "I know the bitterness she must feel toward me."

At that moment Marie knocked at the door. As she entered, I saw that her wrinkled face was drawn, as with lowered eyes she regarded a yellow envelope stamped with the seal of the Republique Francaise.

With a trembling hand she laid it beside the cure, and left the room.

The cure started, then he rose nervously to his feet, steadying himself against the table's edge as he tore open the envelope, and glanced at its contents. With a low moan he sank back in his chair.—"Go," he pleaded huskily, "I wish to be alone—I have been summoned before the mayor."

* * * * *

Never before in the history of the whole country about, had a cure been hauled to account. Pont du Sable was buzzing like a beehive over the affair. Along its single thoroughfare, flanked by the stone houses of the fishermen, the gossips clustered in groups. From what I caught in passing proved to me again that his reverence had more friends than enemies.

It was in the mayor's kitchen, which serves him as executive chamber as well, that the official investigation took place.

With the exception of the Municipal Council, consisting of the baker, the butcher, the grocer, and two raisers of cattle, none were to be admitted at the mayor's save Tanrade, myself and Alice de Breville, whose presence the mayor had judged imperative, and who had been summoned from Paris.

Tanrade and I had arrived early—the mayor greeting us at the gate of his trim little garden, and ushering us to our chairs in the clean, well-worn kitchen, with as much solemnity as if there had been a death in the house. Here we sat, under the low ceiling of rough beams and waited in a funereal silence, broken only by the slow ticking of the tall clock in the corner. It was working as hard as it could, its brass pendulum swinging lazily toward three o'clock, the hour appointed for the investigation.

Monsieur le Maire to-day was no longer the genial, ruddy old raiser of cattle, who stops me whenever I pass his gate with a hearty welcome. He was all Mayor to-day, clean shaven to the raw edges of his cropped gray side-whiskers with a look of grave importance in his shrewd eyes and a firm setting of his wrinkled upper lip, that indicated the dignity of his office; a fact which was further accentuated by his carefully brushed suit of black, a clean starched collar and the tri-coloured silk sash, with gold tassels, which he is forced to gird his fat paunch with, when he either marries you or sends you to jail. The clock ticked on, its oaken case reflecting the copper light from the line of saucepans hanging beside it on the wall. Presently, the Municipal Council filed in and seated themselves about a centre table, upon which lay in readiness the official seal, pen, ink and paper. Being somewhat ill at ease in his starched shirt, the florid grocer coughed frequently, while the two cattle-raisers in their black blouses, talked in gutteral whispers over a bargain in calves. Through the open window, screened with cool vines, came the faint murmur of the village—suddenly it ceased. I rose, and going to the window, looked up the street. The cure was coming down it, striding along as straight as a savage, nodding to those who nodded to him. An old fisherwoman hobbled forth and kissed his hand. Young and old, gamblers of the sea, lifted their caps as he passed.

"The census of opinion is with him," I whispered to Tanrade, as I regained my chair. "He has his old grit with him, too."

The next instant, his reverence strode in before us—firm, cool, and so thoroughly master of himself that a feeling of intense relief stole over me.

"I have come," he said, in a clear, even voice, "in answer to your summons, Monsieur le Maire."

The mayor rose, bowed gravely, waved the cure to a chair opposite the Municipal Council, and continued in silence the closely written contents of two official documents containing the charge. The stopping of an automobile at his gate now caused him to look up significantly. Madame de Breville had arrived. As Alice entered every man in the room rose to his feet. Never had I seen her look lovelier, gowned, as she was, in simple black, her dark hair framing her exquisite features, pale as ivory, her sensitive mouth tense as she pressed Tanrade's hand nervously, and took her seat beside us. For an instant, I saw her dark eyes flash as she met the steady gaze of the cure's.

"In the name of the Republique Francaise," began the mayor in measured tones.

The cure folded his arms, his eyes fixed on the open door.

"Pardon me," interrupted Alice, "I wish it to be distinctly understood before you begin, Monsieur le Maire, that I am here wholly against my will."

The cure turned sharply.

"You have summoned me," continued Alice, "and there was no alternative but to come—I know nothing in detail concerning the charge against Monsieur le Cure, nor do I wish to take any part whatever in this unfortunate affair. It is imperative that I return to Paris in time to play to-night, I beg of you that you will let me go at once."

There was a polite murmur of surprise from the Municipal Council. The cure sprang to his feet.

"Alice, my child!" he cried, "look at me."

Her eyes met his own, her lips twitching nervously, her breast heaving.

"I wish you to judge me before you go," he pleaded. "They accuse me of being a thief;" his voice rose suddenly to its full vibrant strength; "they do not know the truth."

Alice leaned forward, her lips parted.

"God only knows what this winter has been," declared his reverence—"Empty nets—always empty nets."

He struck the table with his clenched fist. "Empty nets!" he cried, "until I could bear it no longer. My children were in dire need; they came to you," he declared, turning to the mayor, "and you refused them."

The mayor shrugged his shoulders with a grunt of resentment.

"I gave what I could, while it lasted, from the public fund," he explained frankly; "there were new roads to be cut."

"Roads!" shouted the cure. "What are roads in comparison to illness and starvation? They came to me," he went on, turning to Alice, "little children—mothers, ill, with little children and not a sou in the house, and none to be earned fishing. Old men crying for bread for those whom they loved. I grew to hate the very thought of the bells; they seemed to me a needless luxury among so much misery."

His voice rose until it rang clear in the room.

"I gave it to them," he cried out. "There in my little drawer lay the power to save those who were near death from sickness, from dirt, from privation!"

Alice's ringless white hands were clenched in her lap.

"And I saw, as I gave," continued the cure, "the end of pain and of hunger—little by little I gave, hoping somehow to replace it, until I dared give no more."

He paused, and drew forth from the breast of his soutane a small cotton sack that had once held his gun wads. "Here is what is left, gentlemen," said he, facing the Municipal Council; "I have counted it at last, four hundred and eighty francs, sixty-five centimes."

There were tears now in Alice's eyes; dark eyes that followed the cure's with a look of tenderness and pain. The mayor sat breathing irritably. As for the Municipal Council, it was evident to Tanrade and myself, that not one of these plain, red-eared citizens was eager to send a priest to jail—it was their custom occasionally to go to mass.

"Marianne's illness," continued the cure, "was an important item. You seemed to consider her case of typhoid as a malady that would cure itself if let alone. Marianne needed care, serious care, strong as she was. The girl, Yvonne, she saved from drowning last year, and her baby, she still shelters among her own children in her hut. They, too, had to be fed; for Marianne was helpless to care for them. There was the little boy, too, of the Gavons—left alone, with a case of measles well developed when I found him, on the draughty floor of a loft; the mother and father had been drunk together for three days at Bar la Rose. And there were others—the Mere Gailliard, who would have been sold out for her rent, and poor old Varnet, the fisherman; he had no home, no money, no friends; he is eighty-four years old. Most of the winter he slept in a hedge under a cast-off sail. I got him a better roof and something for his stomach, Monsieur le Maire."

He paused again, and drew out a folded paper from his pocket. "Here is a list of all I can remember I have given to, and the amounts as near as I can recall them," he declared simply. Again he turned to Alice. "It is to you, dear friend, I have come to confess," he continued; "as for you, gentlemen, my very life, the church I love, all that this village means to me, lies in your hands; I do not beg your mercy. I have sinned and I shall take the consequences—all I ask you to do is to judge fairly the error of my ways." Monsieur le Cure took his seat.

"It is for you, Madame de Breville, to decide," said the mayor, after some moments conference with the Council, "since the amount in question was given by your hand."

Alice rose—softly she slipped past the Municipal Council of Pont du Sable, until she stood looking up into the cure's eyes; then her arms went about his strong neck and she kissed him as tenderly as a sister.

