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Two Friends. Captain de Vabeaupont and His

Cabin Boy I

The Wedding Dinner. The Ball 29


Sixteen Months Later. Madame Pantalon De-
clares Herself 68


Chou-chou's Escapades. A Serious Resolution . 90

The Independents on Their Journey. Choice of

a Uniform ill

The Rural Guard 140

Great Works. The Ladies Establish a Journal . 156






Madame Vespuce's Novel and How She Read It

Without Interruption . . . . . . 187


A Challenge. An Invalid. A Military Promenade 209


Lundi-Gras as Cook. A Case to Defend . . 227


A Water Party. Fouillac as a Speculator. A Wild

Boar Hunt 260


News of Fouillac. Where Woman Always Re-
turns to Her True Nature 290



ON the Place de la Bourse, nearly opposite the
Vaudeville theatre, that at the time of which we
write, the year 1867, had not as yet been removed
to its new home in the Chaussee-d'Antin, two
young men met, looked at each other in surprise,
stopped suddenly, and heartily shaking hands ex-
claimed at one and the same time,

"Why, Adolphe!"


" What a lucky chance ! "

"So it is ; why, for six months I haven't caught
sight of you ! Where have you been hiding ? "

" My dear fellow, I've been hidden in Russia,
and very well hidden from head to foot in furs,
to guard me from the intense cold, I can assure

" And what were you doing in Russia ? You
are not an actor, you are not a painter, ah, I had
forgotten that you were a doctor ! An amateur phy-
sician, that is to say, for I believe you have not had
much practice as yet, although you have received
your degree."

Vol. XXI i


" Yes, I have received my degree ; but I have
come into some property, which obviates the neces-
sity of my following medicine, except in my leisure
moments. As for that, travel is very useful to one
who wishes to seek prescriptions to preserve the
health of his friends or his patients."

"You were always fond of going about and
seeing different countries; you are a regular

" Somewhat of a tourist, but that is beginning
to pass. I am getting close on to thirty, I think
I shall attain that age next month, and the desire
for travel lessens as one grows stouter."

" By Jove ! I ought to know how old you are,
since we were born in the same year and month,
and even on the same day, I think. Yes, my dear
Frederic Duvassel, we shall be thirty on the twenty-
first of next month."

" Really ! You are sure it isn't twenty-nine ?"

" No, it really is thirty."

"You dear old Adolphe Pantalon! you look as
young as possible, with your light hair, blue eyes,
and roseleaf skin; and you'll continue to look so
for some time to come."

" I am sure I hope so ! You with your dark
hair and eyes, pale skin and romantic features,
heaven knows how many successful love affairs you
have had."

"They were not all successful; some of them
turned out very badly indeed, I assure you ! "


"It was probably some intrigue of that nature
that took you to Russia ? "

" Not at all, I went there to settle an estate and
collect some outstanding debts. That business
being settled, I should have liked to explore the
country, which is very interesting, very picturesque;
but I have a brother here, younger than myself
by ten years "

" Oh, yes, little Gustave ! "

" My dear fellow ! little Gustave is over twenty
years of age ; he's a very handsome lad, not very
tall, but well-built; he has a charming disposition,
as gentle as a lamb, and is as timid as a young
lady that is to say, as a young lady who is timid.
But he is still rather childish, rather simple, even,
and that is why he needs a guide, a mentor; so, to
give him self-confidence, in which he is rather lack-
ing, I am going to have him travel. In four days
we leave for England, thence we shall go to Italy;
in fact, I want Gustave to learn something of peo-
ple, society, manners, by visiting other countries.
Will it profit him? It pleases me to think it will;
at any rate, it can do him no harm. Why, what
are you thinking of now, Adolphe? you don't seem
to be listening to me, and, strange as it may seem,
I like people to listen when I am talking to them.
There are some people who care nothing about
that, and who, provided they can talk, do not no-
tice whether their audience pays any attention to
them or not ; you may answer them at cross pur-


poses, but they still go on. They are like those
others who, at a social gathering, sit down to the
piano and keep on singing when everybody is en-
gaged in private conversation those people sing
and talk for themselves."

