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NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES



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With a good wind.



(See page 243.)



CHRISTINE'S CAREER



A STORY FOR GIRLS



BY

PAULINE KING



ILLUSTRATED









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NEW YORK

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

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TO NEW 'YORK

PUBLIC LIBRARY



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COPYRIGHT, 1896,
BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.



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THIS VOLUME IS LOVINGLY DEDICATED TO

CHRISTOPHER, CORNELIA, AND MERRITT.



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CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY 1

II. AUNT GEORGIANA 14

III. THE WHITE DRESS 25

IV. THE CHATEAU 37

V. THE FIRST COMMUNION 47

VI. GOOD-BYES 61

VII. ON THE OCEAN 70

VIII. AMERICA 82

IX. COUSINS 91

X. SCHOOL HOURS AND PLAY HOURS 102

XI. SAD DAYS 115

XII. THE PLAY'S THE THING 124

XIII. TREASURE TROVE 135

XIV. CHRISTMAS 143

XV. AN AMERICAN GIRL INDEED 152

XVI. DICK'S HAPPY HOUR 159

XVII. LEAD us NOT INTO TEMPTATION 174

XVIII. CONTENTMENT is BETTER THAN WEALTH . . . 190

XIX. THE KING OF THE CANNIBAL ISLANDS .... 207

XX. THE HEART PARTY 218

XXL BY THE SEA 230

XXII. AN AMERICAN CITIZEN 241

XXIII. SWEET SEVENTEEN. CONCLUSION 253



LIST OF ILLUSTKATIOXS.



FACINO
PAGK

With a good wind Fronii^nece

" Mademoiselle ! help me, dear child " 4

The first communion 50

Notre Dame 61

Medici Fountain, Luxembourg Garden ..... 69

Comforters 87

The Victory of the Louvre 141

Dick's " Happy Hour " 163

The Royal Family of Hearts 224



CHRISTINE'S CAREER.




CHAPTER I.

THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY.

[HE Seine is a wonderful river with its wind-
ings and twisting through meadows, fields,
and cities down to Paris and the sea. It
sees many quaint and curious sights in all its travels,
but nowhere is it more beautiful than at Ververney,
where it passes under the old crumbling gray bridge.

Yerverney is only a little mouldering market town
now, but it was a thriving Norman city once, in the days
when the beautiful half-ruined cathedral, the graceful
spires of which are to be seen for miles around, was new.
When the quaint, bulging fronted houses, that Hue the
narrow streets, settled quite off the perpendicular in the
centuries since they were builded, were the homes of
stout burghers and men-at-arms.

Once a week, on market days, the town breaks out

1



2 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

into great excitement peasants with baskets of fruit
and vegetables, venders of poultry and cattle, and ped-
dlers of quaint Norman pottery, bargain and scream
themselves hoarse for a few hours. The rest of the time
the town sleeps away its existence, and flocks of pigeons
fly about the streets undisturbed save by the evening
chimes.

Up from the river valley rise gently sloping hills,
divided off into neat garden patches and trim vineyards,
with each carefully pruned vine twined in an orderly
manner around a green stake. Nestling in among the
gardens and vineyards are dotted clusters of dwellings.
Over the tops of the high stone walls, with which every
little holding is surrounded, one catches sight of small
one-story stucco cottages coloured pink or green or blue,
which the sun and rain of many years have transformed
into beautiful hues. And there are glimpses of gay
flower gardens and of old gnarled orchard trees through
the iron gateways.

Straight up the long hill about two miles from Ver-
verney there is such a cluster of little houses, which
wear a more prosperous air than most of those in the
neighbourhood. Once upon a time, indeed, and not



THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY. . 3

so many years ago, it was as unkempt and forlorn as
any of its neighbours, and then, so the story goes, a
great artist wandering down from Paris ctopped there
and found the place beautiful, and, staying there to
paint, he bought one of the little cottages, and lived
in it for many years. Thus the fame of the beauty of
Ververney spread, and many artists came, and they,
too, settled down in the little pink and blue cottages,
until the place was full of French and English. and
American families.

In one of these gardens on a warm August after-
noon a girl of some twelve years was lying in the shade
of an apple tree reading a book. She was quite flat on
the grass, with her feet kicking in the air, and her short
red hair tumbled about her face in disorder. She was
so absorbed in her book and indeed how could it be
otherwise, for she is reading Little Women for the first
time? that though we enter the garden she will not
raise her head, but goes on reading, her chin in her
hands, quite oblivious even of the ripe mulberry bushes
hanging with luscious fruit, which are well within her
reach.

