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PASTORALS
FTWMCE

RENVNCIATIONS



FRANCE



RENVNCIATIONS/



BY

FREDERICK
WEDMORE



LONDON

ELH1N MATHEWS
AND JOHN LAME




BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

This is the Third Edition of ' Pastorals of France ' and
the Second of ' Renunciations' 'Pastorals of France'
which had originally appeared in ' Temple Bar'
was first published as a volume in 1877. The Second
Edition appeared in 1878. 'Renunciations' of which
one section, ' A Chemist in the Suburbs,' had appeared
in ' The Fortnightly Review ' was first published as a
volume in 1893. The First Edition was limited to
Four Hundred and Fifty copies, including those on
large paper. The Prefaces have now been withdrawn.

October 1893.



2076122



Dedication



MILLICENT



CONTENTS
PASTORALS OF FRANCE

PAGE

A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC, ... I

YVONNE OF CROISIC, . . . -47

THE FOUR BELLS OF CHARTRES, . . 87

RENUNCIATIONS

A CHEMIST IN THE SUBURBS, . . 151

A CONFIDENCE AT THE SAVILE, . .177

THE NORTH COAST AND ELEANOR, . . IQ7



PASTORALS OF FRANCE



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC

MR RUTTERBY had come by diligence from
Paimbceuf. There was no traveller but himself,
so they had used the ' supplement.' The ' sup-
plement ' was like a phaeton, with back-seat
always covered by its head. Mr Rutterby had
sat in the back of the supplement, and the blue-
bloused driver of it had sat in front. The blue-
bloused driver had held the reins loosely the
horses were steady, and knew their road over
the hill from Paimboeuf to Saint Pere-en-Retz,
and on from Saint Pere-en-Retz to Pornic by
the sea and he had leant back half the way to
talk to the one traveller ; and as Mr Rutterby
was quiet and reserved, the driver had chattered
at will. Before the Bay of Biscay came in sight
or the little blue bay, out of the Bay of Biscay,
round which Pornic rises Mr Rutterby could
have passed a creditable examination in his



4 PASTORALS OF FRANCE

charioteer's history, but the charioteer knew
nothing of Mr Rutterby.

At last, however having exhausted conversa-
tion on his own affairs he turned his attention
to the passenger's.

' Do you go to Pornic to amuse yourself, or to
be a gentleman's valet ? '

'Not to be a gentleman's valet,' said Mr
Rutterby, with a quiet smile at the corners of
his mouth. He wore a shabby overcoat ; he
was faithful to an old portmanteau ; and he
had an income of seven thousand a year.

'Then you go to amuse yourself? You cannot
amuse yourself at Pornic. There is no theatre,
no billiard -table no pretty women. Aha ! It
is at Nantes that you can amuse yourself.
Nantes ! What a city ! La grande mile. Ma
foi ! an inconceivable city. But Pornic !
you have made a mistake.'

' I am going on a visit to Monsieur de
Malmy,' said Philip Rutterby.

' Monsieur de Malmy ! ' said the driver. De
Malmy, though not rich, was a man of social
importance and the driver was no longer a
comrade. That air of companionship and
brotherly equality is welcome to travellers who
hate gratuities and desire information. With it,



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC 5

a gratuity is impossible, for a gratuity implies
inequality. The driver was no longer sociable.
At the top of the hill he was Mr Rutterby's
brother, at the bottom he was Mr Rutterby's
servant.

This was Pornic, if Monsieur pleased. If
Monsieur pleased, it might be anything else.

At last the diligence drove up to the yellow-
white inn, and rattled into its courtyard roofed
with vines. From the housetop on one side to
the housetop on the other, this green roof
stretched over the paved courtyard, a sunny
canopy, yet protecting the yard from a heat too
fierce. ' It is like an echo of Italy,' thought Mr
Rutterby, as he stepped slowly down from the
' supplement,' and Monsieur de Malmy kissed
him on his cheek.

Then visitor and host got into the host's
pony-carriage, and drove out to Saint-Marie,
where the Frenchman had a chalet every year
for the bathing season.

' And your son and daughter ? ' asked Mr
Rutterby, inquiring for them directly he had
been assured that Madame de Malmy was
well.

'Alas! dear friend, my son continues to dis-
turb me. Leon's expenditure is on the scale



P PASTORALS OF FRANCE

of a millionaire's. I am a weak man to allow
it, for it cripples me very much. Ondelette,
too, must suffer for it. It will reduce her
dowry; and the poor girl's dowry is small
enough already. She has little but beauty and
a name.'

' Well, that is much,' said Mr Rutterby
pleasantly.