" I am listening, my dear fellow ! yes, yes, I
heard all you said; but I have a good many things
on my mind."

" Well, you have rather a strange expression ;
but I am reassured, since you look cheerful rather
than sad."

"Ah, I am going to give you some very astonish-
ing news; however, it is nothing but what's quite

" The deuce ! you rouse my curiosity. Let's
hear your news."

" I am going to be married, my dear fellow."

" You are going to be married ? is it possible ?
already ! "

" Already, you say, why, at thirty years of age,
there's no already about it."

"You are going to marry, and why should you
do that ? You are a lawyer, you have a fortune,
and you were so happy."

"Yes, but I marry in the hope of being further
so and then a good many people have said to
me, ' Pantalon, why don't you marry? you ought
to marry, it gives a young man an assured position
in society.' '

" Some people are always meddling with what


does not concern them. I'll wager the ones who
said that to you were married."

" Why do you think that ? "

" Oh, because well, never mind ! If it is all
settled, I hope you've done well. And whom are
you going to marry ? "

" Mademoiselle Cesarine Ducrochet."

" By Jove, where did you pick her up ? "

"In society, in very good company indeed. You
don't suppose I am marrying blindly. Mademoi-
selle Cesarine is the daughter of an honorable mer-
chant ; she early lost both parents and was brought
up by a maternal uncle, M. de Vabeaupont, a re-
tired sea captain, who is very rich, has never been
married, and who worships his niece, to whom he
will leave all his fortune, and to whom he will give
a hundred thousand francs on her marriage."

" That's something. And how old is the young
lady ? "


" Twenty-five ! a hundred thousand francs dowry,
heiress to a very rich uncle she must be very
ugly, or deformed."

" Not at all. She is tall, well-built, and has
very fine features. What made you think she was

" Because I don't understand how, with such a
fine dowry and so many advantages, she is not
married before twenty-five."

" You will understand it perfectly when you


learn that Mademoiselle Cesarine was brought up
at her uncle's chateau, where, since she was ten
years old, she has done as she pleased. M. de
Vabeaupont, who is very old, and laid up with
gout a great part of the year, has never opposed
his niece in anything, even allowing her to choose
her own masters when she desired any ; being thus
left to herself, you can comprehend that Cesarine
has become rather how shall I express it?
rather mannish. She rides on horseback, uses
weapons and takes gymnastic exercises just like a
man perhaps does these things better than some

" Devil take it ! Devil take it ! "

" What makes you say that ? "

" Tell me the rest."

"Then she got the idea of studying law, the
code, of learning Latin she speaks Latin, my dear
fellow ! "

" That will make your domestic life felicitous :
When you wish to kiss your wife, she will say to
you, l Non possumus.' '

" As you may well imagine, that was only a pass-
ing fancy she will soon forget all that. In fact,
used as she had become to following her own will
alone, Cesarine did not care to marry and exchange
her liberty for a bond which would give her a

"She was right."

" She refused all the matches which were offered


her, and they were not a few. But her uncle ended
by getting vexed about it, and he told her that he
should like to see his grandnephews and grand-
nieces about him. For the first time he would not
give way to her, he would be obeyed, and he took
his niece into society, saying to her, * Take whom
you wish for your husband, but take some one.'
Then it was that I met her."

" And you, of course, made a conquest of the
fair Cesarine ? "

" It seems so ; and, by Jove, I didn't take much
pains to do it, for you know I'm not very skilful
with women some one told me that she thought
I looked like a good fellow."

"So you do, in fact."

"Also that that pleased her better than the more
pretentious manners of bigger swells than I."

" As for you, you fell in love with this damsel
straightway, I suppose ? "

"In love ! oh, by Jove ! no. I liked her,
thought her very good-looking. She's dark, very
dark, in fact, hair, eyes, skin, even, which has a rich
warm tinge ; her mouth is stern and I think she
has a little mustache, but not enough to be un-
becoming. In fact, she is a fine-looking person,
but one dare not joke with her for fear his pleas-
antries may be ill-received."

" Well, that will be some sort of a guaranty that
your wife will be faithful."