"Child!" I heard him murmur.

"We shall give another concert," she whispered in his ear.



* * * * *





CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE MISER—GARRON

We've had a drowning at Pont du Sable. Drownings are not infrequent on this rough Norman coast of France. Only last December five able fishermen went down within plain sight of the dunes in a roaring white sea that gave no quarter. This gale by night became a cyclone; the sea a driving hell of water, hail and screaming wind. The barometer dropped to twenty-eight. The wind blew at one hundred and twenty kilometers an hour. Six fishing boats hailing from Boulogne perished with their crews. Their women went by train to Calais, still hoping for news, and returned weeping and alone.

At Boulogne the waves burst in spray to a height of forty feet over the breakwater—small wonder that the transatlantic liner due there to take on passengers, signalled to her plunging tender already in danger—"Going through—No passengers—" and proceeded on her way to New York.

The sea that night killed with a blow.

This latest drowning at Pont du Sable was a tragedy—or rather, the culmination of a series of tragedies.

"Suicide?"

"Nonmon ami—wait until you hear the whole truth of this plain tale."

On my return from shooting this morning, Suzette brought me the news. The whole fishing village has known it since daylight.

It seems that the miser, Garron—Garron's boy—Garron's woman, Julie, and another woman who nobody seems to know much about, are mixed up in the affair.

Garron's history I have known for months—my good friend the cure confided to me much concerning the unsavory career of this vagabond of a miser, whose hut is on the "Great Marsh," back of Pont du Sable. Garron and I hailed "bonjour" to each other through the mist at dawn one morning, as I chanced to pass by his abode, a wary flight of vignon having led me a fruitless chase after them across the great marsh. At a distance through the rifts of mist I mistook this isolated hut of Garron's for a gabion. As I drew within hailing distance of its owner I saw that the hut stood on a point of mud and wire grass that formed the forks of the stream that snakes its way through the centre of this isolated prairie, and so on out to the open sea, two kilometers beyond.

As shrewd a rascal as Garron needed just such a place to settle on. As he returned my bonjour, his woman, Julie, appeared in the low doorway of the hut and grinned a greeting to me across the fork of the stream. She impressed me as being young, though she was well on in the untold forties. Her mass of fair hair—her ruddy cheeks—her blue eyes and her thick strong body, gave her the appearance of youthful buxomness.

Life must be tough enough with a man like Garron. With the sagacity of an animal he knew the safety of the open places. By day no one could emerge from the far horizon of low woodland skirting the great marsh, without its sole inhabitant noting his approach. By night none but as clever a poacher as Garron could have found his way across the labyrinth of bogs, ditches and pitfalls. Both the hut and the woman cost Garron nothing; both were a question of abandoned wreckage.

Garron showed me his hut that morning, inviting me to cross a muddy plank as slippery as glass, with which he had spanned the stream, that he might get a closer look at me and know what manner of man I was. He did not introduce me to the woman, and I took good care, as I crossed his threshold and entered the dark living-room with its dirt floor, not to force her acquaintance, but instead, ran my eye discreetly over the objects in the gloom—a greasy table littered with dirty dishes, a bed hidden under a worn quilt and a fireplace of stones over which an iron pot of soup was simmering. Beyond was another apartment, darker than the one in which I stood—a sort of catch-all for the refuse of the former.

The whole of this disreputable shack was built of the wreckage of honest ships. It might have been torn down and reassembled into some sort of a decent craft. Part of a stout rudder with its heavy iron hinges, served as the door. For years it had guided some good ship safe into port—then the wreck occurred. For weeks after—months, perhaps—it had drifted at sea until it found a resting place on the beach and was stolen by Garron to serve him as a strong barrier.

Garron had a bad record—you saw this in his small shifty black eyes, that evaded your own when you spoke to him, and were riveted upon you the moment your back was turned. He was older than the woman—possibly fifty years of age, when I first met him, and, though he lived in the open, there was a ghastly pallor in his hard face with its determined, square jaw—a visage well seamed by sin—and crowned by a shock of black hair streaked with gray. In body he was short, with unusually broad shoulders and unnaturally long arms. Physically he was as strong as an ape, yet I believe the woman could easily have strangled him with her bare hands. Garron had been a hard drinker in his youth, a capable thief and a skilful poacher. His career in civilization ended when he was young and—it is said—good-looking.

Some twenty-five years ago—so the cure tells me—Garron worked one summer for a rich cattle dealer named Villette, on his farm some sixty kilometers back of the great marsh. Villette was one of those big, silent Normans, who spoke only when it was worth while, and was known for his brusqueness and his honesty. He was a giant in build—a man whose big hands and feet moved slowly but surely; a man who avoided making intimate friendships and was both proud and rich—proud of his goods and chattels—of his vast grazing lands and his livestock—proud too, of his big stone farmhouse with its ancient courtyard flanked by his stone barns and his entrance gate whose walls were as thick as those of some feudal stronghold; proud, too, of his wife—a plump little woman with a merry eye and whom he never suspected of being madly infatuated with his young farm hand, Garron.

Their love affair culminated in an open scandal. The woman lacked both the shrewdness and discretion of her lover; he had poached for years and had never been caught;—it is, therefore, safe to say he would as skilfully have managed to evade suspicion as far as the woman was concerned, had not things gone from bad to worse.

Villette discovered this too late; Garron had suddenly disappeared, leaving madame to weather the scandal and the divorce that followed. More than this, young Garron took with him ten thousand francs belonging to the woman, who had been fool enough to lend him her heart—a sum out of her personal fortune which, for reasons of her own, she deemed it wisest not to mention.

With ten thousand francs in bank notes next his skin, Garron took the shortest cut out of the neighbourhood. He travelled by night and slept by day, keeping to the unfrequented wood roads and trails secreted between the thick hedges, hidden by-ways that had proved their value during the guerilla warfares that were so successfully waged in Normandy generations ago. Three days later Garron passed through the modest village of Hirondelette, an unknown vagabond. He looked so poor that a priest in passing gave him ten sous.

"Courage, my son," counselled the good man—"you will get work soon. Try the farm below, they are in need of hands."

"May you never be in want, father," Garron strangled out huskily in reply. Then he slunk on to the next farm and begged his dinner. The bank notes no longer crinkled when he walked; they had taken the contour of his hairy chest. Every now and then he stopped and clutched them to see if they were safe, and twice he counted and recounted them in a ditch.

With the Great Marsh as a safe refuge in his crafty mind, he passed by the next sundown back of Pont du Sable; slept again in a hedge, and by dawn had reached the marsh. Most of that day he wandered over it looking for a site for his hut. He chose the point at the forks of the stream—no one in those days, save a lone hunter ever came there. Moreover, there was another safeguard. The Great Marsh was too cut up by ditches and bogs to graze cattle on, hence no one to tend them, and the more complete the isolation of its sole inhabitant.

Having decided on the point, he set about immediately to build his hut. The sooner housed the better, thought Garron, besides, the packet next his chest needed a safe hiding place.

For days the curlews, circling high above the marsh, watched him snaking driftwood from the beach up the crooked stream to the point at the forks. The rope he dragged them with he stole from a fisherman's boat picketed for the night beyond the dunes. When he had gathered a sufficient amount of timber he went into Pont du Sable with three hares he had snared and traded them for a few bare necessities—an old saw, a rusty hammer and some new nails. He worked steadily. By the end of a fortnight he had finished the hut. When it was done he fashioned (for he possessed considerable skill as a carpenter) a clever hiding place in the double wall of oak for his treasure. Then he nailed up his door and went in search of a mate.