' " Little " you mean in the age in which
we live. But never mind, never mind ! I am
not anxious to marry Ondelette. Ondelette is
young, and can wait. It will satisfy me for
her to be always with us. I should miss her
here miss her much more at Angers. I cannot
play Bach's preludes for myself. She must
stay to play them to me, I suppose.'

And now they were in front of the full sea.
The castle, and the little bay, and the many-
shuttered town rising tall on the hill side, were
left behind. They drove along the main road,
out to Saint-Marie, past villas and chalets set
in pleasant gardens, where silvery grass-plants
grew a dozen feet high, and rose-tree and
lavender, petunia and geranium, vine, acacia
and fig-tree, flourished together in that genial
sunshine and soft air of autumn afternoon.

' The Bay of Biscay is placid enough to-day,'



A LAST LOVE AT PORN 1C 7

said Mr Rutterby. But the summer lingers,
his friend could have told him, and gives place
only suddenly to winter and storm.

But here was the particular chalet which was
home for the present a creeper-covered cottage,
with pretty front, bizarre and individual, like
all the rest in the long and varied row set in
their gardens along the mile of peopled and
cultivated coast from Pornic to Saint-Marie.
A glass door from the garden led straight
into the little salon, and there sat Ondelette.

She had just come in with a basket of black-
berries, which grow in Pornic hedges big and
rich as mulberries.

' We will have them for dessert,' said
Ondelette. ' You must not neglect them my
blackberries. They all came out of the lane
leading to the Druids' Stones, papa. We must
take Mr Rutterby to see the Druids' Stones.
Oh ! but he doesn't care for anything except
Art I forgot. Whatever can you find to do at
Pornic ? '

' You shall take me to see the Druidical
remains, Ondelette,' said Mr Rutterby. He called
her by her Christian name because he was her
father's friend. He remembered the day when
he had congratulated her father on her birth.



8



PASTORALS OF FRANCE



He was thirty-five years her senior, for she was
nineteen and he was four-and-fifty.

' Thank you,' she said : ' that will be for to-
morrow. It will be a pleasant walk, at all
events. The stones stand high on neglected
ground. There are legends about them, and
terrors. But I don't myself care for legends
and terrors ; I assure you I prefer this dear
little sunny garden of a Pornic. It is all one
garden, in the eye of the sun from Pornic to
Saint-Marie.'

' It looks like a revival of Eden, I fancy,' Mr
Rutterby observed.

' With better gardening,' said Ondelette, ' for
Adam was but a beginner. He would never
have despised our Pornic and Saint-Marie.'

She had not seen the new guest for five years,
and was very young, inexperienced, and child-
like, but was as free with him as much at
home in a moment as any woman could have
been, were she accustomed to have a dinner-
party twice a week in London, and to say suit-
able nothings to half the world every night of
the season. For Ondelette lived a free family
life, quiet and intimate, whether at Angers
or Pornic. Few indeed were admitted to her
home ; but whoever was admitted, was at once



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC 9

a friend. When Mr Rutterby went upstairs to
dress himself for dinner, he carried with him
the impression of her frank simplicity, and
thought that he had seen a comely picture in
seeing her sun-browned cheeks, her large brown
eyes, very soft, over-shadowed with shining
hair, the colour of deep gold. Philip Rutterby
knew the old French poetry, and remembered
that Ondelette was of the type that Ronsard
loved seen most in the green sunny country of
Anjou la petite pucelle Angevine,

The little dining-room looked pleasant in the
evening, with its dark buffet and deep grey
wall-paper, and the lamp hung from the ceiling
throwing a bright light on the table, where
silver glittered and fine glass was clear, and
Ondelette's blackberries had the place of honour,
and were duly flanked by blue plates with
greyish-red chrysanthemums.

'It is early to make a show of your chrys-
anthemums,' said Mr Rutterby, 'for to-morrow
is but the first day of October. But your
instinct of colour is exquisite, Ondelette.'

'Thank you,' said Ondelette. 'The chrys-
anthemums cannot come soon enough, nor stay
long enough. They are my favourite flowers.
O ! but that is a poor word "favourite " flowers.



JO PASTORALS OF FRANCE

They are more than that. But perhaps it's
too early in the year for you to value them.
They are best in their own time, after all
when the earth is gloomy, whichever way
you look. In November they come like
cheerfulness in winter, but always very sober
delightfully sober like a friend who comes
in your trouble.'

' What is your " trouble," Ondelette ? ' asked
Madame de Malmy.