The gate opens and shuts, but she heeds it not; then



4 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

suddenly a gruff but kindly voice, speaking in the Nor-
man patois, breaks the stillness.

" Mademoiselle ! Mademoiselle ! help me, dear
child; the dinner of Monsieur will assuredly be late.
The market was truly so fascinating that it was impos-
sible to tear one's self away, and already it is close to
the hour when Monsieur will return."

The speaker was a little, bent old woman whose
wrinkled and weather-worn face was surrounded by a
spotless white cap with wide flapping sides, the head-
dress of the peasants in that part of the country. She
wore also the customary sack and short blue petticoat,
the latter displaying a great pair of wooden shoes, and
strapped over her back was a big willow pannier out of
which stuck the ends of the various purchases she had
been making in the town.

Christine sprang up from the grass, dropping Little
Women in haste. As she stood aiding the old woman
to unstrap her load one could see that she was rather
tall for her age, and her face, now that the mass of
heavy locks was pushed away from it, was, though in
no wise regularly beautiful, a sweet, girlish one, lit with
a pair of intelligent hazel eyes.




" Mademoiselle ! help me. dear child."



\



THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY. 5

Christine deftly unfastened the straps of the pan-
nier, listening while the good woman displayed her
bargains, each one of which had been secured only by
her remarkable sagacity in beating down the price sou
after sou. The old woman's economical foibles and her
ancient enemies in the market were well known to Chris-
tine.

" You need not worry about being late," she said,
answering the servant's self-reproaches at being so long
delayed. " It's such a clear evening I fancy father
will stop to finish the sunset by the brook, so dinner
would have to be late anyway." She spoke quickly in
French, speaking it as though it were her mother tongue,
with an accent very different from the old woman's
nasal patois.

" Ah, mademoiselle, if you will only spread the
table for me, everything else I can attend to." And
she carried the heavy basket into the small tiled kitchen
which glistened with an array of burnished copper uten-
sils.

While 'Toinette, called " Bon f emme ' ' in affection
by the little girl, was bustling about in the kitchen,
lighting the stove and muttering ejaculations of horror



(J CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

at the lateness of the hour, accompanied by many
twitchings of the immaculate cap, Christine had tied
a big apron over her pretty short-waisted muslin and
was piling dishes upon a tray, with a skilf ulness which
argued that this was not the first time the market of
Yerverney had proved attractive to 'Toinette.

" Forget not the salad plates, nor the bowl of mayon-
naise, mademoiselle," called 'Toinette, breathlessly
puffing at the bellows to light the charcoal stove.
" Also "

But Christine, not heeding, was out of the door and
down the garden path, carrying the big tray with its
glistening array of glass and china. On she went to the
spacious vine-covered arbour at the end of the garden,
for, strange as it may appear to boys and girls who
regard eating in the open air as a picnic, it is the cus-
tom in France, with rich and poor alike, to dine and
even breakfast out of doors in fair weather.

There was a big table in the arbour, and Christine
took a linen cloth out of the drawer and set it with a
great bowl of roses in the centre, a dish of crisp green
lettuce at one side and a tall Venetian flagon of " vin
du pays ' just as she knew her father liked to see it.



THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY. 7

Tlien she went down to the gate to watch for the
first glimpse of her father coming down the flat road.
The peasants going home from their work in the fields
nodded " bon soir 7 ' as they passed, to the little wistful
face pressed against the bars. The last gleam of their
white caps faded out of sight and the road was quite
quiet, but still her father did not come.

" Bon fenirne," she cried at last, " I am going down
to fetch papa; he must have forgotten how late it is,
and he will be very hungry."

The big iron gate slammed behind her and she sped
down the road in the direction of the brook where she
knew her father was painting. There, sure enough,
he was sitting in front of his easel with his big palette
on his thumb and his great sketching box at his
feet.

"All! here comes my little dinner bell," Mr.
Averil called gaily as he caught sight of the little fig-
ure with its flying curls tearing along through the
meadow.