" My wife faithful ? " resumed Adolphe, with


an air of indifference, " Oh, I shall never be uneasy
as to that ; in the first place, I am not of a jealous
disposition. I have presented my sister Elvina
to Cesarine, who liked her very much and has
undertaken to finish her education."

" Why, of course, you have a sister! How old
is she now ? "

" She is almost seventeen, and is very pleasing ;
after my mother's death I sent her to boarding-
school ; but when I am married to Cesarine, my
sister will live with us, that is settled."

" When is this famous marriage to take place? "

" Tomorrow, my dear fellow, at the latest."

" So soon as that ? "

" And you will come to my wedding ? I shall
count on you."

" You invite me because you happened to meet
me thanks awfully."

" As a proof to the contrary, look at this list of
persons I was going to invite today you head it."

" That's so ; well, then, I will come to your
wedding. After all I am glad it takes place to-
morrow, as I leave in four days. But how about
my brother Gustave ? "

" You will bring him with you, of course ; one
can never have too many dancers at a wedding.
Will you come to the dinner? "

" Oh, no, a wedding feast is a family affair, and,
when one knows neither the bride's nor the bride-
groom's people it's rather a bore."


" Well, I won't press you, for I am of your
opinion, it is not entertaining to a stranger, and
then Uncle Vabeaupont, the old sailor, is not
always amiable ; he swears like a trooper, and his
talk is seasoned with I don't know how many nau-
tical terms ; when he has the gout he is worse than
ever. At four o'clock in the morning we shall
have a special little supper."

" At four o'clock ! that's very late. When are
you going to withdraw with your wife."

"My dear fellow ; it is my wife who has settled
it all ; I only follow her instructions."

"What! already? Come, that's doing very well;
now I know that she regulated everything I see
that all will go on as it should."

" Now I must leave you, I'm pressed for time,
as you may imagine ; I am so afraid of forgetting
something, and on the occasion of one's marriage
one is sure to forget something. My affianced has
charged me with so many commissions. Bouquets,
orange-flowers let me see, what did she say
about them ? "

" That she did not want any ? "

" The idea ! she wants a great many, on the con-
trary, and that is easily understood ; when a woman
waits to be married until she is twenty-five she's
entitled to an extra large bouquet."

" Then if a young lady marries at sixty she is
entitled to a whole orange tree in a box. But, one
moment ! what is the address of the restaurant


where you are to hold the wedding festivities ? if
you want me to come I must know that."

" How stupid I am ; it will be just like me to
forget I am married tomorrow. My dear fellow,
my wedding festival takes place at Bonvalet's,
Boulevard du Temple ; they have some fine rooms,
where people may dine and dance very comfort-

" At Bonvalet's, very well ; at eleven o'clock
my brother and I will be there."

" That is too late ; Cesarine has settled that
otherwise. The dinner is to be at five o'clock
precisely that's the uncle's dinner time. At
seven o'clock every one will change their dress,
and the ball will begin at nine o'clock, because
uncle wants to see the dancing and he goes to bed
at midnight do you understand ? "

" Very well, but as I don't care to dance before
the uncle, I shall come as late as I can. Good-by,
till tomorrow."

Before going to this wedding, reader, let us be-
come further acquainted with the person who is to
become Madame Pantalon, and with her uncle,
the former captain of a frigate, Hercule de Vabeau-

We have little to add to the portrait of the bride
which has been drawn for us by her future hus-
band. Mademoiselle Cesarine was a beautiful
woman, tall, but well-proportioned, rather strong,
rather fat for her age, a Juno rather than a Venus.


Her features were regular, her nose aquiline and
very slightly curved after the fashion of a bird's
beak ; her eyes were lively, bold and capable of
a calm, unflinching gaze. Her hair and eyebrows
were quite black, she was a very dark woman. In
her manner and walk there was something mascu-
line ; however, when she chose to smile and make
herself agreeable one thought her quite feminine.
Mademoiselle Cesarine Ducrochet had an imperi-
ous disposition, everybody must do as she wished.
At bottom she was not bad, but she would not
yield, even when she was in the wrong in the
first place, she never thought she was in the wrong.

