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CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR
THE PEOPLE' CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.
No. 176. New Series.
SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1847.
have committed through ignorance, or selfishness, or GREAT CALAMITIES.
perverseness. In such cases, the regard we pay to them WHEN a small calamity occurs, there is seldom, amongst should of course be accompanied by moral emotions of the well-informed, any inclination to regard it as other- a suitable character. Beyond this, passive submission wise than an event in the natural procedure of the is mere ignorance or supineness—either a want of knowworld—something which possibly human intelligence ledge to discern the nature of the chastisement inflicted, and foresight may prevent from recurring. For in- or a want of moral courage to perform the duties necesstance, if a ship sinks through faulty construction, we sary to its future prevention. usually look to that bad construction as the cause, and An extensive failure of crops — the very kind of think that such incidents may be made less frequent calamity which has given us the word—is perhaps the if we resort to better modes of building. Or if one has worst which we know. It is one which has inflicted caught a severe disease from the malaria of stagnant tremendous sufferings upon the human race, and which water, we generally attack the malaria as the cause, has not yet taken its place amongst extinct things. But and seek to avoid such evils future by promoting such calamities are, after all, of a limited nature, and drainage. When, however, a calamity on an exten- liable to correction by expedients within our power. sive scale takes place, such as the failure of a great All herbage is subject to injuries from causes open department of human food, or a pestilence (too often to scrutiny, and remediable to an indefinite extent. It these are essentially one calamity), the general inclina- belongs to human ingenuity and industry to search out tion seems to be to regard it as an immediate demon- and limit the operation of these causes. And man is stration of Divine wrath, designed as a chastisement for actually at all times advancing in the attainment of some particular moral errors. There is no reason for means for so trimming and arranging nature, as to this, beyond the comparative wonderment which a grand make the results he desires in the vegetable creation event excites. It is merely that, in the one case, we the more certain. It is common to indulge in a descalmly proceed upon the common philosophy which ex- pondent tone regarding blights and mildews, as if they perience and observation have given us; in the other, were beyond all human remeed. It is a false tone, we are carried by the excitement of our feelings into tending, like all false things, to bad conclusions. In the region of an inferior and more childish judgment. reality, the progress which has been made in penetratL'sually, a very little consideration would serve to show ing the secrets of nature, gives the strongest reason to the great and insuperable objections there are to the expect that we shall in time discover all the influences latter idea : as, the non-relation of the event to the affecting vegetation; and it seems but fair to conclude, occurrence of any unusual acts of turpitude; the falling that to be hopeful on this subject, is favourable to the of the calamity upon the classes perhaps the most in- end in view. nocent; and so forth. But wonderment stops not to Vegetation seldom fails over several great regions of think: it is content to dream, and to let calamities the earth at once. Its failure in one would obviously pass, as without a true reading, so also without a true be of little consequence, if nations were on such terms improvement.
with each other as to make mutual supply easy. Why There is, in reality, except in the matter of magni- they are not on such terms with each other, is because tude, not the least difference between a great and a of the prevalence of jealous, selfish, and illiberal feelsmall calamity. In all of them alike there is a divine ings. While we acknowledge, then, that such feelings meaning and purpose; but it is strictly one meaning exist, is it not equally evident that the dependence
That God conducts the affairs of the on each other for succour in case of light harvests, is world by fixed arrangements, needs not in our day to an indication, as it were, by the finger of God himself, be insisted on. Calamities are events incidental to, and that such feelings ought not to exist, but be replaced by inseparable from, the plan ; they all occur, to use com- those of a kindly and social nature? Here is a reading mon language, in the course of nature. How a bene- of the Divinity in calamnity—a reading of the true kind. volent Deity should have permitted a feature which we Let the war of weapons, and the perhaps more misfeel to be so grievous, surpasses our power to find out; chievous war of duties,' cease; let peace and tolerance but there is no mystery in the philosophy of human take the place of irritation and religious and social conduct with regard to evils of all kinds. After a prejudices; and we take precautions against everything humble contemplation of the authority which has no like local famines. doubt for wise purposes-permitted them, it is no more It might happen that an almost universal crop-failure than obeying one of the simplest natural impulses to took place, though we know of no instance in past times. study them, to do what in us lies to remedy them, and in anticipation of such a calamity, there is no reason to seek to reduce and avert them for the future. Often why a more extensive reserving of grain should not Fe may view in them the natural result of errors we l take place. The world is perhaps at all times too slen
derly provided with food. It might be well to keep in template the public calamities of our time. Let us 80 store greater quantities, and thus equalise at least the resign ourselves to the penalties they impose ; and so pressure of bad seasons, if not secure us against any betake ourselves to the duty which they place before thing like universal famine. Every provident man lays aside some portion of his present earnings as a resource against future contingencies; and why should not the A COMEDY IN A COURTYARD. principle which we applaud in one, be extended to com- In an ancient and gloomy court which existed a few munities and nations ?
