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a picture — ^a fancy; he had never
seen anything like it at Peking. Was
it possible there should be an emperor
out of China with so beautiful a pal-
ace as this ? He was told this was the
palace built by and for the people.
This was quite sufficient to convince
him that we were practising upon his
credulity; and though Chinese cour-
tesy would not allow him to callus liars,
it was veiy clear he had come to the
conclusion that we were nothing bet-
ter.

They have manufacturers of false
noses in China, but none of false teeth.
There are practitioners who profess
to cure the tooth-ache instantaneously,
and people worthy of credit have as-
sured me they succeed in doing so.
The works of European dentists are
among the most admired examples
of the skill of foreigners. A mandarin
who was anxious to learn something
about the makmg of teeth, once pro-
duced to me a box fall of artificial
noses of various sizes and colors, with
which he supplied the defects of his
own ; he said he used one sort of nose
before and another after his meals,



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and indisted that Giinese ingenuitj
was greater tlian our own. What, in
process of time, will be the action of
western civiL'zatiou on the furthest
eastern regions — ^whether, and in
what bhape, wc shall make returns for
the instruction our forefathers receiv-
ed from thence — ^is a curious and in-
teresting inquiry — ^more interesting
from the vast extent of the regions
before us. The fire-engine is almost
the only foreign mechanical power -
which has been popularized in China.
There is scarcely a watch or clock
maker in the whole empire, though
opulent men generally carry two
watches. The rude Chinese agricul-
tural and manufacturing instruments
have been nowhere supplanted by Eu-
ropean improvements. No 3teamship
has been built by the Chinese; the
only one I ever saw would not move
after it was launched ; it was said a
Chinaman, who had only served on
an English steamer as stoker, was re-
quired by the authorities to construct
the vessel. There is neither gold nor
silver coinage ; the only currency be-
ing a base metal, chien, whose value is



the fifUi of a farthing. The looms
with which their beautiful silk stufia
are woven are of the most primitive
character. Yet they have arts to us
wholly unknown. They give to cop-
per the hardness and the sharpness of
steel ; we cannot imitate some of their
brightest colors. Tliey have lately
sent us the only natural green which
is permanent, which has been known
to them, as printing, wood engraving,
the use of the compass, artillery prac-
tice, and other great inventions, from
immemorial time. Paper was made
from rags long anterior to the Chris-
tian era, and promissory notes were
used at a still earlier period. The
Chinese may be proud of a language
and a literature which has existed for
thirty centuries, while in Europe
there is no literary language now
written or spoken which would liave
been intelligible seven hundred years
ago. If, then, this singular people —
more than a third of the whole human
race — -look down wilh some contempt
on the " outbide races," let them not
be too harshly judged, or too precipi-
tately condemned.



From The Month.

PIERRE PROVOST'S STORY; OR, TRUE TO THE LAST.



CHAPTER I.



In

throu,



one of my summer rambles
;h the north of France, I came
across a little seaside village which
possessed so many charms that it was
the greatest difficulty in the world to
tear myself away from it.

It was indeed a lovely spot. The
village, situated on a noble cliff, was
enclosed almost in a semicircle of rich-
ly wooded hills, which stretched, as
far as the eye could see, into the very
heart of noble Normandy.



At your feet the glorious sea came
dashing in to a shore over which
great masses of bold rock were liber-
ally scattered, and round which the
waves used to play in the summer-
time, however little obstacle was
afforded to their fury when fierce
winds blew up a storm in the cruel
winter-time.

But perhaps the most attractive
feature of the place to me was a splen-
did river, within a mile's walk of the
village, which was plentifully supplied
with fish, and afforded me many and



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manja da/s amusement, and not a
little excellent sport.

My time was pretty well my own,
and I had made up my mind for a tol-
erably long spell of idle enjoyment ;
80, under these circumstances, it may
not appear strange that I resolved to
take up my quarters at .

The inhabitants of the place were
mostly poor fishermen, who used to
ply their trade nearly the whole of
&e week, and by great good luck fre-
quently got back to their wives and
families toward its close.

A very pretty cottage, with a bay-
window commanding a splendid view
of the sea, took my fancy immensely,
and though it was rather a humble
sort of place, I determined if possible
to make an impression on its posses-
sors, in order to secure two rooms for
my use during my stay. Alphonsine
was certainly not the most sweet-»tem-
pered woman I have ever met, in fact
rather the contrary ; at the same time
I fully persuaded myself that a great
many disagreeables would be counter-
acted by the possession of my much-
coveteil bay-window.