Her uncle had so often repeated to her that she
had more mind than anyone else, that she believed
herself a genius, and she was not sensible ; but in
answering a malicious speech or uttering an imper-
tinence she was never at a loss. This kind of wit
is very common among women, the most stupid
of them are sometimes sparkling.

Hercule de Vabeaupont was sixty-five years of
age. He was a big man, thin, with strongly
marked features, a piercing eye, and a voice which
resembled thunder. But age and numerous wounds
had quite changed him.

The captain was round-shouldered and could
hardly walk, his gray hair still covered a part of
his forehead, and his mustache was quite white,
but his voice had hardly lost its vigor, and when
his anger was roused it still had the threatening


reverberations which had made his seamen obey
his commands.

The sole passions of M. Vabeaupont's life were
glory and the pleasures of the table ; he had been
a mighty fighter, had given chase to pirates and
had brought many a corsair low.

He had only left the sea, the theatre of his ex-
ploits, when vanquished by age and the gout, which
now gave him no truce, and had then retired to a
very fine property, a kind of small chateau, which he
possessed at Bretigny, a little village in Picardy, in
the neighborhood of Noyon.

But the old captain did not retire to his domain
unaccompanied, he took with him his cabin boy, who
was also his protege and whom he loved as much
as he was capable of loving anybody, and to whom
he was thus attached because he had almost brought
him up, and people usually become attached to
those to whom they do good ; it would only be
right that this attachment should be reciprocated
by the person benefited ; however, there are nearly
as many ungrateful persons as there are benefactors.

Here it was not so ; a little boy, who might have
been seven or eight years old, had been found on
a pirate ship which the captain had captured. Who
was he ? whence did he come ? whom were his
parents ? This was what they could not find out,
and it made them a little uneasy. The child was
pleasing and they carried it to the captain, who
was then quite a young man, but who, with all his


bravery, had a weakness for children ; on seeing
this one, he exclaimed,

" And who is this midget ? "

" No one knows, captain, we found him in the
chief pirate's room. Probably his father was killed
during the combat."

" Well, we'll keep him, we'll make a man of
him. Can he talk ? "

"A jargon that no one understands."

" Come here, little one, what is your name ? "

The child did not answer ; but he began to
laugh, and snatching from a sailor's hand a goblet
containing a little rum, he put it to his lips and
swallowed the contents without making a grimace.

This action delighted the captain ; he took the
little boy in his arms and jumped him on his knee.

" Devil take it ! you'll be a fine fellow," said
he, " the rum didn't even make you wink. Come,
I shall keep you, you shall be my cabin boy. I
attach you especially to my person. What is
today ? "

" Captain, it's carnival time and this is Lundi-
Gras ! "

" Really ? well, there's a name all ready made.
Little fellow, you shall be called { Lundi-Gras.'
Do you hear, you others ? Now take Lundi-Gras
away, clean him, rig him out as a cabin boy and
teach him his new duties. I have an idea we shall
make something of him."

This was how the captain, who was still young,


received M. Lundi-Gras, who since that time had
never left his captain, whom he obeyed as the
most faithful dog obeys his master. But the little
cabin boy, whose face at first had been round and
saucy, soon became a great, blowsy fellow, whose
very frequent use of rum gave him a careless and
even rather brutal expression.

Lundi-Gras became very fat, but did not grow
tall, and remained a dwarfish man, which did not
prevent his doing his work well and always being
there to execute his captain's orders. The latter,
who was very tall, when he talked to his cabin boy
leaned upon him as though he were a cane. The
captain placed his hand on Lundi's shoulder, and
if he walked made the man walk before him, as if
he held a bamboo, and the cabin boy, being used
to this manoeuvre, lent himself to it with equa-

Lundi-Gras was twenty years younger than the
captain, so when the latter was obliged to say good-
by to his frigate at the age of sixty, his cabin boy was
only forty. But, thanks to the rum, which he fre-
quently abused, and to the sun, which had tanned
his skin, M. Lundi-Gras looked almost as old as
his captain.