years ago in the heart of Paris, there formerly resided Thus it appears that the calamity referred to as an old public scrivener, known under the name of
Monsieur Gant. He inhabited a narrow wooden manabove all others the greatest, might be averted by means within the scope of human power. What, then, is the of the court, near a stone fountain, half-way between a
sion of great antiquity, which stood in a shady corner just view to be taken of any actual occurrence of fa- washerwoman's tubs and an applewoman's stall. A mine from the failure of crops ? Simply, that we have faded curtain interposed its dustý texture betwixt suffered in consequence of defective knowledge — that M. Gant's window and the vulgar gaze, whilst, by a endless cause of inconvenience and trouble to man-in neatly-written bill, fixed with wafers to a pane of glass, consequence of our social arrangements being imperfect, the scrivener modestly informed the public of his readior through a want of precaution and providence. Let ness to indite or copy out epistles in the French lanthe causes be removed, and the effect will of course guage, at a very moderate price. be known no more.
The personal appearance of M. Gant was by no means
remarkable. He was a thin, withered little man, who The penal character of calamities is perhaps their looked as though he had formerly been much larger, most striking and important aspect. Nature's correctives but had since shrunk through some unaccountable prothey are, all of them, for the neglect or transgression of cess. His character was a strange compound of simher appointments. It is particularly interesting to ob- plicity and punctilio. He had a great opinion of his own serve such as come as the punishment of moral errors on sagacity and depth, was vain of his little learning, and, the part of great societies. The pestilence usually arises by a whimsical contradiction, loved to think himself among the masses of the wretched, and spreads to the haughty and implacable, whilst he was in reality the
most simple and easy of good-natured beings. During affluent. It may be said many then perish who have the daytime, M. Gant was to be found in his wooden not failed to any signal extent in observing the rules of box, waiting with exemplary patience for the arrival health ; but while health has been attended to, social of customers, who seldom made their appearance, and mischiefs have been left unremedied; hence the evil perusing a favourite copy of his favourite Cornelius has arisen. The meaning of such pronunciations from Nepos ; 'a work,' he often observed, gravely shaking the Divine Conductor of the world, is nothing more or
his head, 'of thrilling interest.' In the evenings, when less than this—Ye rich have failed in your duty to your Sergeant Huron, an old friend of his, whose formidable
his box was locked up, he repaired to the house of humble brethren, and behold for this ye die. What ought the rich to have done? It is a nice and difficult the greatest contrast to M. Gant's studied solemnity
stature, gray mustache, and blustering ways, offered question ; but it is easy to see that something is want- of manner. They had been brought up together, and ing in our social arrangements with regard to the less this was the cause of their friendship; otherwise they fortunate parts of communities. The system of indivi- had few sympathies in common: the scrivener was dual interests is so far well ; it seems to be the means pedantic in his speech, whilst the old soldier's converof eliciting many of the brightest features of human sation and ideas never seemed to extend beyond Nacharacter ; and no doubt independence is a noble word. poleon and his own exploits. Still they agreed very But it is a system by which many are, as it were, but very sincere ones.
well upon the whole ; and they were not only friends, thrown out. It seems to give advantages to some, to
But if the scrivener had a friend, he also had that the overpowering and thrusting aside of the rest. God bane of life--an enemy. His foe was no other than the seems to have designed that we should go along more applewoman whose stall stood in close proximity to his hand in hand together; at the least, it is evident that box, most impertinently obstructing the passage to his great relaxations and interdiffusions of means are called door, and sometimes actually shutting him in. The for, that all may be tolerably well. Even where moral mistress of the stall was a stout fiery-faced little woman, power fails, those who possess it in good store are
with a thick, hoarse voice, which became startlingly bound to use it to awaken, persuade, support, and beneath whose fixity of stare it was averred that M.