Alphonsine evidently ruled the es-
tablishment with a rod of iron. She
was a tall, thin, ill-favored looking
woman, who was always prepared for
a^ wrangle, and who looked uncom-
monly sharp after her own interests.
However, by paying pretty liberally
and in advance, I soon won her heart,
and flatter myself that it was by ex-
cellent generalship on my part that I
contrived very soon to bi^ entirely in
her good books. Her hard face used
sometimes actually to relax into a
grim kind of smile in my presence,
and I fancied her harsh voice used al-
most imperceptibly to soften in ad-
dressing me. Beside, she was ac-
customed to bustle about in a rough
kind of way in order to get things
straight and comfortable, and I really
think tried to do her best to make me
feel at home. What more could I
want than this? And then she had
two delightful children, a boy and a
girl, with' whom I was veiy soon espe-



cially friendly, and who tended to en-
liven me up a bit whenever I chanced
to be at all dull. The boy was about
thirteen years old, and his sister, who
looked a year or so younger, was
indeed a lovely child. She was as fair
as a lily, and had that sweet expression
of countenance which is so often found
among the peasants in Normandy;
her eyes were large and exquisitely
blue, and with all this she had a de-
cided will of her own. But then she
was the daughter of Alphonsine.

It was some little time before I
made the acquaintance of the master
of the establishment; for he was al-
ways busy fishing, and, as I have said
before, the fishermen who lived in the
village seldom got home before Sat^
urday evening, and had to be off again
either on Sunday evening or by day-
break on Monday.

However, Saturday soon came
round, and with it Pierre Provost.

He was about five-and-thirty years
old, very dark and singularly hand-
some. His hair, which was thick, fell
about his head in ringlets; he was
short, and had most expressive eyes.
I was not long in perceiving that he
was in every way a great contrast to
Alphonsine. His expression was sad,
and he seldom or never smiled ; and I
noticed he seemed to shrink rather
nervously from the piercing look with
which he was very frequently favored
by " la belle Alphonsine." His sweet
and handsome face soon disposed me
favorably toward him, notwithstand-
ing that there were circumstances
which occurred on our first acquaint*
ance which would otherwise have
tended to prejudice me entirely against
him.

I was smoking a pipe and chatting
quietly to Alphonsine in the great chun-
ney-corner on the evening I allude to,
when all at once the two children came
tearing in £rom school with their books
under their arms.

** He is come T' cried they, in their
shrill treble voices. "We saw his
boat just coming near the shore. He
will be on the sand almost in a mo-



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Pierre Prevosfs Story; or, True to the Last,



ment We may go and meet him,
may we not, mother T*

" What's the use ?" said she, in rather
a more disagreeable tone than usuaL
** I am sure he would much prefer to
ct>me alone. Beside, I want 70U
both. 60 into the garden to get me
something to make a salad of. Come
now!"

These last two words settled the mat-
ter, and the children were soon off, with-
out another word about the expedition
to the sea-shore.

" That's strange," thought I to my-
self; " I wcHider if this Pierre can be
a bad father, or at any rate a bad hus-
band?"

A few minutes afterward hfe came in.

As if to strengthen this' bad im-
pression of mine, I noticed that Al-
phonsine never moved when he enter-
ed, and did not attempt to offer her
hand or cheek to him. She did not
even welcome him with a smile.

No, she contented herself with tak-
ing a slate down from the wall, the
pencil belonging to which was already
in her hand :

" How much ?" said she, coolly.

Pierre Prdvost pulled out of his
pocket a great leather purse, and de-
tailed, day by day, how much he had
made by the sale of his fish. After
which, he put down the money upon
the comer of the table.

All this time the woman was ea-
gerly dotting down the various sums
on the slate. Tlien she gravely added
them all up, and determinedly counted
out every sou.

By great good luck the figures tal-
lied with the money. Then Alphon-
^iae shut up the money in a diiwer,
and locked it very securely.

Meanwhile Pierre repocketed his
leather purse, which he had just emp-
tied, never attempting to grumble in
the least, and going through the task
as methodically as possible.

" I was quite wrong in forming so
hasty an opinion," thought I to myself,
as I witnessed this peculiar scene;
^Pierre is not such a bad fellow, after
alL"



It was not long before the young ones
made a second burst into the room^
making rather more noise than they
did on the first occasion.