Christine snatched a hurried kiss, keeping clear of
his great sheaf of wet brushes and the large palette,
terrible destroyer of muslin gowns. Then she looked



8 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

at his sketch of the evening sky, the willow trees, and
the water radiant with the inany-hued reflections of
the setting sun.

" Such a beautiful picture, papa! ' she said, which
was her invariable comment upon every sketch, for she
thought everything that her father said or did was ab-
solutely perfect. "Isn't it most done? Wouldn't you
like some dinner? '

Mr. Averil laughed, scraping up his palette and
picking up his sketching things.

" Yes, dear, quite done." The father and daugh-
ter spoke in English. " I was just going home when
I saw my Will-o'-the-wisp coming after me." He
packed up the wet sketch and, shouldering the load,
they left the meadow, walking home slowly through the
clear twilight which lasts so long abroad.

For all the years Mr. Averil had lived abroad, one
would never have mistaken him for anything but an
American, and although Christine was born in France
and had never seen her own country, she had the un-
mistakable stamp of an American girl.

Christine's mother died when she was a tiny baby,
and the father and daughter were all in all to each other.



THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY. 9

In the winter they live in Paris, and Mr. Averil paints
in the big studio, while Christine went to school in the
" Hue des petits enfants." In the summer they come
down to Yerverney, where they own one of the pic-
turesque cottages, and Christine lives out of doors from
morning until night.

The big paint box has to be put away and Chris-
tine's rough locks put in order before they can sit
down to dinner; but finally she is seated opposite her
father at the table in the arbour with a steaming bowl
of appetizing bouillon before her.

" And what has my little girl been doing all this
afternoon? It was market day, was it not, and you
were alone ? '

" Oh, yes. Bon feinme went to market."

" And was delayed, I suppose." For it is a standing
joke that Bon femme never, never can understand
where the time goes on market day.

" Oh, yes, and I set the table; does it look quite
right?"

" Quite right, my little daughter," looking over the
tasteful table. " You have certainly improved since

the first time; you are getting to be quite a house-
2



10 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

keeper. It didn't take you all the afternoon to ac-
complish such perfection, did it? '

" Oh, no, papa, certainly not; I did lots of other
things. I had a beautiful drive with Cherie."

Now Cherie which in French is about the equiva-
lent for darling had been, when first given to Chris-
tine, a soft and amiable young donkey who quite an-
swered to the description of his name. "With years
Cherie, however, had grown stiff and cranky, but he
was still in his mistress's eyes the most beautiful steed
in the world, and she was never happier than when,
seated in her little tan-coloured cart, she was urging
him off a walk or trying to persuade him that meals
.of thistles at all hours were not a bit good for his di-
gestion.

The idea of anybody having a beautiful drive with
Cherie struck Mr. Averil as rather a remarkable feat;
but Christine went on recounting her adventures:

" Then when Cherie got tired of going he just
turned around and came home, and I read all the after-
noon. I had a new book called Little Women such
a lovely story one of the "

But Christine broke off suddenly; her spoon re-



THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY.

mained suspended in the air as she gazed in astonish-
ment over her father's shoulder. Mr. Averil turned his
head and was no less surprised than his daughter. A
lady with severe features and gray hair, her tall figure
clad in black, was coming up the garden path. She
had a strange foreign air quite different from any one
Christine had seen before, and, as she stood hesitating
which way to turn among the rows of hollyhocks and
dahlias, her stiff black figure looked like a veritable
bad fairy godmother to Christine, and she felt quite
stony when the unknown lady, catching sight of the
inhabitants of the arbour, turned that way.

Why, Georgie," cried Mr. Averil, recovering from
his astonishment and advancing enthusiastically to meet
the stranger with outstretched hands, " what a wonder-
ful surprise ! Christine, dear, this is your Aunt Georgi-



ana.'



Another moment and she realized that the lady's
face, for all its stern features, was most sweet and
kindly. She was folded in the stranger's arms, and
a soft, gentle voice said pleasantly:

e My dear little niece, how glad I am to see you ! '

Of course Christine had alwavs known that she had



12 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

an Aunt Georgiana away off in America. Several times
a year she wrote English letters to her in her little
cramped French hand, and at Christmas and on birth-
days she always received some pretty gift from across
the sea, with a few short messages of love and congratu-
lation. But this distant aunt had never seemed like a
real person to her, and America and everything con-
nected with it was so hazy in her mind that she could
not have been more surprised if her relative had an-
nounced that she had just arrived from the moon.
" I meant to send vou word I was coming, Chris-

t/ O /

topher," said Aunt Georgie, " but I am such a poor
sailor that I was afraid I might not come at the last
moment. Some friends of mine were coming over, and
I joined them, though my trip can only be a flying one.
I was absolutely wearying for a sight of my little niece."