shrill when she was at all excited, and bead-like eyes, stimulate the infirm brother. The laws of true society Gant himself had quailed; although the truth is, that, appear, in short, to demand great mutual care and help- being a dauntless little man, he cared not a pin for her. fulness, as a supplementary force to self-helpfulness- Why they were foes, it would be hard to tell; yet they not in anyway to supersede it. If so, then are all great both felt that they were so; at least M. Gant, though concentrations of misery evils for which society is incapable of the feeling, thought he hated the applechargeable, and for which pestilence, as well as crime, woman, who most cordially hated him. It would be and every other resultant evil, is only the appointed tedious to relate by how many methods she sought to punishment. Here, too, it may be said, let the causes availing; he did not even condescend to answer her
annoy the scrivener. But all her attacks proved unbe removed, and the effect will cease.
most bitter taunta; he literally crushed her with the There is an essentially religious character in the weight of his contempt. whole of these considerations. The humble and atten The fact was, that owing to a certain philosophy, tive man sees the Divine will and power in calamity, as either constitutional or acquired, M. Gant could not in every other part of the universal plan. He watches be long, teased by anything, and somehow or other it as a pupil watches for the meaning of a teacher, or a the applewoman's most artful contrivances to vex him servant for the command of a master-with the design generally added to his comfort or pleasure in the end. of profiting by, and obeying it. Regarded as a chastise, this was by persuading a cobbler of her acquaintance
One sore blow, however, she contrived to inflict, and ment for error, he yields to it as no more than just, and to come and fix his abode in the court, exactly opposite then he turns contritely to the work which he sees before the scrivener's box. Though he apparently remained him for the improvement of the future. Let us so con- indifferent to this attack, M. Gant was really an
noyed at what he sententiously termed the audacious day long; whilst his wife, as industriously engaged, encroachments of the vulgar;' * and what so thoroughly sewed, washed, and cooked —all in the shed - and vulgar as the smell of leather?' he observed, when re- accompanied her husband's strains by scolding her lating the event to his friend. Sergeant Huron, who three unruly children. Still they were, upon the whole, was always for carrying matters in a kind of military a happy, good - humoured, and simple family, who way, volunteered to go and make a few gentle remon. won so much upon M. Gant's affections by the unstrances to the cobbler ; but this offer the scrivener bounded deference they paid him, that he began in prudently declined, couching the motives of his refusal time to like the cobbler's merry songs, the noise and in a Latin quotation on the violence of warlike Mars. romping of his children, and even the scolding of their The cobbler's shed — which, as M. Gant indignantly mother. It was, besides, very pleasant for a philosodeclared, consisted of mud, wood, and plaster -- was pher like him to watch daily the household concerns erected in the space of a few days, and pronounced of the simple people of the shed, who with the greatest ready to receive its new tenants, who accordingly has candour and naïveté laid open to his view every incident tened to remove to it. This important event took of joy or wo in their humble existence. He thus, unplace on a fine summer's morning, when M. Gant, who consciously to them, and without ever having addressed had just seated himself before his desk, could look on them, became the partner of their little trials, and the the whole proceedings. A small wheelbarrow or hand- unknown sharer of their mirth. He watched the chilcart, drawn by a man with a very black face, and fol. dren growing up, and the parents growing gray. A lowed by a woman blacker still, first made its appear- certain screaming baby, called Marianne, who had long
A cradle, which was to be swung from the roof annoyed him, became in time a pretty laughing child, of the shed, a dirty board, destined to act as table, a and then a blushing maiden, on whom he loved to couple of bottomless chairs, a saucepan, and a washing- gaze; Louis of the dripping-pot assumed quite a manly tub, were successively taken out of the truck and placed air, and, owing to his cheerfulness and good-temper, in the shed; the care of the whole, besides that of the was M. Gant's especial favourite ; and thus the most truck, at the bottom of which still remained some formidable attempt which the applewoman had yet crockery, being confided to the cobbler's eldest son, a boy made against the scrivener's peace of mind, turned out of seven or eight, whose parents, having more things to like all the rest, and literally added to his pleasure and bring to their new abode, now left alone, with strong happiness. Seeing that he was really invulnerable, his recommendations not to touch a certału pot of dripping, enemy at last gave him a short respite, and, intrenched which it seems was also in the cart. It is well known behind her stall, silently brooded over her defeat. what wonderful uses the French of the poorer classes When Louis, who was now a journeyman carpenter, make of dripping: in fact they live upon it. They was somewhere in his twenty-second year, M. Gant take it in the morning, diluted with warm water, under began to observe what had been visible to all the the name of soup; spread it, for lunch, on their bread inhabitants of the court for several years; namely, instead of butter; eat it again as soup in the evening; that the young man carried on a kind of sentimental and apply it to various other purposes with most praise- flirtation with the washerwoman's daughter, Angélique, worthy ingenuity.