* * * * *

He found her after dark—this girl to his liking—at the fete in the neighbouring village of Avelot. She turned and leered at him as he nudged her elbow, the lights from the merry-go-round she stood watching illumining her wealth of fair hair and her strong young figure silhouetted against the glare. Garron had studied her shrewdly, singling her out in the group of village girls laughing with their sweethearts. The girl he nudged he saw did not belong to the village—moreover, she was barefooted, mischievously drunk, and flushed with riding on the wooden horses. She was barely eighteen. She laughed outright as he gripped her strong arm, and opened her wanton mouth wide, showing her even, white teeth. In return for her welcome he slapped her strong waist soundly.

"Allons-y—what do you say to a glass, ma belle?" ventured Garron with a grin.

"Eh ben! I don't say no," she laughed again, in reply.

He felt her turn instinctively toward him—there was already something in common between these two. He pushed her ahead of him through the group with a certain familiar authority. When they were free of the crowd and away from the lights his arm went about her sturdy neck and he crushed her warm mouth to his own.

"Allons-y—" he repeated—"Come and have a glass."

They had crossed in the mud to a dingy tent lighted by a lantern; here they seated themselves on a rough bench at a board table, his arm still around her. She turned to leer at him now, half closing her clear blue eyes. When he had swallowed his first thimbleful of applejack he spat, and wiped his mouth with the back of his free hand, while the girl grew garrulous under the warmth of the liquor and his rough affection. Again she gave him her lips between two wet oaths. No one paid any attention to them—it was what a fete was made for. For a while they left their glasses and danced with the rest to the strident music of the merry-go-round organ.

It was long after midnight when Garron paid his score under the tent. She had told him much in the meantime—there was no one to care whom she followed. She told him, too, she had come to the fete from a hamlet called Les Forets, where she had been washing for a woman. The moon was up when they took the highroad together, following it until it reached the beginning of Pont du Sable, then Garron led the way abruptly to the right up a tangled lane that ran to an old woodroad that he used to gain the Great Marsh. They went lurching along together in comparative silence, the man steadying the girl through the dark places where the trees shut out the moon. Garron knew the road as well as his pocket—it was a favourite with him when he did not wish to be seen. Now and then the girl sang in a maudlin way:

"Entrez, entrez, messieurs, C'est l'amour qui vous attend."

It was gray dawn when they reached the edge of the Great Marsh that lay smothered under a blanket of chill mist.

"It is over there, my nest," muttered Garron, with a jerk of his thumb indicating the direction in which his hut lay. Again he drew her roughly to him.

"Dis donc, toi!" he demanded brusquely: "how do they call you?" It had not, until then, occurred to him to ask her name.

"Eh ben—Julie," she replied. "It's a sacre little name I never liked. Eh, tu sais," she added slowly—"when I don't like a thing—" she drew back a little and gazed at him sullenly—"Eh ben—I am like that when I don't like a thing." Her flash of temper pleased him—he had had enough of the trustful kitten of Villette's.

"Come along," said he gruffly.

"Dis donc, toi," she returned without moving. "It is well understood then about my dress and the shoes?"

"Mais oui! Bon Dieu!" replied the peasant irritably. He was hungry and wanted his soup. He swore at the chill as he led the way across the marsh while she followed in his tracks, satisfied with his promise of the dress and shoes. She wanted a blue dress and she had seen the shoes that pleased her some months before in the grocery at Pont du Sable when a dog and she had dragged a fisherwoman in her cart for their board and lodging.

By the time they reached the forks of the stream the rising sun had melted the blanket of the mist until it lay over the desolate prairie in thin rifts of rose vapour.

It was thus the miser, Garron, found his mate.

* * * * *

Julie proved to be a fair cook, and the two lived together, at the beginning, in comparative peace. Although it was not until days after the fete at Avelot that she managed to hold him to his promise about the blue dress, he sent her to Pont du Sable for her shoes the day after their arrival on the marsh—she bought them and they hurt her. The outcome of this was their first quarrel.

"Sacre bon Dieu!" he snarled—"thou art never content!" Then he struck her with the back of his clenched fist and, womanlike, she went whimpering to bed. Neither he nor she thought much of the blow. Her mind was on the shoes that did not fit.

When she was well asleep and snoring, he ran his sinewy arm in the hole he had made in the double wall—lifted the end of a short, heavy plank, caught it back against a nail and gripped the packet of bank notes that lay snug beneath it. Satisfied they were safe and his mate still asleep, he replaced the plank over his fortune—crossed the dirt floor to his barrier of a door, dropped an iron rod through two heavy staples, securely bolting it—blew out the tallow dip thrust in the neck of an empty bottle, and went to bed.

Months passed—months that were bleak and wintry enough on the marsh for even a hare to take to the timber for comfort. During most of that winter Garron peddled the skins of rabbits he snared on the marsh, and traded and bought their pelts, and he lived poor that no one might suspect his wealth. He and his mate rose, like the wild fowl, with the sun and went to bed with it, to save the light of the tallow dip. Though I have said she could easily have strangled him with her hands, she refrained. Twice, when she lay half awake she had seen him run his wiry arm in the wall—one night she had heard the lifting of the heavy plank and the faint crinkling sound of the package as he gripped it. She had long before this suspected he had money hidden.

Julie was no fool!

With the spring the marsh became more tenable. The smallest song birds from the woods flitted along the ditches; there were days, too, when the desolate prairie became soft—hazy—and inviting.

At daybreak, the beginning of one of these delicious spring days, Garron, hearing a sharp cry without, rose abruptly and unbolted his barrier. He would have stepped out and across his threshold had not his bare foot touched something heavy and soft. He looked down—still half asleep—then he started back in a sort of dull amazement. The thing his foot had touched was a bundle—a rolled and well-wrapped blanket, tied with a stout string. The sharp cry he had heard he now realized, issued from the folds of the blanket. Garron bent over it, his thumb and forefinger uncovering the face of a baby.

"Sacristi!" he stammered—then leaned back heavily against the old rudder of a door. Julie heard and crawled out of bed. She was peering over his shoulder at the bundle at his feet before he knew it.

Garron half wheeled and faced her as her breath touched his coarse ear.

"Eh bien! what is it?" he exclaimed, searching vainly for something else to say.

"Eh ben! Ca! Nom de Dieu!" returned his mate nodding to the bundle. "It is pretty—that!"

"Tu m'accuses, hein?" he snarled.

"They do not leave bundles of that kind at the wrong door," she retorted in reply, half closing her blue eyes and her red hands.

"Allons! allons!" he exclaimed with heat, still at a loss for his words.

With her woman's instinct she brushed past him and started to pick up the bundle, but he was too quick for her and drew her roughly back, gripping her waist so sharply that he felt her wince.

"It does not pass like that!" he cried sharply. "Eh ben! listen to me. I'm too old a rat to be made a fool of—to be tricked like that!"

"Tricked!" she laughed back—"No, my old one—it is as simple as bonjour, and since it is thine thou wilt keep it. Thou'lt—keep what thou—"

The pent-up rage within him leaped to his throat:

"It does not pass like that!" he roared. With his clenched fist he struck her squarely across the mouth. He saw her sink limp to the ground, bleeding, her head buried between her knees. Then he picked up the child and started with it across the plank that spanned the fork of the stream. A moment later, still dizzy from the blow, she saw him dimly, making rapidly across the marsh toward a bend in the stream. Then the love of a mother welled up within her and she got to her feet and followed him.

"Stay where thou art!" he shouted back threateningly.

The child in his arms was screaming. She saw his hand cover its throat—the next moment she had reached him and her two hands were about his own in a grip that sent him choking to his knees. The child rolled from his arms still screaming, and the woman who was strangling Garron into obedience now sank her knee in his back until she felt him give up.

"Assez!" he grunted out when he could breathe.

"Eh ben! I am like that when I don't like a thing!" she cried, savagely repeating her old words. He looked up and saw a dangerous gleam in her eyes. "Ah, mais oui alors!" she shouted defiantly. "Since it is thine thou wilt keep it!"