Bon femme, all excited by the new arrival, bustled
out of the cottage with an extra plate, knife, and fork,
laying a place for " Madame," with many apologies lest
the soup should be cold.

Aunt Georgie did not look a bit like a bad fairy
when she took off her bonnet, showing a smooth, broad
forehead and soft gray hair waved away from a straight



THE COTTAGE AT VERVERNEY. 13

parting. Her eyes were so friendly that Christine,
though too shy to speak, could not help thinking that
she was an especially nice aunt.

She seated herself at the table and tried Bon
femme's excellent soup, her quick eyes taking in the
dainty arrangements of the table, the pretty garden,
and the vine-covered house which was bathed in the
last rays of the setting sun.

" This is absolutely Arcadia, Christopher," she said.
" I don't wonder people like to live abroad when they
can find such a charming place as this. I am sure if
I staid here any length of time I should never be able
to tear myself away from a pale-green house and such
excellent dinners in a picturesque arbour."

Christine sat listening. She wondered what colour
the houses were in America, and why her aunt thought
it picturesque to have dinner in the arbour.




CIIAPTEK II.

AUNT GEOEGIANA.

JHRISTINE never forgot that meal as long as
she lived. Although she is now a woman,
she can shut her eyes and see the arbour and
the dinner table, her father sitting opposite her and her
aunt's erect figure against the background of vine leaves.
She was quite awed by the stranger's arrival, for though
she was such a chatterbox when she was alone with her
father or Bon f emme, she was always very shy with other
grown-up people.

Aunt Georgie evidently understood the nature of
little girls and the excellence of the motto that they
should " be seen and not heard/' for, her affectionate
greeting being over, she devoted herself to conversing
with Mr. Averil about America and people and things
of which Christine had never heard before. Xow and
then she would smile pleasantly at her little niece or

glance affectionately at her with her dark eyes, so that

- 14



AUNT GEORGIANA. 15

Christine's shyness began to wear off, and with the ap-
pearance of dessert a great bowl of strawberries and a
pitcher of yellow creani she found voice to hazard the
remark which had been hovering on her lips for some
time.

" Perhaps you are tired and would like a cup of tea,
madame," not quite knowing whether to say aunt or
not. " Shall I go and make it? "

" Aunt not madame," said the lady, and it was

i/ /

surprising how, when she spoke, her thin face was lit
by such a lovely smile that no one would ever have
thought her a bit severe. " But do you know how to
make tea, dear? '

" Oh, yes," said Mr. Averil, putting his arm lovingly
around his daughter, for she had slipped from her chair.

*

" Christine is my tea-maker, home-maker, and all you
can trust to her making it just right. Bon femme con-
siders tea a medicine to be taken after much boiling
in case of severe illness, so an English lady showed
Christine just how to make it. She is very careful to
heat the pot and have the water boiling just as she
should."

Christine turned to go to the house, but before



16 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

she got quite out of earshot she heard her aunt

say:

" What a big girl she is for her age, and what a
nice little maiden! Is she talented? She looks interest-
ing."

Christine heard the remark and immediately quick-
ened her pace. She did not care to hear her father's
reply. It was the one blot on an otherwise happy child-
hood that people always would say when they saw her
for the first time, " Well, my dear, are you going to be
an artist like your father? I fancy you will be having
a great career one of these days." Then Christine
would blush and hang her head, for, truth to tell, she
showed not the slightest symptom of inheriting either
her father's talents for painting or the genius of her
young mother, who, when only eighteen, had modelled
a statue so beautiful that the French Government had
bought it and placed it in the Luxembourg Garden.

Most of the time for Christine was a healthv, nor-

/ /

mal child her mind was filled with childlike things,
but now and then the strange lack of talents in one
who by right should have had them made her think
seriously, and the question of what the career that



AUNT GEORGIANA. 17

was expected of her could possibly be, puzzled her ex-
tremely.