His corpulence added to his unpleasant appear-
ance. As he was very fat indeed, his cheeks hung
in folds, like awnings drawn up at the window ; his
nose, shaped like a chestnut, was almost hidden in
the folds of his cheeks, and his big, stupid eyes


made him look like one of those grotesque masks
which architects sometimes put on the fa9ade of a

M. de Vabeaupont, who had not wished to be
separated from his cabin boy, had taken Lundi-
Gras to his little chateau, saying to him,

" You shall never leave me again, you shall lead
the life of a pasha here. You shall have nothing
to do but eat, sleep, drink, and be always at my
orders, ready to obey me at the first word ; does
that suit you ? "

" It suits me well, captain."

" And as one has to do something to pass the
time when one can no longer fight, you shall play
a game with me when it suits me."

"Yes, captain."

" What games do you know ? "

" Dominos, captain."

" That is something ; but it is not sufficient.
Can't you play cards ? "

"I can play beggar-my-neighbor."

"That isn't a game. Can't you play piquet? "

" No, captain."

" I'll teach you ! Every man should know how
to play piquet."

" I know how to play drogue J and pied de boeuf. 2 ''

" That's good ! I'll teach you to play piquet.

1 Drogue. A game of cards in vogue among soldiers j the loser has to place
and keep a forked stick on his nose.
* A child's game.


You shall try not to get tipsy so often. And when
my gout allows me we will go a-hunting."

"Yes, captain."

Everything was done as M. de Vabeaupont had

They installed themselves at the chateau in
Bretigny, a vast dwelling which had more than
twenty rooms, without the servants' offices. These
rooms were not all in good repair, but it was easy
to restore them. The manor was something like
those ancient castles which are found in such pro-
fusion in English romances. It was flanked by
two towers, to which had been given the high-
sounding names of the north tower and the south
tower. On each of these towers there was still a
culverine which must have dated from the time of
King John, and which had not been used since

But the garden was very large, there was a piece
of water, a grotto, a little lake ; then a wood, which
covered about three acres and might have passed
for a park, adjoined the garden.

The village of Bretigny was not large, but the
inhabitants were well-to-do, and poverty was un-

The peasants were strong and hearty, the wom-
en pleasing, the children fat ; and they all had a
cheerful expression which did one good to see.
Only there they used cider as the ordinary drink
of the country ; wine was an extra. The bigwigs


of the place alone had cellars ; but that mattered
little to the inhabitants of the chateau, where the
cellars were always amply replenished; for, like
all gouty people, the captain was exceedingly fond
of good wine.

Unfortunately, his gout had not diminished, per-
haps because of the great care M. de Vabeaupont
took to stock his cellar.

He had not been able to go hunting, and was
obliged to content himself with playing a game of
dominos with his cabin boy, to whom he en-
deavored to impart the principles of the game of
piquet, but who could not comprehend it and could
not get it into his head that quinte and quatorze
made ninety-four.

The captain showed much obstinacy, however,
and every evening after dinner he had a bowl of
punch made and placed on the card table at which
he seated himself, saying to Lundi-Gras,

" Come, sit down there, opposite me, take the
cards and try to pay attention ; I have got it into
my head that you shall learn piquet."

" I ask nothing better, captain."

"Then remember what I have told you. Let's
see, have you discarded ? "

" No, captain, I was waiting for you to order

"There is no need for me to order you, you
ought to do it. Take your five cards."

" There you are, captain."

Vol. XXI


" Now, how many cards have you in your hand ? "

" I have twelve, captain."

" Well, of all the stupid animals ; I meant how
many cards of your suit of your color, have
you ? "

"Of my color wait; I have seven black and
five red."

" Why, bless my portholes ! Can't you distin-
guish between diamonds and hearts, clubs and
spades ? "

" I meant to tell you, captain, but these ladies
are dressed in the same colors and that mixed me

" But a heart doesn't in the least resemble a

" Oh, excuse me, it was because I had a friend
who used to make flaming hearts for his sweetheart
and those of the other men, and he always made
his hearts like diamonds, he said that was the proper

"Go to the devil with your hearts and diamonds!
Let's see, how many dames have you ? "

" I haven't any, captain, I have always made it
my duty to take pattern by you, so I remained a

" Confound it; I was speaking of the game, how
many queens have you ? if you like that better."

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