They were not long in scrambling
on to Pierre's knees, and smothering
him with kisses, and it was all done
so heartily, with such warmth, and so
naturally, that I could not help ex-
claiming to myself, *' Why, he's a cap-
ital father, after all ! "

But, judge, of my astonishment
when I heard their pretty voices call
oat,

" Oh ! we're so glad to see you back
again, dear uncle Pierre !"

Then he was their uncle, after all,
and he was not married to Alphonsine.
But was he her brother, or merely a
brother-in-law ? And yet she seemed
so entirely to have the upper-hand
over him. It certainly was a very re-
markable coincidence.

But what surprised me most of all
was the fatherly affection tliat Pierre
Prevost seemed to have for tlie two
children.

He took them on his knees, and
played with them, and appeared to
make so much of them, that I, who was
a silent spectator of this little scene,
became really quite interested.

This lasted for about five minutes,
and then all* at once it seemed as if
the old pain came over him, for he
turned quite sad again, and turned
deathly pale, and I could see the tears
starting to his eyes. And then he got
up, and looking steadily into the young
innocent faces of his nephew and
niece, said, in an extremely soft voice,

" Go and play on the sand. Gro
along, my pretty ones I

The poor children, who seemed
quite astonished at the sudden change
in his demeanor, hesitated for a mo-
ment. However, another beseeching
look from their uncle, and an angry
word or so from Alphonsine, soon
persuaded them what to do ; where-
upon they set out very slowly for the
sea-shore.

"They know perfectly well how
Httle you care for them," said Al-



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pbonsine, yery bitterly ; ^ and it would
be just as well if joa would not go out
of your way to show it."

Pierre made no answer. He shnt
bis eyesy and put bis band to bis beart
as if to express tbe pain be was suffer-
ing-

Tben taking a spade from tbe cor-
ner,

^ I am going to work in tbe garden, **
said be, gently.

And tben be went oat, looking very
ioxTowfuL



CHAPTER 11.

Things seemed to be taking quite a
dramatic turn, and I made up my
mind to try bard and unravel tbe plot.

I followed Pierre, and baying se-
cured myself in a oonvenient biding-
place, determined to watcb.

He walked quietly on, but soon
stopped at a litde vegetable garden,
quite at tbe end of tbe village. At
first be pretended to set to work vigors
onsly, but bis eyes kept wandering to a
Hide rose-covered cottage witbin a
stoneVtbrow of tbe garden. He soon
left off working, and leaning listlessly
on bis spade, be kept bis eyes Brmly
fixed on one of ihh windows, wbidi
was almost covered with tbe luxuriant
growtb of roses and boneysuckle.

As the wind played fid^Uy with tbe
curtain of green which darkened tbe
window, I fancied I recognised the
shadow of a woman.

Immovable as a statue, Pierre Pr6-
vost remained where he was, and
though night drew on, he did not
leave bis post till the heavens were
bright with myriads of stars ; and then
swinging bis spade over bis shoulder,
be began to retrace his ^teps to the
village.

But, just before he left tbe garden, I
thought I beard a bitter sigh borne on
tbe wind from the cottage window.

The next day, when I was coming
away from early mass, I saw Pierre
standing in the porch of the church.
Hie two children were clinging to one

voL.n. 8



of bis bands, while tbe other, still wet
with holy water, was gently extended
to a young woman who was in the act
of passing before him. She was a
lovely creature, with golden babr, laige
expressive blue eyes, and a face like
one of Fra Angelico's angeb. Al-
though she could not have been less
than thirty years old, she appeared to
have all tbe lightness and vivacity rf
a girl of eighteen.

When their fingers met, an almost
imperceptible thrill seemed to affect
them both, and as they gazed into one
another's faces they both turned deathly
pale.

Could it have been the shadow that
I X recognized through the roses the
evening before ?

The tide came up very early that
evening, and necessitated the departure
of all the fishermen before night came
on.

Pierre Pr6vost was one of the first
to start, but he went a long way
round to get to tbe searsbore, and
passed before tbe windows of tbe ros^
covered cottage.

A flower fell at his feet. He picked
it up eagerly, and kissing it passion-
ately, thrust it into bis bosom and
hastened away.