' My trouble ! Oh ! I have no trouble.
Perhaps I should not like these sad, dear, sober
things, if I had. There ! lie as I put you. He
will sink down below the rest. He is so modest
his stem is not long enough. He doesn't
assert himself that chrysanthemum. He will
never get on in the world.'

Philip Rutterby smiled.

'You have come to a foolish place,' said
Ondelette. 'We talk nothing but nonsense at
Pornic. It is such a pleasant place, there is no
need to be wise in it.'

' But we want to hear about your acquisitions,
my dear friend,' said De Malmy, with genuine
consideration for his friend, as well as with the
common worldly-wise knowledge that you please
a man most by talking about his own affairs.



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC 1 1

' What have you been picking up lately, since I
was with you in London ? '

One of Rutterby's few pleasures was to talk
about Art : so he answered readily, ' You know
Crome ? The chief painter of the Norwich land-
scape school, you remember. Unless, indeed,
Cotman '

' Even /, in France, know Crome,' said Onde-
lette. ' Have you got a picture of his, Mr
Rutterby ? '

'Two or three,' he answered, glad that she
cared to listen. ' I have had them for several
years on my dining-room wall. But it is a
little water-colour I was going to speak of to
your father. I had one home the day before I
came away. It is not at all a " taking " draw-
ing. But you must have what you can get of
Crome, I fancy, in water-colour. He is difficult
to meet with in water-colour; and when met
with, perhaps more interesting than valuable.
Perhaps he was not at his ease in water-colour
a little hard and dry, generally, I daresay;
but there are shivering, grey willows in the
background of this drawing which have the
same masterhand in them, unmistakably, as the
great willow picture which is still in Norfolk.
The French were right, I believe, in ranking



12 PASTORALS OF FRANCE

Crome high. Ondelette, do you draw in water-
colours ? '

'Ondelette obtained a certificate from the
teacher at the Convent,' her mother informed
Mr Rutterby, with pride.

' But Sister Claire was almost as partial to
me as Reverend Mother herself,' said the girl.
' I know it was not fair of her, though I did
try my best. And if I had deserved the cer-
tificate, it wouldn't have been much. I ought
indeed to be able to draw and play, being such a
wretched little housekeeper.'

'You tell us the truth, Mademoiselle,' her
father said, gently pulling the tip of her ear.
' As long as you stay at home with us, and
have your mother to fall back upon ' a
graceful concession on De Malmy's part to
the claims of Madame de Malmy 'your faults
in this matter may be overlooked; but the
day on which I put on my hat, little girl, to
go out and look for a son-in-law, I shall have
to remember what a child you are in these
matters. You would be at the mercy of your
servants, Ondelette.'

' Then I would have ^ooafservants, and should
like to be at their mercy. But that will not be
for a very long while.'



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC J 3

c Ondelette allows herself to say silly things,'
remarked her mother, in an explanatory
way.

' She has a very pretty talent as an artist,' her
father added, to Mr Rutterby. Ondelette was
used to be spoken of frankly, and these chance
phrases of slight praise or blame wrought no
change in her look and manner a look and
manner of much peace, breaking now and again
into merriment, as when summer lightning
breaks across a placid summer sky.

' Do you keep to your habit of walking
after dinner ? ' asked Monsieur de Malmy of his
guest.

' Except in winter,' said Philip Rutterby.
' Then I enjoy my own " interior " as best I
can looking over my portfolios, in my chair
by the fire, like the self-centred bachelor that
lam.'

' Do you like interiors ? ' asked Ondelette ;
' for if you do I will show you some pretty ones
in Pornic. I will take you a walk, some evening,
after dark.'

'There is no one to mind in Pornic,' inter-
polated Madame de Malmy.

' Last year, when papa was less busy, he and
I used to go our rounds after dark very often.



14 PASTORALS OF FRANCE

I have hardly been at all this year. Papa is
working so hard at his learned pamphlet, you
know all about the castle of Plessis-les-Tours.
But I tell papa your Walter Scott has been
before him in that.'

' Sir Walter wrote a novel, and would have
been the last person to think he had anticipated
my monograph,' answered the man of learned
leisure. ' Give us some music, my child, and
place for my friend Rutterby the cosiest chair in
the salon. Even your enthusiasm can hardly
propose to lead him forth to-night. Ah ! that
is right,' he added, passing into the little salon
and seeing with satisfaction the cheerful light of
the wood fire flickering, sober, and low ; ' to-
morrow is the first of October. The nights
freshen, mafille?