Garron did not reply. She knew the fight was out of him and picked up the still screaming baby, which she hugged to her breast, crooning over it while Garron got lamely to his feet. Without another word she started back to the hut, Garron following his mate and his son in silence.

* * * * *

Years passed and the boy grew up on the marsh, tolerated by Garron and idolized and spoiled by Julie—years that transformed the black-eyed baby into a wiry, reckless young rascal of sixteen with all the vagabond nature of his father—straight and slim, with the clear-cut features of a gypsy. A year later the brother of Madame Villette, a well-known figure on the Paris Bourse, appeared and after a satisfactory arrangement with Garron, took the boy with him to Paris to be educated.

It was hard on Julie, who adored him. Her consent was not even asked, but at the time she consoled herself with the conviction, however, that the good fortune that had fallen to the lot of the baby she had saved, was for the best. The uncle was rich—that in itself appealed strongly to her peasant mind. That, and her secret knowledge of Garron's fortune, for she had discovered and counted it herself and, motherlike, told the boy.

* * * * *

In Paris the attempt to educate Jacques Baptiste Garron was an expensive experiment. When he went to bed at all it was only when the taverns and cafes along the "Boul-miche" closed before dawn. Even then he and his band of idle students found other retreats and more glasses in the all-night cafes near the Halles. And so he ate and drank and slept and made love to any little outcast who pleased him—one of these amiable petites femmes—the inside of whose pocketbook was well greased with rouge—became his devoted slave.

She was proud of this handsome devil-may-care "type" of hers and her jealousy was something to see to believe. Little by little she dominated him until he ran heavily in debt. She even managed the uncle when the nephew failed—she was a shrewd little brat—small and tense as wire, with big brown eyes and hair that was sometimes golden and sometimes a dry Titian red, according to her choice. Once, when she left him for two days, Garron threatened to kill himself.

"Pauvre gosse!" she said sympathizingly on her return—and embraced him back to sanity.

The real grain of saneness left in young Garron was his inborn love of a gun. It was the gun which brought him down from Paris, back to the Great Marsh now and then when the ducks were on flight.

He had his own gabion now at the lower end of the bay at Pont du Sable, in which he slept and shot from nights when the wind was northeast—a comfortable, floating box of a duck-blind sunk in an outer jacket of tarred planks and chained to a heavy picket driven in the mud and wire grass, for the current ran dangerously strong there when the tide was running out.

Late in October young Garron left Paris suddenly and the girl with the Titian hair was with him. He, like his father, needed a safe refuge. Pressed by his creditors he had forged his uncle's name. The only way out of the affair was to borrow from Julie to hush up the matter. It did not occur to him at the time how she would feel about the girl; neither did he realize that he had grown to be an arrogant young snob who now treated Julie, who had saved his life, and pampered him, more like a servant than a foster-mother.

The night young Garron arrived was at the moment of the highest tides. The four supped together that night in the hut—the father silent and sullen throughout the meal and Julie insanely jealous of the girl. Later old Garron went off across the marsh in the moonlight to look after his snares.

When the three were alone Julie turned to the boy. For some moments she regarded him shrewdly. She saw he was no longer the wild young savage she had brought up; there was a certain nervous, blase feebleness about his movements as he sat uneasily in his chair, his hands thrust in the pockets of his hunting coat, his chin sunk on his chest. She noticed too, the unnatural redness of his lips and the haggard pallor about his thin, sunken cheeks.

"Eh ben, mon petit—" she began at length. "It is a poor place to get fat in, your Paris! They don't feed you any too well—hein?—Those grand restaurants you talk so much about. Pouf!"

"Penses-tu?" added the girl, since Garron did not reply. Instead he lighted a fresh cigarette, took two long puffs from it, and threw it on the floor.

The girl, angered at his silence and lack of courage, gave him a vicious glance.

"Helas!" sighed Julie, "you were quicker with your tongue when you were a baby."

"Ah zut!" exclaimed the girl in disgust. "He has something to tell you—" she blurted out to Julie.

"Eh ben! What?" demanded Julie firmly.

"I need some money," muttered the boy doggedly. "I need it!!" he cried suddenly, gaining courage in a sort of nervous hysteria.

Julie stared at him in amazement, the girl watching her like a lynx.

"Bon Dieu!" shouted Julie. "And it is because of that you sit there like a sick cat! Listen to me, my little one. Eat the good grease like the rest of us and be content if you keep out of jail."

The boy sank lower in his chair.

"It will be jail for me," he said, "unless you help me. Give me five hundred francs. I tell you I am in a bad fix. Sacre bon Dieu!—you shall give it to me!" he cried, half springing from his chair.

"Shut up, thou," whispered the girl—"not so fast!"

"Do you think it rains money here?" returned Julie, closing her red fists upon the table, "that all you have to do is to ask for it? Ah, mais non, alors!"

The boy slunk back in his chair staring at the tallow dip disconsolately. The girl gritted her small teeth—somehow, she felt abler than he to get it out of Julie in the end.

"You stole it, hein?" cried Julie, "like your father. Name of a dog! it is the same old trick that, and it brings no good. Allons!" she resumed after a short pause. "Depeche toi! Get out for your ducks—I'm going to bed."

"Give me four hundred," pleaded the boy.

"Not a sou!" cried Julie, bringing her fist down on the greasy table, and she shot a jealous glance at the girl.

Without a word, young Garron rose dejectedly, got into his goatskin coat, picked up his gun and, turning, beckoned to the girl.

"Go on!" she cried; "I'll come later."

"He is an infant," said she to Julie, when young Garron had closed the door behind him. "He has no courage. You know the fix we are in—the Commissaire of Police in Paris already has word of it."

Julie did not reply; she still sat with her clenched fists outstretched on the table.

"He has forged his uncle's check," snapped the girl.

Julie did not reply.

"Ah, c'est comme ca!" sneered the girl with a cool laugh—"and when he is in jail," she cried aloud, "Eh, bien—quoi?"

"He will not have you, then," returned Julie faintly.

"Ah——" she exclaimed. She slipped her tense little body into her thick automobile coat and with a contemptuous toss of her chin passed out into the night, leaving the door open.

"Jacques!" she called shrilly—"Jacques!—Attends."

"Bon!" came his voice faintly in reply from afar on the marsh.

After some moments Julie got slowly to her feet, crossed the dirt floor of the hut and closing the door dropped the bar through the staples. Then for the space of some minutes she stood by the table struggling with a jealous rage that made her strong knees tremble. She who had saved his life, who had loved him from babyhood—she told herself—and what had he done for her in return? The great Paris that she knew nothing of had stolen him; Paris had given him her—that little viper with her red mouth; Paris had ruined him—had turned him into a thief like his father. Silently she cursed his uncle. Then her rage reverted again to the girl. She thought too, of her own life with Garron—of all its miserly hardships. "They have given me nothing—" she sobbed aloud—"nothing."

"Five hundred francs would save him!" she told herself. She caught her breath, then little by little again the motherly warmth stole up into her breast deadening for the moment the pain of her jealousy. She straightened to her full height, squaring her broad shoulders like a man and stepped across to the wall.

"It is as much mine as it is his," she said between her teeth.

She ran her arm into the hole in the wall, lifted the heavy plank and drew out a knitted sock tied with a stout string. From the toe she drew out Garron's fortune.

"He shall have it—the gosse—" she said, "and the rest—is as much mine as it is his."

She thrust the package in her breast.

Half an hour later Julie stood, scarcely breathing, her ear to the locked door of his gabion.

"A pretty lot you came from," she overheard the girl say, "that old cat would sooner see you go to jail." The rest of her words were half lost in the rush and suck of the tide slipping out from the gabion's outer jacket of boards. The heavy chain clinked taut with the pull of the outgoing tide, then relaxed in the back rush of water.