a girl of eighteen, very pretty, and very capricious, but How it happened we will not venture to say; but when withal very charming. It was a great source of pleathe cobbler and his wife came back, they found their sure to M. Gant to observe the progress of their simple eldest son in a singularly awkward position. The courtship. At first Louis, when coming home from his dripping-pot was a very deep narrow one--an earthen work in the evening, would loiter at the fountain ; and marmite, that did not look much unlike a helmet. whilst the good housewives of the court, Angélique's Whether this resemblance struck the fancy of young mother among the rest, were filling their buckets Louis, or whether he was impelled by a natural taste with water, and chatting together, he would address a for dripping, would be difficult to determine; but cer- few insignificant phrases to the young girl, and retire tain it is that his parents found him sitting in the quite satisfied with her coy and monosyllabic answers. truck, and, to their unutterable dismay, with his head Gradually, however, he grew more bold and confident. snugly ensconced in the dripping-pot." To see how it Angélique had a pretty voice and a good ear, the result had got in, was easy enough; but to say how it was of which was, that she sang all the day long, to the likely to get out again, was a more difficult task. The scrivener's infinite gratification, and the applewoman's cobbler flew into a terrible passion : he bade Louis consequent annoyance. With the view of indulging her take his head out that very instant, and prepare for a taste, Louis brought her home all the songs he could sound whipping the next. The unfortunate Louis en procure; then he taught her the tunes; and at last he deavoured to obey the first part of this injunction. His sang them with her in the cool summer evenings, until mother pulled at the pot, and he pulled, and all pulled ; the whole court gathered around them; for, to say the but it was of no use-off it would not come. The cob- truth, Louis never saw Angélique but on the threshold bler had promised his son a thrashing when the pot of her mother's door. Several months had thus should be off; he now determined to give it him first, elapsed, when, as the conclusion of the whole affair was and wrathfully advanced to seize upon him; but hood- evidently drawing near, M. Gant uneasily noticed cer. winked as he was, Louis guessed his intention. He tain symptoms of change in the demeanour of the lovers. rapidly darted towards the top of the truck, which as One evening Louis, contrary to his usual custom, came suddenly flew to the ground: Louis lost his balance, not to the meeting : the next day Angélique received and in a second down he rolled with the dripping-pot, him with such evident coldness, that he retired earlier and over him the truck with all its contents.
than usual. On the following evening Louis came home The scene that ensued--for the cobbler's other two from his work somewhat later, and, without going near children, who were now arrived, joined in the cry-no Angélique, paused for a few seconds at the fountain : pen can describe : suffice it to say, that there was not on seeing him, she hastily entered her mother's house, a saucepan but was considerably damaged, nor a plate and closed the door. The next day the young carpenter that was not broken. When picked up by his alarmed did not even approach the washerwoman's abode, though mother, Louis was found completely unshelled, very the scrivener caught a glimpse of him in the court. little injured, but somewhat scratched and bedaubed Several days elapsed, and yet there was no change on with dripping to an extraordinary degree. Such were either side: the lovers only became cooler and cooler, the incidents which marked the cobbler's removal to until, at the end of a week, they seemed totally esthe court, and on which M. Gant looked with high tranged. indignation, anticipating the most unpleasant conse M. Gant saw this, and grew sad: he had been quences from such a neighbourhood. Yet strange to cheered a while by the sight of their simple courtship; say, this impression soon wore off. The cobbler was a he had loved to watch its progress evening after evenmerry industrious man, who sang and worked all the ling, and be the unseen witness of many little circum
stances which had escaped the vulgar gaze; and now Or perhaps you are unable to write yourself?' hinted those in whom he had felt such a deep interest grew, the scrivener. like the world, indifferent and cold, depriving him of Angélique frowned, and looked displeased. “I know one of his few remaining pleasures. The scrivener's how to write, sir,” she stiffly replied; but since he has only comfort was, as usual, to pour his sorrows into chosen to apply to you to write to me, I shall answer Sergeant Huron's friendly bosom. The old soldier, who him in the same manner.' was somewhat hasty, immediately offered to go and * And who told you that it was I who wrote this speak to Louis and Angélique, averring he could make letter?' asked M. Gant, turning inquiringly towards everything right in a few minutes ; but M. Gant, re- her; ' for if you know that, I know that you were out minding him that lovers' quarrels were best let alone, yesterday.' with some difficulty induced him to give up the idea. Angélique coloured, but evasively answered, “Mon