' No lamp, De Malmy no lamp, unless you
wish it. It would quite spoil the charm, I fancy.
I have no doubt Ondelette can play without any
further light, and the effect of the " interior " is
too pretty a one to spoil.' And Rutterby sat
down, as he was bidden, in the cosiest chair a
bachelor, when once past forty, takes the cosiest
chair without even knowing it and De Malmy
sat on the other side of the fire, and his wife be-
tween, and the firelight flickered on Ondelette's



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC ^5

hair and cheek, as she sat down to the little
straight black piano.

' In my house I have no use for a piano,' said
Philip Rutterby, rather sadly. (For he was
often a calmly melancholy man, of much timidity,
and he never sought to hide the expression of
his temperament.) ' But if I had a piano, it
should be a plain straight box, like your French
ones, and not spoilt by our meaningless curves
and vicious ornaments. A piano, De Malmy, is
a cabinet for music, and that is simply what it
ought to look like. The spinnet was really the
better-shaped instrument, painted in quiet tints,
sage greens and yellow browns, as in a picture I
have, by Van der Meer of Delft.'

' Shall you listen, do you think ? ' asked Onde-
lette, quite frankly.

1 Why, of course,' answered Rutterby.

' I asked, because, if people listen, they deserve
to know what they are listening to. I am going
to play a prelude of Bach's first; then a fugue
that does not belong to it.'

She played. He listened and looked. She
stopped. He asked her to repeat it. She played
the two again, without even glancing round by
way of answer to his request. And when the
two were finished once more an affair of only



1 6 PASTORALS OF FRANCE

five minutes there was nothing said directly;
and before the silence broke, Ondelette had
struck the full, deep chords once more, and
for the third time they heard that music's
passionate undertone.

' Then you like Bach ? ' she said to Mr Rut-
terby, now turning round from the piano, very
happy and satisfied. ' The man who wrote that
prelude must have felt something deeply. I
wonder what it was ? ' said Ondelette.

' You should play something else,' said
Madame de Malmy. ' One wearies of the same
thing.'

' I never get tired of the sea in autumn, and
its long, low roll, out here, that never stops.
Why should one be tired of Sebastian Bach, at
a third hearing ? Eh, papa ? '

It was to her father she appealed. And she
knelt down by him, and put her hand in his
arm, and looked into the fire, broodingly,
quietly. Madame de Malmy rang for the lamp,
and began to scan the pages of the ' Figaro.'

' And the monograph on Plessis-les-Tours ? '
asked Philip Rutterby, of his friend : ' Don't let
me interfere with your evening occupations.'

' I have nothing to do this evening but to
write two words to an English archaeologist,



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC '7

acknowledging the receipt of a remarkable paper
on " The Use of the word Pig, in its connection
with Pig Cross." Then we will talk again,
dear friend, and hear more of your acquisitions.'

' Have you long been a collector ? ' inquired
Madame de Malmy, with civil but languid
interest.

' A matter of twenty years, dear Madam,'
Rutterby answered. ' You see I have neither
chick nor child, nor any relation. My little
fortune has always been more than enough for
my own needs, and men as ignorant of the
world as I am do not know how to be charitable
wisely to anyone but themselves. So I have a
good many things by this time not of much
value to others, I daresay but I admire them
myself. Moreover, I think one does some good,
in guarding reverently, beautiful things.'

He always spoke of his collection modestly,
but it had been brought together with the finest
taste, and as to its money value, it was the
result of an annual outlay of several thousands,
continued now for twenty years. Experts, who
had seen it, were right in judging that alto-
gether it had cost a hundred thousand pounds,
and would fetch double that money.

When Philip Rutterby went up to bed, his



18 PASTORALS OF FRANCE

thoughts were full of Ondelette. A bachelor
of fifty-four, in indifferent health, is particular
about the disposition of his chamber, and the
set of its blinds and window curtains. He does
not sleep immediately in a fresh room. The
fresh room breaks in a little upon his familiar
ways. So Rutterby had time to think of
Ondelette. Her beauty had impressed him, and
he had been at home with it generally the
beauty he saw was only that which passed him
by chance in the street. There was such
simplicity, too, with the beauty, and with these
the poetry of girl-nature never suppressed
child-nature, perhaps; hardly a woman's yet.
'Were I a young man/ thought Philip Rut-
terby, ' I suppose I should fall in love with
her to-day or to-morrow. But for me, that is
all past all past,' he- muttered to himself. He
had had his passion in his youth, and had been
constant to it.