In a little while she came back to the arbour bearing
a steaming pot of good strong tea which was very re-
freshing to her aunt after the hot journey down from
Paris. The grown people were still interested in talk-
ing of matters with which she had no concern, so she
went out into the garden and sat down on the ground
under her favourite tree. She wondered what America
was like and if she would ever go there ; and if the boys
and girls all had such a good time as they had in Little
Women, one of the few American stories that she had
read. She was sure that she would like her new relative
ever so much, and she only hoped that her aunt would
like her as well and not be disappointed at the dearth
of those talents about lack of which she was herself so
much concerned.

" Dear, dear! ' thought the child, " if only a fairy
would come along and say to me, ' Dear Christine, what
would you like to have? ' I would just answer, ' Oh,
a talent, fairy, anything at all, I don't care what, but
a nice big talent so that people won't be disappointed



in me.' "



18 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

Her meditations were just then broken in upon by
a click of the garden gate and an apparition appeared
which, while it could certainly have never been a fairy,
presented in the dim light something of the appearance
of an elf a girl in the shortest of short blue petticoats
with thin, lathlike legs stuck into big wooden shoes, and
her thin, angular body so closely squeezed into gar-
ments that she had evidently outgrown that the big flap-
ping white cap which she wore on her head gave her the
appearance of a mushroom on a thin stalk. She entered
the gate holding by a halter a mild and chastened-look-
ing beast which proved to be Christine's donkey Cherie,
sorrow for his wicked conduct in running a\vay being
imprinted upon his downcast head and hypocritical coun-
tenance.

In the winter when the Averils were in Paris Cherie
was left in charge of one of the peasant families, and it
was characteristic of the amiable animal that whatever
place he really belonged in, he was always anxious to
return to the other by fair means or foul.

" Oh, Celeste! ' cried Christine, recognising the
quaint figure as a denizen of this earth, " where did you
catch him? How could he have got out? Oh, you



AUNT GEORGIAXA. 19

naughty, naughty Cherie! I must have left the gate
unlatched when I went down to the brook to call papa
to dinner, and you must have got out of the shed then.
It is strange he did not stop to eat up our flowers," for
the donkey usually left a trail of destruction behind
him. " I hope he did not eat up any one's garden."

" ]STo, indeed, mademoiselle, he has done no dam-
age," answered Celeste, tying the donkey's halter to the
apple tree so he could graze contentedly. When we
were at supper we were suddenly startled by hearing
him bray, and there he was with his head stuck over the
garden gate as though saying ( Bon soir ! '

" Sit down, Celeste," said Christine hospitably, "and
have some mulberries; that bush is just full of ripe



ones.'



ly mademoiselle! ' and Celeste, seating her-
self on the turf, stretched out her hand for the luscious
fruit. " Mademoiselle is too kind," she said in her po-
lite French way.

Although she was only a few years older than Chris-
tine, and much smaller, she had the air of being a little
wise old woman as she sat munching the mulberries
Celeste, " la petite blanchisseuse ' ' she was called. In-



20 CHRISTINE'S CAREER.

deed, so early do the French children learn to help in
the house and fields that when a mere toddler she had
taken charge of the soap at her mother's side when
washing in the Seine. During the past winter all sorts
of misfortunes had come knocking at their cottage door,
and her mother, after a long lingering illness, had died.
Then Celeste had bravely taken her place at the wash-
ing trough and had washed and ironed, fluted and
starched, with the nimblest fingers.

Christine, who had seen Celeste every summer since
she was born, was further attached to her because of
her devotion to Cherie despite his eccentricities, and
she was glad to have the girl take a quiet hour's rest
from the hot kitchen in which she was always at work
when she was not carrying great baskets of clean linen
home.

" My aunt has come to see me from America," said
Christine, for, after the manner of French peasants,
Celeste would not speak to one her superior in station
unless spoken to.

" Your aunt, mademoiselle, the sister of monsieur? '
"No, mamma's sister; and, oh! she looks so nice."
" You must not let her carry you home with her,"



AUNT GEORGIANA. 21

said Celeste, for, in common with many of the other
peasant girls, the advent of Christine each spring with
her bright face and kind ways was an event in their
workaday lives.

" ]STo, indeed, how could she take me with her? I
would never leave father, and I'm sure he would never
go away from Paris. Perhaps some time we may go
for a little while, but I've never thought of it."

The two girls talked on of little events and inter-
ests. Celeste's capacity for mulberries seemed un-


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