"Bah!" she heard him reply, "they are pigs, those peasants. I was a fool to have gone to them for help."

"You had better have gone to the old man," taunted the girl, "as I told you at first."

"He is made of the same miserly grizzle as she," he retorted hotly. Again the outrush of the tide drowned their words.

Julie clenched her red fists and drew a long breath. A sudden frenzy seized her. Before she realized what she was doing, she had crawled in the mud on her hands and knees to the heavy picket. Here she waited until the backward rush again slackened the chain, then she half drew the iron pin that held the last link. Half drew it! Had the girl been alone, she told herself, she would have given her to the ebb tide.

Julie rose to her feet and turned back across the marsh, unconscious that the last link was nearly free and that the jerk and pull of the outgoing tide was little by little freeing the pin from the link.

She kept on her way, towards a hidden wood road that led down to the marsh at the far end of Pont du Sable and beyond.

She was done with the locality forever. Garron's money was still in her breast.

* * * * *

At the first glimmer of dawn the next morning, the short, solitary figure of a man prowled the beach. He was hatless and insane with rage. In one hand he gripped an empty sock. He would halt now and then and wave his long, ape-like arms—cursing the deep strip of sea water that prevented him from crossing to the hard desert of sand beyond—far out upon which lay an upturned gabion. Within this locked and stranded box lay two dead bodies. Crabs fought their way eagerly through the cracks of the water-sprung door, and over it, breasting the salt breeze, slowly circled a cormorant—curious and amazed at so strange a thing at low tide.



* * * * *





CHAPTER TWELVE

MIDWINTER FLIGHTS

One dines there much too well.

This snug Restaurant des Rois stands back from the grand boulevard in a slit of a street so that its ancient windows peer out askance at the gay life streaming by the corner.

The burgundy at "Les Rois" warms the soul, and the Chablis! Ah! where else in all Paris is there such Chablis? golden, sound and clear as topaz. Chablis, I hold, should be drank by some merry blonde whose heart is light; Burgundy by a brunette in a temper.

The small cafe on the ground floor is painted white, relieved by a frieze of gilded garlands and topped by a ceiling frescoed with rosy nymphs romping in a smoked turquoise sky.

Between five and seven o'clock these midwinter afternoons the cafe is filled with its habitues—distinguished old Frenchmen, who sip their absinthe leisurely enough to glance over the leading articles in the conservative Temps or the slightly gayer Figaro. Upstairs, by means of a spiral stairway, is a labyrinth of narrow, low-ceiled corridors leading to half a dozen stuffy little cabinets particuliers, about whose faded lambrequins and green velveted chairs there still lurks the scent of perfumes once in vogue with the gallants, beaux and belles of the Second Empire.

Alice de Breville, Tanrade, and myself, are dining to-night in one of these intime little rooms. The third to the left down the corridor.

Sapristi! what a change in Tanrade. He is becoming a responsible person—-he has even grown neat and punctual—he who used to pound at the door of my house abandoned by the marsh at Pont du Sable, an hour late for dinner, dressed in a fisherman's sea-going overalls of brown canvas, a pair of sabots and a hat that any passing vagabond might have discarded by the roadside. I could not help noticing carefully to-night his new suit of black broadcloth, with its standing collar, buttoned up under his genial chin. His black hair is neatly combed and his broad-brimmed hat that hangs over my own on the wall, is but three days old. Thus had this bon garcon who had won the Prix de Rome been transformed—-and Alice was responsible, I knew, for the change. Who would not change anything for so exquisite and dear a friend as Alice? She, too, was in black, without a jewel—a gown which her lithe body wore with all its sveltness—a gown that matched her dark eyes and hair, accentuating the clean-cut delicacy of her features and the ivory clearness of her olive skin. She was a very merry Alice to-night, for her long engagement at the Bouffes Parisiennes was at an end. And she had been making the best of her freedom by keeping Tanrade hard at work over the score of his new ballet. They are more in love with each other than ever—so much so that they insist on my dining with them, and so these little dinners of three at "Les Rois" have become almost nightly occurrences. It is often so with those in love to be generous to an old friend—even lovers have need of company.

We were lingering over our coffee when the talk reverted to the new ballet.

"It is done, ma cherie," declared Tanrade, in reply to an imperative inquiry from Alice. "Baviere shall have the whole of the second act to-morrow."

"And the ballet in the third?" she asked sternly, lifting her brilliant eyes.

"Eh, voila!" laughed that good fellow, as he drew forth from his pocket a thin roll of manuscript and spread it out before her, that she might see—but it was not discreet for me to continue, neither is it good form to embrace before the old garcon de cafe, who at that moment entered apologetically with the liqueurs—as for myself, I have long since ceased to count in such tender moments of reward, during which I am of no more consequence than a faithful poodle.

Again the garcon entered, this time with smiling assurance, for he brought me a telegram forwarded from my studio by my concierge. I opened the despatch: the next instant I jumped to my feet.

"Read!" I cried, poking the blue slip under Tanrade's nose, "it's from the cure."

"Howling northeast gale"—Tanrade read aloud—"Duck and geese—come midnight train, bring two hundred fours, one hundred double zeros for ten bore."

"Vive le cure!" I shouted, "the good old boy to let us know. A northeast gale at last—a howler," he says.

"He is charming—the cure," breathed Alice, her breast heaving—"Charming!" she repeated in a voice full of suppressed emotion.

Tanrade did not speak. He had let the despatch slip to the floor and sat staring at his glass.

"You'll come, of course," I said with sudden apprehension, but he only shook his head. "What! you're not going?" I exclaimed in amazement. "We'll kill fifty ducks a night—it's the gale we've been waiting for."

I saw the sullen gleam that had crept into Alice's eyes soften; she drew near him—she barely touched his arm:

"Go, mon cher!" she said simply—"if you wish."

He lifted his head with a grim smile, and I saw their eyes meet. I well knew what was passing in his mind—his promise to her to work—more than this, I knew he had not the heart to leave her during her well-earned rest.

"Ah! les hommes!" Alice exclaimed, turning to me impetuously—"you are quite crazy, you hunters."

I bowed in humble apology and again her dark eyes softened to tenderness.

"Non—forgive me, mon ami," she went on, "you are sane enough until news comes of those wretched little ducks, then, mon Dieu! there is no holding you. Everything else goes out of your head; you become as mad as children rushing to a fete. Is it not so?"

Still Tanrade was silent. Now and then he gave a shrug of his big shoulders and toyed with his half empty glass of liqueur. Sapristi! it is not easy to decide between the woman you love and a northeast gale thrashing the marsh in front of my house abandoned. He, like myself, could already picture in his mind's eye duck after duck plunge out of the night among our live decoys. My ears, like his own, were already ringing with the roar of the guns from the gabions—I could not resist a last appeal.

"Come," I insisted—"both of you—no—seriously—listen to me. There is plenty of dry wood in the garret; you shall have the chambre d'amis, dear friend, and this brute of a composer shall bunk in my room—we'll live, and shoot and be happy. Suzette will be overjoyed at your coming. Let me wire her to have breakfast ready for us?"

Alice laughed softly: "You are quite crazy, my poor friend," she said, laying her white hand on my shoulder. "You will freeze down there in that stone house of yours. Oh, la! la!" she sighed knowingly—"the leaks for the wind—the cold bedrooms, the cold stone floors—B-r-r-h-h!"

Tanrade straightened back in his chair: "No," said he, "it is impossible; Baviere can not wait. He must have his score. The rehearsals have been delayed long enough as it is—Go, mon vieux, and good luck to you!"

Again the old garcon entered, this time with the timetable I had sent him for in a hurry.

"Voila, monsieur!" he began excitedly, his thumbnail indicating the line—"the 12.18, as monsieur sees, is an express—monsieur will not have to change at Lisieux."

"Bon!" I cried—"quick—a taxi-auto."