One evening, when M. Gant, who had grown quite sieur Gant, if you do not wish to write this letter, pray misanthropic, was bitterly ruminating in the solitude say so at once?' of his wooden mansion, he was startled by a knock Nay,' said the scrivener, as she rose to depart, since at his door. He opened, and Louis entered. The scri- you are determined to be miserable, I shall no longer vener eyed him with silent surprise, whilst the young seek to prevent you.' man, unconscious of the feeling he excited, laid on his And so saying, he once more took hold of his pen, desk a small slip of paper, which he briefly requested and in a few brief words, as severe as Angélique could him to correct and copy out. Merely signing him to wish them to be, he intimated to poor Louis that the be seated, M. Gant put on his spectacles, and read capricious beauty cared for neither his repentance nor the paper attentively. It was a rude scrawl, in which for his most passionate protestations. When he had the young carpenter had somewhat imperfectly ex- finished his task, M. Gant handed the letter to the pressed his feelings. Its incoherence did not, however, young girl, watching her features, in the hope of scemuch astonish M. Gant; for he was accustomed to ing them betray some compunction for the severity of love-letters - we need scarcely say this was one—but his expressions. But far from it: she seemed highly he paid more attention to its general purport. Louis, delighted with the epistle, thanked him very warmly, strong in conscious innocence, appealed to Angélique's liberally remunerated him for his trouble, and left hini, heart, cautiously avoiding to mention her name, how. sadder than ever, and in a bitter mood of invective ever-a needless piece of discretion, which made M. against girls, their lovers, and human nature in general. Gant smile inwardly-demanded to know his error, For,' he observed, when he was left alone with his own if indeed he had committed any; and after beginning thoughts, ` it is easy to see how thoroughly bad human by asserting that he was ready to forget her for ever if nature is, since those young people, who have known she wished, he ended with a most passionate protesta- each other from their childhood, who have been lovers tion of eternal love.
for years, now part for ever, not only without a pang, M. Gant was a judge of the human heart. He saw but even with joy; and, in all probability, owing to that the letter, with all its incoherence, was a good some mere trifle that has come between them.' one: for it was true. He therefore merely corrected the Now, although he could not possibly imagine what spelling, and copied it out; and when it was finished, he this important trifle was, M. Gant had his own prihanded it to Louis, who, placing a franc on his desk, | vate suspicions concerning his spiteful little neighthanked him and retired. The scrivener saw him de- bour the applewoman, to whom he was indeed in the part with a melancholy glance; for one of the two habit of referring every evil that occurred.
It was beings whose fate had of late been his chief concern evident that some mischievous person had informed looked upon him as on a stranger. Still his interest in Angélique of Louis's visit to him, a step not unlikely to Louis and Angélique was not diminished; and it was prejudice him in her eyes; but then there existed no with the utmost impatience that he waited for the next proof that this fact had been revealed to the young evening, in order to see the effect the letter had pro- girl by the applewoman; and though he narrowly duced. The lovers met, seemingly hy chance, as usual, scanned her features more than once, M. Gant could near the stone fountain. Louis timidly approached the discover in them none of the malicious triumph which young girl, and whispered something in her ear; but generally betrayed her when she had been engaged she scornfully drew back, and with a toss of her head, on some work of mischief. She was apparently calm, retired to her mother's shop. Louis looked sadly after and wholly unconscious of what was going on. The her, still standing rooted to the same spot, until the next day passed, and nothing occurred, save that in stifled giggling of some mischievous girls near the foun- the evening Louis came home from his work seemtain aroused him from his trance. Suddenly starting, ingly much disheartened, so that the scrivener, who was he cast an indignant glance around him, and hastened very fidgetty, and constantly on the look-out, concluded to depart, apparently much mortified by Angélique's that he had received Angélique's letter. On the folcontemptuous treatment.