And yet not quite ' in his youth,' for his youth
had had its lighter loves ' blazes,' Polonius said,
1 giving more light than heat, you must not take
for fire.' These mild thin blazes of a mild quiet
temperament subsided soon, and at thirty an old
friendship glowed into love, and he looked
forward to happiness. The girl a city parson's



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC I 9

daughter fell suddenly ill. The marriage had
to be postponed, while she wintered abroad.
She came back stronger, and the marriage day
was fixed upon. But she was ill again, and
was hurried to the South to Hyeres whither
Philip Rutterby followed her. The new illness
was a short one. She died one bright November
morning, within sight of the Mediterranean.
They buried her under a row of cypresses that
bowed lightly over her with every wind from
the mountains. These things were very deep
in Rutterby's heart, and for two-and-twenty
years he had been faithful to that memory.

But, of course, in two-and-twenty years, a
structure wrought of many associations and
many days had arisen and spread itself over the
older memory, so that the older memory was
like some verses learnt in childhood, recalled
now and again, but not for service, or even
pleasure, in the present life the so-different,
ever-changing present life, with the common
thoughts and common needs of which this poor
dead far-away Past has nothing to do. To
many, when it does come up, that older memory
is like an attenuated ghost unreal beside the
gross, tangible presences of our vulgar days.

But there was nothing gross, indeed nothing



20 PASTORALS OF FRANCE

vulgar, indeed in Ondelette and her environ-
ments. It seemed like a new poem, the bright
and placid experience of the last few hours, to
Rutterby. There was the sunny, unfamiliar
country; the brown peasants, merry amidst
their rich lands, still almost in their yielding
time; there was the quaint, tall, many-shuttered
town, with narrow house fronts one above the
other, and hanging gardens, and small castle
jutting out where the sinuous, shallow river
passed into the little blue bay; there was the
deep blue bay which, as you followed with
keenest eye the track of its water, became some-
how invisibly all one with the great outer sea.
Then there had been the pleasant sight of
ordered villa and chalet, with luxuriant garden;
the cottage- villa, which was home for a while;
the cosy lights and glooms of its chambers, full
of objects which spoke to Rutterby of gentle
life, its joys and busyness the music Onde-
lette. Yes Ondelette.

All this produced a pleasant wakefulness. You
remember Goethe when he was at Marienbad
the summer holiday, the encounter with one for-
gets what German FrSulein, the stirred pulses,
the half-recognised longings and the poet was
seventy-four. Philip Rutterby was twenty years



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC 21

younger; but no poet, you may say. No, in-
deed, there was little power of expression
much reticence and timid reserve about that
lonely man, whose pictures were his friends, and
whose hermitage was in the heart of London.

Ondelette was in high spirits next morning,
at the ten o'clock breakfast ; flushed with the
salt-sea bath, and the walk after it along the
gleaming morning coast, sparkling with sun-
shine. Philip Rutterby looked at her from
under his thin iron-grey eyebrows, with the
quiet, steadfast examining eyes of the connois-
seur of Art eyes accustomed to the peaceful
contemplation of beautiful things. De Malmy
noticed how closely he looked at her. Presently,
when the meal was over, host and guest marched
out to the beach the beach of La Noveillard,
whose sands are washed by open sea ; more
timid bathers bathe in the little bay by the
castle, right under Pornic town ; but La Noveil-
lard was always the choice of De Malmy, who
was now only too glad to spend the best hours
of the day there with his friend, and watch the
sunlight steal along the coast, lighting up villa
and villa-garden, and the rising ground of brown
ploughed land beyond, dotted with grey farms
here and there, now rosy with late afternoon,



22 PASTORALS OF FRANCE

and then look out to the clear sky and infinite
sea, and in the far horizon the dark line of coast
the long dark streak of Isle Noirmoutier.

' You find her very beautiful my Ondelette ? '
said De Malmy, when they had watched the
afternoon bathers, and when he saw that Rut-
terby was no more minded than himself to .read
the English newspaper which they had brought
out lest talk should flag.

Philip Rutterby did not often express admira-
tion in strong words, and when he said quietly,
' I should think Ondelette a genius of happiness,'
the phrase meant much with him.

' I have not judged it convenient to mention
to her that I have just received a proposal of
marriage. The young man himself takes the
initiative, by writing me a letter which I have
received this morning. He is called Jules
Gerard a young man of some little talent
sous-prcfet of Saumur. Only twenty-eight years
of age. I suppose he wishes to marry himself
into a premature reputation for steadiness.'

'What does Ondelette think of him 1 ?' asked
Philip Rutterby, rather nervously.

' Ondelette, dear friend, thinks well of him, of
course ; for I have not educated Ondelette to
think ill of anybody. My child is as na'ive as



A LAST LOVE AT PORNIC 2 3

your Shakspere's "Miranda." Besides, she is


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