"Bien, monsieur—a good hunt to monsieur," and he rushed out into the narrow corridor and down the spiral stairs while I hurried into my coat and hat.

Tanrade gripped my hand:

"Shoot straight!" he counselled with a smile. Alice gave me her cheek, which I reverently kissed and murmured my apologies for my insistence in her small ear. Then I swung open the door and made for the spiral stairs. At the bottom step I stopped short. I had completely forgotten I should not return until after New Year's, and I rushed back to wish them a Bonne Annee in advance, but I closed the door of the stuffy little cabinet particulier quicker than I opened it, for her arms were about the sturdy neck of a good comrade whose self-denial made me feel like the mad infant rushing to the fete.

"Bonne Annee, mes enfants!" I called from the corridor, but they did not hear.

Ten minutes later I reached my studio, dumped three hundred cartridges into a worn valise and caught the 12.18 with four minutes to spare.

* * * * *

Enfin! it is winter in earnest!

The northeast gale gave, while it lasted, the best shooting the cure and I have ever had. Then the wind shifted to the southwest with a falling barometer, and the flights ceased. Again, for three days, the Norman coast has been thrashed by squalls of driving snow. The wild geese are honking in V-shaped lines to an inland refuge for the white sea is no longer tenable. Curlews cry hoarsely over the frozen fields. It is tough enough lying hidden in my sand pit on the open beach beyond the dunes, where I crack away at the ricketing flights of fat gray plover and beat myself to keep warm. Fuel is scarce and there is hardly a sou to be earned fishing in such cruel weather as this.

The country back of my house abandoned by the marsh is now stripped to bare actualities—all things are reduced to their proper size. Houses, barns and the skeletons of leafless trees stand out, naked facts in the landscape. The orchards are soggy in mud and the once green feathery lane back of my house abandoned, is now a rough gash of frozen pools and rotten leaves.

Birds twitter in the thin hedges.

I would never have believed my wild garden, once so full of mystery—gay flowers, sunshine and droning bees, to be so modest in size. A few rectangles of bare, frozen ground, and a clinging vine trembling against the old wall, is all that remains, save the scraggly little fruit trees green with moss. Beyond, in a haze of chill sea mist, lie the woodlands, long undulating ribbons of gray twigs crouching under a leaden sky.

In the cavernous cider press whose doors creak open within my courtyard Pere Bordier and a boy in eartabs, are busy making cider. If you stop and listen you can hear the cider trickling into the cask and Pere Bordier encouraging the patient horse who circles round and round a great stone trough in which revolve two juggernauts of wooden wheels. The place reeks with the ooze and drip of crushed apples. The giant screw of oak, the massive beams, seen dimly in the gloomy light that filters through a small barred window cut through the massive stone wall, gives the old pressoir the appearance of some feudal torture chamber. Blood ran once, and people shrieked in such places—as these.

* * * * *

To-morrow begins the new year and every peasant girl's cheeks are scrubbed bright and her hair neatly dressed, for to-morrow all France embraces—so the cheeks are rosy in readiness.

"Tiens, mademoiselle!" exclaims the butcher's boy clattering into my kitchen in his sabots.

Eh, voila! My good little maid-of-all-work, Suzette, has been kissed by the butcher's boy and a moment later by Pere Bordier, who has left the cider press for a steaming bowl of cafe au lait; and ten minutes later by the Mere Pequin who brings the milk, and then in turn by the postman—by her master, by the boy in eartabs and by every child in the village since daylight for they have entered my courtyard in droves to wish the household of my house abandoned a happy new year, and have gone away content with their little stomachs filled and two big sous in their pockets.

And now an old fisherman enters my door. It is the Pere Varnet—he who goes out with his sheep dog to dig clams, since he is eighty-four and too old to go to sea.

"Ah, malheur!" he sighs wearily, lifting his cap with a trembling hand as seamed and tough as his tarpaulin. "Ah, the bad luck," he repeats in a thin, husky voice. "I would not have deranged monsieur, but bon Dieu, I am hungry. I have had no bread since yesterday. It is a little beast this hunger, monsieur. There are no clams—I have searched from the great bank to Tocqueville."

It is surprising how quick Suzette can heat the milk.

The old man is now seated in her kitchen before a cold duck of the cure's killing and hot coffee—real coffee with a stiff drink of applejack poured into it, and there is bread and cheese besides. Like hungry men, he eats in silence and when he has eaten he tells me his dog is dead—that woolly sheep dog of his with a cast in one fishy green eye.

"Oui, monsieur," confided the old man, "he is dead. He was all I had left. It is not gay, monsieur, at eighty-four to lose one's last friend—to have him poisoned."

"Who poisoned him?" I inquired hotly—"was it Bonvin the butcher? They say it was he poisoned both of Madame Vinet's cats."

"Eh, ben!" he returned, and I saw the tears well up into his watery blue eyes—"one should not accuse one's neighbours, but they say it was he, monsieur—they say it was in his garden that Hector found the bad stuff—there are some who have no heart, monsieur."

"Bonvin!" I cried, "so it was that pig who poisoned him, eh? and you saved his little girl the time the Belle Marie foundered."

"Oui, monsieur—the time the Belle Marie foundered. It is true I did—we did the best we could! Had it not been for the fog and the ebb tide I think we could have saved them all."

He fell to eating again, cutting into the cheese discreetly—this fine old gentleman of the sea.

It is a pity that some one has not poisoned Bonvin I thought. A short thick fellow, is Bonvin, with cheeks as red as raw chops and small eyes that glitter with cruelty. Bonvin, whose youngest child—a male, has the look and intelligence of a veal and whose mother weighs one hundred and five kilos—a fact which Bonvin is proud of since his first wife, who died, was under weight despite the fact that the Bonvins being in the business, eat meat twice daily. I have always believed the veal infant's hair is curled in suet. Its face grows purple after meals.

* * * * *

A rough old place is my village of vagabonds in winter, and I am glad Alice did not come. Poor Tanrade—how he would have enjoyed that northeast gale!

* * * * *

Two weeks later there came to my house abandoned by the marsh such joyful news that my hand trembled as I realized it—news that made my heart beat quicker from sudden surprise and delight. As I read and reread four closely written pages from Tanrade and a corroborative postscript from Alice, leaving no doubt as to the truth.

"Suzette! Suzette!" I called. "Come quick—Eh! Suzette!"

I heard her trim feet running to me from the garden. The next instant she opened the door of my den and stood before me, her blue eyes and pretty mouth both open in wonder at being so hurriedly summoned.

"What is the matter, monsieur?" she exclaimed panting, her fresh young cheeks all the rosier from her run.

"Monsieur Tanrade and Madame de Breville are going to be married," I announced as calmly as I could.

"Helas!" gasped Suzette.

"Et voila—et voila!" I cried, throwing the letter back on the table, while I squared my back to the blazing fire of my den and waited for the little maid's astonishment to subside.

Suzette did not speak.

"It is true, nevertheless," I added with enthusiasm, "they are to be married in Pont du Sable. We shall have a fete such as there never was. Ah! you will have plenty of cooking to do, mon enfant. Run and find Monsieur le Cure—he must know at once."

Suzette did not move—without a word she buried her face in her apron and burst into tears:

"Oh, monsieur!" she sobbed. "Oh, monsieur! It is true—that—I—I—have—no luck!"

I looked at her in astonishment.

"Eh, bien! my child," I returned—"and it is thus you take such happy news?"

"Ah, mon Dieu!" sobbed the little maid—"it is—true—I—have no luck."

"What is the matter Suzette—tell me?" I pleaded. Never had I seen her so brokenhearted, even on the day she smashed the mirror.

I saw her sway toward me like the child she was.