As tbe evening wore on, and while
the little boats were just fading away
in the distance, I watched again, and
distinctly saw a white bandkerchiel
waving from the window of tbe pretty
cottage.

I was naturally anxious to find out
about this little romance, and was
continually puzzling my poor brains to
discover the truth oif the story.

There were hundreds of people I
might have asked, and, of course,
Alphonsine would have been only too
hi^py to have enlightened me. But
I determined, if possible, to bear it all
from Pierre*s own lips, and accord-
ingly made up my mind to stifle mj
idle curiosity. /



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PUm PrivMe$ Story; or, True io the LatL



CHAPTSB in.

FtEBBS and I soon became firm
friends, and I persuaded him on one
oecaatan to take me on one of his
fiahing expeditions*
• It was a lovely night, the heayena
were ablaze with stars, and the little
boat tossed idly on the waves which
scarcely rippled against its keeL
Pierre's companions were asleep down
in the cabin, waiting for a breeze
to luring up before thej coold throw
in their nets. As for myself, I was
smdking qoietly on deck, having my
back against a coil of rope, and rev-
elling in the delicious quiet which
reigned around, when Pierre joined
me, and having lighted his pipe, sat
down by my side, and spoke, as far
as I can remember, as fbllowa :

I believe, monsieur, you are anx-
ious to know why I am such a sad
looking fellow? Perhaps you will
hnfjtk at me, but that can't be helped.
I am sure you are sincere, and wish me
well, and therefore I have no hesita-
tion in opening my heart to you.

I love Miarie 1 There is hardly
any need, perhaps, to tell you that
And yet this love is the foundation of
all my sorrow. But I firmly believe
that the good Grod willed that we
should love one another, and so I am
content. Ever since our earliest child-
hood we have gone through life hand
in hand. When w« were little ones
we always played together on the
sand; and there has hardly been a
pang of sorrow or a feeling of joy
whidi has not been felt by both al^e.
I used to think once that we were one
both in body and soul, and there are
old folks in the village who have said
it over and over again- We made
our first communion on the same day,
and at the same hour, side by side ;
and these little matters are bonds of
union indeed, and are not easily for-
gotten. Wlien I first began to seek
my bread on the sea, she always of-
fered up a. little prayer for me at the
eroea in the villa^ and she was ever
the first to rush waiat^eep into the



sea to greet me on my return. And
then I used to carry her on my shfNil-
ders back again, and kiss off the tears
of joy which fiowed down her pretty
cheeks. Ah I wc were happy indeed
in those childish days, which are pass-
ed and goae. Why are we not always
children?

And the years that followed were
hardly less happy for either of us. In
the cold winter-time we were always
side by side in the chimney-corner.
Spring saw us wandering over the
fresh meadows gathering the early vio-
lets. We worked toge^er in the har^
vest-field under the sunmier sun, and
went off nutting when the brown
leaves told us of the approaching au-
tumn. And then came the time when
we were both old enough to marry.
We had neither of us dreamed of such
a thing, and could not be persuaded
that we were not still children. We
were quite happy enough without
troubling our heads about marriage.

However, others thought of it for
us, and good Father Hennann began
to be anxious that we should make up
our minds.

But the matter was not so easily
settled, and several obstacles soon pre-
sented themselves. To b^[in with,
Marie's mother was rich. I was &r
from it, and an orphan into the bar-
gain. I had been brought up by my
brother Yictoire— a splendid fellow.
It was he who went with Father Her-
mann to Marie's mother, in order
boldly to talk over our marriage,
which they were all so anxious al^ut.

^ I had always made up my mind
that Marie should never marry any
one who had not quite as much as her-
self," replied she, ^ and that was her
dear Other's wish. However, I am
aure you speak truly when you say
thai diey both love one another very
dearly. Let it be as you say."