lowing morning, as he sat at an early hour in his box, • What could all this mean?' Such was the scrive- he noticed Louis in a remote corner of the court enner's thought, when the unexpected eirtrance into his gaged in a mysterious conference with his pretty sister lodge of a woman, wrapped up in a coarse dark shawl, Marianne. M. Gant easily guessed the subject of their awakened him from his reverie. He turned with sur conversation; and as Marianne was not only cheerful prise towards the new-comer; but notwithstanding her and good-tempered, but also possessed of much intuitive disguise, a glance was enough to let him know that tact, and stood, moreover, on friendly terms with AnAngélique stood before him. As soon as the door was gélique, he augured success from her interposition, and closed upon her, she sat down, and without attempting impatiently waited for its result. But Marianne was a to conceal her person any longer, she said in a proud real diplomatist; and instead of injudiciously hurrying and firm tone, Monsieur Gant, I am come to ask you to to perform her delicate errand, she loitered about the render me a service. I received yesterday this letter'- court, now entering, now leaving her father's shed with and she laid Louis's epistle on the desk—' from a person a most unconcerned air. It was not until the afternoon with whom I wish to hold no further correspondence. was far advanced, that the scrivener saw her at length Will you please to tell him so in my name?'
proceeding towards the washerwoman's shop. She M. Gant took up his pen: a sheet of letter-paper could not have chosen a more unlucky moment; for was before him; he placed his hand upon it, as though Angélique, who was ironing in a little back parlour, to write ; but laid it down again, and calmly said, was also there, entertaining a sentimental young tailor, * Why not tell him as much yourself, mademoiselle? laughing and chatting with him very merrily. Now You see him every day.'
this young man, who lived in the court, had formerly * Because I do not wish to speak to him any more, paid no little attention to Marianne, who, when teased sir,' she indignantly answered.
on the subject, very seriously averred that she did not
care for him; indeed she did not!' Nevertheless, when • Yes, observed the scrivener in a tone of studied she entered the parlour, and saw how thoroughly poor irony, 'I was waiting till you should have done. As Louis was slighted, and for whom, all her sisterly feel- mademoiselle is now here, you can tell her all you have ings were aroused, and she felt so indignant at Angé. to say. I have no doubt,' he superciliously added, lique's coquetry, that she could scarcely contain herself.' it will spare me the trouble of writing down a good In short, she threw out such hints, that ere long the deal of nonsense;' and with a look of thorough conyoung tailor prudently departed; whilst Angélique, who tempt for all love-letters and love affairs, he took down was not very patient, retorted in so high a strain, that Cornelius Nepos, and became to all appearance deeply Marianne fairly lost her temper, and flounced out of absorbed by its contents. the room in a state of great indignation. Though M. There was a long and awkward silence : Louis at Gant saw nothing of this, he conjectured, by the young length began speaking in an embarrassed tone; his tailor's retreat, and Marianne's agitation, that the am- words were incoherent and low ; but warming with his bassadress had failed, a surmise which was confirmed subject, he gradually grew so eloquent and pathetic, by Louis's behaviour on the next morning; for as he that M. Gant thought it was not in the heart of mortal was entering his wooden box, the young man followed maiden to resist him. Angélique, however, not only him in, and requested him to transcribe the following appeared to hear Louis without emotion, but when he laconic epistle :— Mademoiselle-You tell me to forget had concluded, inquired, with freezing politeness, what you. I will obey you as soon as I can. Farewell. Louis.' else he had to say?
On the evening of the same day, the following an Nothing,' faintly answered Louis. Angélique turned swer was dictated by Angélique to the scrivener : towards the door: the scrivener saw it was time for • The sooner you forget me, the better. ANGELIQUE.' him to interfere.