"There—there—mais voyons!" I exclaimed in a vain effort to stop her tears—"mais voyons! Come, you must not cry like that." Little by little she ceased crying, until her sobbing gave way to brave little hiccoughs, then, at length, she opened her eyes.

"Suzette," I whispered—the thought flashing through my mind, "is it possible that you love Monsieur Tanrade?"

I saw her strong little body tremble: "No, monsieur," she breathed, and the tears fell afresh.

"Tell me the truth, Suzette."

"I have told monsieur the—the—truth," she stammered bravely with a fresh effort to strangle her sobs.

"You do not love Monsieur Tanrade, my child?"

"No, monsieur—I—I—was a little fool to have cried. It was stronger than I—the news. The marriage is so gay, monsieur—it is so easy for some."

"Ah—then you do love some one?"

"Oui, monsieur—" and her eyes looked up into mine.

"Who?"

"Gaston, monsieur—as always."

"Gaston, eh! the little soldier I lodged during the manoeuvres—the little trombonist whom the general swore he would put in jail for missing his train. Sapristi! I had forgotten him—and you wish to marry him, Suzette?"

She nodded mutely in assent, then with a hopeless little sigh she added: "Helas—it is not easy—when one has nothing one must work hard and wait—Ah, mon Dieu!"

"Sit down, my little one," I said. "I have something serious to think over." She did as I bade her, seating herself in silence before the fire. I have never regarded Suzette as a servant—she has always been to me more like a child whom I was responsible for. What would my house abandoned by the marsh have been without her cheeriness, and her devotion, I thought, and what would it be when she was gone? No other Suzette would ever be like her—and her cooking would vanish with the rest. Diable! these little marriages play the devil with us at times. And yet, if any one deserved to be happy it was Suzette. I realized too, all that her going would mean to me, and moreover that her devotion to her master was such that if I should say "stay" she would have stayed on quite as if her own father had counselled her.

As I turned toward her sitting humbly in the chair, I saw she was again struggling to keep back her tears. It was high time for me to speak.

I seated myself beside her upon the arm of the chair and took her warm little hands in mine.

"You shall marry your Gaston, Suzette," I said, "and you shall have enough to marry on even if I have to sell the big field and the cow that goes with it."

She started, trembling violently, then gave a little gasp of joy.

"Oh, monsieur! and it is true?" she cried eagerly.

"Yes, my child—there shall be two weddings in Pont du Sable! Now run and tell Monsieur le Cure."

* * * * *

Monsieur le Cure ran too, when he heard the news—straight to my house abandoned, by the short cut back of the village.

"Eh bien! Eh bien!" he exclaimed as he burst into my den, his keen eyes shining. "It is too good to be true—and not a word to us about it until now! Ah, les rosses! Ah, les rosses!" he repeated with a broad grin of delight as he eagerly read Tanrade's letter, telling him that the banns were published; that he was to marry them in the little gray church with the new bells and that but ten days remained before the wedding. He began pacing the floor, his hands clasped behind him—a habit he had when he was very happy.

"And Suzette?" I asked, "has she told you?"

"Yes," he returned with a nod. "She is a good child—she deserves to be happy." Then he stopped and inquired seriously—"What will you do without her?"

"One must not be selfish," I replied with a helpless shrug. "Suzette has earned it—so has Tanrade. It was his unfinished opera that was in the way: Alice was clever."

He crossed to where I stood and laid his hand on my shoulder, and though he did not open his lips I knew what was passing in his mind.

"Charity to all," he said softly at length. "It is so good to make others happy! Courage, mon petit—the price we pay for love, devotion—friendship, is always a heavy one." Suddenly his face lighted up. "Have you any idea?" he exclaimed, "how much there is to do and how little time to do it in? Let us prepare!"

And thus began the busiest week the house abandoned had ever known, beginning with the cure and I restocking the garret with dry wood while Suzette worked ferociously at house cleaning, and every detail of the wedding breakfast was planned and arranged for—no easy problem in my lost village in midwinter. If there was a good fish to be had out of the sea we knew we could rely on Marianne to get it. Even the old fisherman, Varnet, went off with fresh courage in search for clams and good Madame Vinet opened her heart and her wine cellar.

It was the cure who knew well a certain dozen of rare burgundy that had lain snug beneath the stairs of Madame Vinet's small cafe—a vintage the good soul had come into possession of the first year of her own marriage and which she ceded to me for the ridiculously low price of twenty sous the bottle, precisely what it had cost her in her youth.

* * * * *

It is over, and I am alone by my fire.

As I look back on to-day—their wedding day—it seems as if I had been living through some happy dream that has vanished only too quickly and out of which I recall dimly but half its incidents.

That was a merry procession of old friends that marched to the ruddy mayor's where there was the civil marriage and some madeira, and so on to the little gray church where Monsieur le Cure was waiting—that musty old church in which the tall candles burned and Monsieur le Cure's voice sounded so grave and clear. And we sat together, the good old general and I, and in front of us were Alice's old friend Germaine, chic and pretty in her sables, and Blondel, who had left his unfinished editorial and driven hard to be present, and beside him in the worn pew sat the Marquis and Marquise de Clamard, and the rest of the worn pews were filled with fisherfolk and Marianne sat on my left, and old Pere Varnet with Suzette beyond him—and every one's eyes were upon Alice and Tanrade, for they were good to look upon. And it was over quickly, and I was glad of it, for the candle flames had begun to form halos before my eyes.

And so we went on singing through the village amid the booming of shotguns in honour of the newly wed, to the house abandoned. And all the while the new bells that Alice had so generously regiven rang lustily from the gray belfry—rang clear—rang out after us, all the way back to the house abandoned and were still ringing when we sat down to our jolly breakfast.

"Let them ring!" cried the cure. "I have two old salts of the sea taking turns at the rope," he confided in my ear. "Ring on!" he cried aloud, as we lifted our glasses to the bride—"Ring loud—that the good God may hear!"

And how lovely the room looked, for the table was a mass of roses fresh from Paris, and the walls and ceiling were green with mistletoe and holly. Moreover, the old room was warm with the hearts of friends and the cheer from blazing logs that crackled merrily up the blackened throat of my chimney. And there were kisses with this feast that came from the heart; and sound red wine that went to it. And later, the courtyard was filled with villagers come to congratulate and to drink the health of the bride and groom.

* * * * *

They are gone.

And the thrice-happy Suzette is dreaming of her own wedding to come, for it is long past midnight and I am alone with my wise old cat—"The Essence of Selfishness," and my good and faithful spaniel whom I call "Mr. Bear," for he looks like a young cinnamon, all save his ears. If poor de Savignac were alive he would hardly recognize the little spaniel puppy he gave me, he has grown so. He has crept into my arms, big as he is, awakening jealousy in "The Essence of Selfishness"—for she hates him—besides, we have taken her favourite chair. Poor Mr. Bear—who never troubles her——

"And you—beast whom I love—another hiss out of you, another flattening of your ears close to your skull, and you go straight to bed. There will be no Suzette to put you there soon, and there is now no Alice, nor Tanrade to spoil you. They are gone, pussy kit."

One o'clock—and the fire in embers.

I rose and Mr. Bear followed me out into the garden. The land lay still and cold under millions of stars. High above my chimney came faintly the "Honk, honk," of a flock of geese.

I closed my door, bolted the inner shutter, lighted my candle and motioned to Mr. Bear. The Essence of Selfishness was first on the creaky stairs. She paused half way up to let Mr. Bear pass, her ears again flat to her skull. Then I took them both to my room where they slept in opposite corners.

* * * * *

Lost village by the tawny marsh. Lost village, indeed, to-night! in which were hearts I loved, good comrades and sound red wine—Hark! the rush of wings. I must be up at dawn. It will help me forget——Sleep well, Mr. Bear!