The old lady had a kind warm
heart

[As he said these last words,
Pierre's voice thickened, .ind I no-
ticed a tear tridcling down his honest
brown fitce. Bat my sailor waa a



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115



bniTe fellow, and I had hardly time
to shake him warmly by the hand be*
fore he had quite mastered his grief,
and was abk to go on with his
stoxy.j

Marie and I were not the only
happy ones then, I can assure yon.
Yictoire, my brother. Father Hermaon,
ihe whole village in'fact, for we were
both very pc^ular, rejoiced with us.
It was the vreek before the marriage.
Of coordc I had not gone to sea.
Yictoire was also very anxious to re-
main; however, his wife persuaded
him to go. Several "in the village
found faalt with her for doing so, on
the pretext that working at a festal
time was very bad luck; but they
had no right to say so. Yictoire's
diildren were very young, and had to
be provided for; and so Yictoune
went. In the evening great black
donds darkened the sky. We were
evidently threatened with a dreadful
storm. But we were enjoying our-
selves too much to think of storms or
fiiends at sea. All at once there was
a vivid flash of lightning and then a
peal of thunder, which seemed to
shake every cottage to its foundation.
And then came piercing cries :

<* A boat in distress, and threatened
with instant destruction V*

It was Yictoire's boat I

I was on the shore in an instant
What an awful storm I Never in
my whole life had I seen its equal.

All that was in a man's power I did,
you may be quite sure. Three times
I dashed madly into the waves, only
to be thrown back by the fury of the
9ea. The last time I was all but lost
myself. However, I was rescued and
brought back to the shore, bruised
and insensible. Some thought me
dead. Would that I had b^n, and
had out side by side with that other
body stretched lifeless on the rocks 1

It waa Yictoire 1

When I came to myself he was
near me, quite still, and covered with
Uood; but with just enough breath
left to whisper in my ear :

^Fiem, my boy, be a brother to



my wife, a fadier to my children. God
bless you, boy.**

"Yictoire," answered I, "I swea/
it."

And then he died without a murmur.



CHAFTER rV.

Qv course yon will gness, monsieur,
that this awful affiur was the means
of putting off oar marriage. Marie
and I neither of us comfSained, but
consoled ourselves with the reflectioa
that all would soon be welL I took
up my position in my brothei^s house,
and warmly kissed my brotlier^s chil-
dren, now mine. Aiphonsine tried to
show her gratitude as well as she
oould. And so six months slipped
away, and the villagers began taUung
again about our marriage. I dcm't
know how it was, but I began to feel
very nervous and uneasy about the
matter, and I did not so much as dare
broach the subject dther to Aiphon-
sine or Marie's mother. In a little
time the latter began the subject her-
self.

"Pierre," said she, <*you have
adopted your brother's children, have
you not ?"

"Yes, mother."

" And his wife also?" x

"Tes ; I must take care of his wife
quite as much as her children."

"You have quite made up your
mind?"

"Perfectly.';

"Am I to understand that you
never mean to leave them?"

" I swore I would not to my brother
before he died."

Then there was a silence, and my
heart beat very quick.

^Listen, Pierre," said the old
woman ; " don't think that I wish to
deprive the widow or the orphans of
one morsel of the sustenance you in-
tend to set aside for them. Even if I
did, your good heart would hardly lis-
ten to me. But yon must understand
that I know Alphonsme. My da^gk*



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Pierre Privaet's Story; or^ lirue to the LaeL



ter can never Utb widi Alphcmaiiie i
and Alphonsine can never live with
me. Never!"

This last word seemed to open an
abysA before mj very ftet I too
knew Alphonsine, £ too began now to
understand that either of these ar«
ra^gements would be perfectlj im*
pracdcable.

^ Mother," I began —

^ I don't wish to hinder jour mar-
riagei" replied the old lady, very slow-
ly; ^I simply impose one condition*
Yon must be quite aware that in thia
matter my will must be law/'

Still I hesitated.

" It will be for you then to decide
your own fate," added she ; ^ and my
daughter's as welL"

I raised my head* Marie was
there, andour eyes met. I must break
my oath or lose her for ever.

It is absolute torture to recall those
fearful moments. My head seemed
to swim round, and wh^i I tried to
speak, there was something in my
throat which nearly choked me. And
still Marie looked at me ; and oh, how
tenderly I

<* Pierre," said the old lady again,
*'you must answer; will you remain
alone with Alphonsine, or will you
come here alone ? Choose for your-
self."

I looked at Maiie again, and was
on the point of exclaiming, ^ 1 must
come here I" but the words again
stuck in my throat, and my tongue re-
fused to speak. And then I b^an to
ease my conscience with the thought
that I could still work for Vlctoire's
wife and children, and tried to think
they would be equally happy, al-
though I was not always with them.
But then I thought of that dreadful
night, and the storm, and the pale face,
and tiie whisper in my ear came back
again, and I fancied I heard my
brother say, *^It was not that you
promised me, my brother ; it was not
that I"

At last the bitter words rose to my



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