And now,' pettishly observed M. Gant when she Children, children !' he reproachfully exclaimed ; had retired, 'I suppose that fine correspondence of what is all this about? Who has come between your theirs, by means of which they contrived to keep me hearts and the love of so many years ?' Angélique in hot water for the last week, is over at length. But hung down her head, but remained silent. the scrivener evidently did not understand such mat *Nay,' observed Louis, now fairly exasperated, 'let her ters; for although there was a kind of two days' truce, alone, Monsieur Gant, since she will not be softened.' during which Louis went early to his work, and came * And pray, sir,' cried Angélique angrily, 'who asks home late, never once approaching the old stone foun- you to think of me at all ?' Thus the scrivener's kind tain-near which Angélique openly flirted with the effort to effect a reconciliation between the lovers was young tailor—it was evident, by the attitude of both on the point of embittering the quarrel ; but by dint parties, that things could not last long as they were. of coaxing, intreaties, and soothing words, he at last On the evening of the third day, Louis entered M. induced them to give him a patient hearing. This disGant's box in a state of great agitation. Monsieur course, though somewhat long, was not very varied : Gant,' he exclaimed, this is more than human flesh he only spoke of their childhood and youth so happily and blood can endure, and you must tell her so!' spent in the court, of the pleasant evenings by the
"Oh, you have not forgotten her yet?' ironically ob- fountain, when Angélique sang, and Louis listened ; served the scrivener. But Louis cared not for irony: yet he touched so many tender chords, and managed the he was desperate; he had just caught a glimpse of matter so skilfully, that ere long Angélique drew forth Angélique seated in her mother's shop with his rival, a little white pocket handkerchief, which she applied and his overcharged heart poured itself forth in a to her eyes, whilst Louis turned his head away, and torrent of eloquent reproaches, which he charged M. pretended to look into the court. M. Gant immediately Gant to commit to paper, never once reflecting that followed up his advantage, and in less than five minutes the scrivener could not possibly recollect as much as had effected an entire reconciliation between the two the one-tenth of what he was saying. M. Gant did lovers, who, to say the truth, were not sorry for it. not make the attempt; he let the young man speak And now,' said he, that it is all over, you must tell away, conjecturing it would relieve him, and do him me what you quarrelled about.' This was, however, good; and in the meanwhile he cast a stern and angry seemingly no easy matter to determine. Louis looked glance towards the spot where Angélique was sitting at Angélique, and Angélique at Louis; both were with the tailor. To the scrivener's satisfaction, the evidently in doubt on the subject. But M. Gant young man rose to depart. Angélique tried to detain was a shrewd cross-questioner, and he soon elicited him; but he persisted in his resolution, and went away. from Louis that he had long been secretly jealous of Although she hummed a tune, and tried to look indif- the young tailor, and that one evening when Angélique ferent, Angélique could not conceal her vexation; and had provoked him by some unusual attention bestowed on hearing some remark made by one of the washer- on his rival, he had spitefully declared a new purchase women, she left the shop in a pet, and walked out into of hers odiously vulgar; an expression which, being the court. It was at this moment that Louis, who uttered in the presence of several persons, the tailor had seen nothing of all this by-play, reached the most included, had so mortally offended Angélique, that she pathetic part of his imaginary epistle, and eloquently had instantly resolved to discard him for ever. reminded Angélique of their former attachment, once * And this,' observed M. Gant in a tone of great more begging to know how he had erred. 'Nay,' here contempt, after hearing them out—this was the cause interrupted the scrivener, who had been anxiously of your quarrel ?' Though somewhat abashed, they watching his opportunity for the last two or three confessed it was. But the scrivener was not satisseconds, you can best tell her all this yourself.' And fied; he had his own ideas on the subject; and indeed before Louis could make any reply, he had partly it soon came out that the applewoman was at the bottom opened his door, and calling on Angélique, who was of it all. With her usual malice she had first diverted just then passing before it, made her enter. It was the young tailor's attention from Marianne to Angélique; not until she was in, and the door had been securely then by dark hints excited poor Louis's jealousy; and closed upon her by the considerate M. Gant, that the at last persuaded Angélique that no woman of spirit young girl became aware of Louis's presence. On see- ought to forgive the affront she had endured. In short, ing her lover, she started back and grew pale; but soon she had, like all mischievous persons, been so very rallying, and casting a wrathful glance on the scrivener, industrious in her evil task, that M. Gant no longer she addressed Louis in an offended tone.
wondered at the trouble the quarrel of the two lovers “Pray, sir, what is it so very particular you have to had given him. say to me here?'
After some further conversation, Louis and Angé. I assure you, mademoiselle,' stammered forth Louis, lique rose to depart, not, however, without hearing M. 'I only came for a letter which Monsieur Gant
- He Gant, who addressed them in a little set speech, rather looked for the letter on the desk, but there was none. formal and pedantic, but nevertheless kind and sensible,