THE END



* * * * *

Popular Copyright Books

AT MODERATE PRICES

Any of the following titles can be bought of your bookseller at the price you paid for this volume

ANNA THE ADVENTURESS. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. ANN BOYD. By Will N. Harben. AT THE MOORINGS. By Rosa N. Carey. BY RIGHT OF PURCHASE. By Harold Bindloss. CARLTON CASE, THE. By Ellery H. Clark. CHASE OF THE GOLDEN PLATE. By Jacques Futrelle. CASH INTRIGUE, THE. By George Randolph Chester. DELAFIELD AFFAIR, THE. By Florence Finch Kelly. DOMINANT DOLLAR, THE. By Will Lillibridge. ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL, THE. By Baroness Orczy. GANTON & CO. By Arthur J. Eddy. GILBERT NEAL. By Will N. Harben. GIRL AND THE BILL, THE. By Bannister Merwin. GIRL FROM HIS TOWN, THE. By Marie Van Vorst. GLASS HOUSE, THE. By Florence Morse Kingsley. HIGHWAY OF FATE, THE. By Rosa N. Carey. HOMESTEADERS, THE. By Kate and Virgil D. Boyles. HUSBANDS OF EDITH, THE. George Barr McCutcheon. INEZ. (Illustrated Ed.) By Augusta J. Evans. INTO THE PRIMITIVE. By Robert Ames Bennet. JACK SPURLOCK, PRODIGAL. By Horace Lorimer. JUDE THE OBSCURE. By Thomas Hardy. KING SPRUCE. By Holman Day. KINGSMEAD. By Bettina Von Hutten. LADDER OF SWORDS, A. By Gilbert Parker. LORIMER OF THE NORTHWEST. By Harold Bindloss. LORRAINE. By Robert W. Chambers. LOVES OF MISS ANNE, THE. By S. R. Crockett.

Popular Copyright Books

AT MODERATE PRICES

Any of the following titles can be bought of your bookseller at 50 cents per volume.

SPIRIT OF THE BORDER, THE. By Zane Grey. SPOILERS, THE. By Rex Beach. SQUIRE PHIN. By Holman F. Day. STOOPING LADY, THE. By Maurice Hewlett. SUBJECTION OF ISABEL CARNABY. By Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler. SUNSET TRAIL, THE. By Alfred Henry Lewis. SWORD OF THE OLD FRONTIER, A. By Randall Parrish. TALES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. By A. Conan Doyle. THAT PRINTER OF UDELL'S. By Harold Bell Wright. THROWBACK, THE. By Alfred Henry Lewis. TRAIL OF THE SWORD, THE. By Gilbert Parker. TREASURE OF HEAVEN, THE. By Marie Corelli. TWO VANREVELS, THE. By Booth Tarkington. UP FROM SLAVERY. By Booker T. Washington. VASHTI. By Augusta Evans Wilson. VIPER OF MILAN, THE (original edition). By Marjorie Bowen. VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, THE. By Ellen Glasgow. WHEEL OF LIFE, THE. By Ellen Glasgow. WHEN WILDERNESS WAS KING. By Randall Parrish. WHERE THE TRAIL DIVIDES. By Will Lillibridge. WOMAN IN GREY, A. By Mrs. C. N. Williamson. WOMAN IN THE ALCOVE, THE. By Anna Katharine Green. YOUNGER SET, THE. By Robert W. Chambers. THE WEAVERS. By Gilbert Parker. THE LITTLE BROWN JUG AT KILDARE. By Meredith Nicholson. THE PRISONERS OF CHANCE. By Randall Parrish. MY LADY OF CLEVE. By Percy J. Hartley. LOADED DICE. By Ellery H. Clark. GET RICH QUICK WALLINGFORD. By George Randolph Chester. THE ORPHAN. By Clarence Mulford. A GENTLEMAN OF FRANCE. By Stanley J. Weyman.

Popular Copyright Books

AT MODERATE PRICES

Any of the following titles can be bought of your bookseller at 50 cents per volume.

THE SHEPHERD OF THE HILLS. By Harold Bell Wright. JANE CABLE. By George Barr McCutcheon. ABNER DANIEL. By Will N. Harben. THE FAR HORIZON. By Lucas Malet. THE HALO. By Bettina von Hutten. JERRY JUNIOR. By Jean Webster. THE POWERS AND MAXINE. By C. N. and A. M. Williamson. THE BALANCE OF POWER. By Arthur Goodrich. ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN KETTLE. By Cutcliffe Hyne. ADVENTURES OF GERARD. By A. Conan Doyle. ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. By A. Conan Doyle. ARMS AND THE WOMAN. By Harold MacGrath. ARTEMUS WARD'S WORKS (extra illustrated). AT THE MERCY OF TIBERIUS. By Augusta Evans Wilson. AWAKENING OF HELENA RICHIE. By Margaret Deland. BATTLE GROUND, THE. By Ellen Glasgow. BELLE OF BOWLING GREEN, THE. By Amelia E. Barr. BEN BLAIR. By Will Lillibridge. BEST MAN, THE. By Harold MacGrath. BETH NORVELL. By Randall Parrish. BOB HAMPTON OF PLACER. By Randall Parrish. BOB, SON OF BATTLE. By Alfred Ollivant. BRASS BOWL, THE. By Louis Joseph Vance. BRETHREN, THE. By H. Rider Haggard. BROKEN LANCE, THE. By Herbert Quick. BY WIT OF WOMEN. By Arthur W. Marchmont. CALL OF THE BLOOD, THE. By Robert Hitchens. CAP'N ERI. By Joseph C. Lincoln. CARDIGAN. By Robert W. Chambers. CAR OF DESTINY, THE. By C. N. and A. N. Williamson. CASTING AWAY OF MRS. LECKS AND MRS. ALESHINE. By Frank R. Stockton. CECILIA'S LOVERS. By Amelia E. Barr.

Popular Copyright Books

AT MODERATE PRICES

CIRCLE, THE. By Katherine Cecil Thurston (author of "The Masquerader," "The Gambler"). COLONIAL FREE LANCE, A. By Chauncey C. Hotchkiss. CONQUEST OF CANAAN, THE. By Booth Tarkington. COURIER OF FORTUNE, A. By Arthur W. Marchmont. DARROW ENIGMA, THE. By Melvin Severy. DELIVERANCE, THE. By Ellen Glasgow. DIVINE FIRE, THE. By May Sinclair. EMPIRE BUILDERS. By Francis Lynde. EXPLOITS OF BRIGADIER GERARD. By A. Conan Doyle. FIGHTING CHANCE, THE. By Robert W. Chambers. FOR A MAIDEN BRAVE. By Chauncey C. Hotchkiss. FUGITIVE BLACKSMITH, THE. By Chas. D. Stewart. GOD'S GOOD MAN. By Marie Corelli. HEART'S HIGHWAY, THE. By Mary E. Wilkins. HOLLADAY CASE, THE. By Burton Egbert Stevenson. HURRICANE ISLAND. By H. B. Marriott Watson. IN DEFIANCE OF THE KING. By Chauncey C. Hotchkiss. INDIFFERENCE OF JULIET, THE. By Grace S. Richmond. INFELICE. By Augusta Evans Wilson. LADY BETTY ACROSS THE WATER. By C. N. and A. M. Williamson. LADY OF THE MOUNT, THE. By Frederic S. Isham. LANE THAT HAD NO TURNING, THE. By Gilbert Parker. LANGFORD OF THE THREE BARS. By Kate and Virgil D. Boyles. LAST TRAIL, THE. By Zane Grey. LEAVENWORTH CASE, THE. By Anna Katharine Green. LILAC SUNBONNET, THE. By S. R. Crockett. LIN MCLEAN. By Owen Wister. LONG NIGHT, THE. By Stanley J. Weyman. MAID AT ARMS, THE. By Robert W. Chambers.

THE END

Previous Part     1  2  3  4
Home - Random Browse