La Vendée, by Anthony Trollope

Michael Stein

On the Sunday morning, after Henri’s return to Durbellière, Jacques Chapeau, with Jean and Peter Stein, left the château very early, and started for Echanbroignes. Word had been sent to the old smith by some of the neighbours, who had been at Saumur, that his two sons were safe and sound, and that they had behaved well at the siege, and a message at the same time reached Annot, informing her that Jacques meant to spend his next Sunday at the village; the party was therefore expected, and great preparations were made for a fête at Echanbroignes. The heroes of that place considered that they had somewhat celebrated themselves; in the first place, on final inquiry, it appeared, that not one person from the village, who was at all able to go to Saumur, had neglected to do so. In the next place, many of the villagers were among the number of the red scarfs, and they claimed to themselves the privilege of being considered peculiarly valiant and particularly loyal; and lastly, though many of them had gone to Saumur, without arms, every man on his return had a musket with him, which the old men and women regarded as absolute trophies, taken by each man individually from some awful rebel whom he had slain in single combat. There were to be great rejoicings, therefore, at Echanbroignes, which were postponed for the arrival of Chapeau and the two Stems.

The old smith was very angry at his sons’ behaviour. As Chapeau had said, he was a very black man, and when he was angered, it wasn’t easy to smooth him; the operation, however, was attempted by some of his neighbours, and though they were not altogether successful, they succeeded in making the old man a little proud of his family.

“Yes, Paul Rouel;” he said to the village innkeeper, who was an ancient crony of his, “it’s very well to talk of King and Church; but if King and Church are to teach sons to fly against their fathers, we may, I think, have a little too much of them; didn’t I again and again tell the boys not to go?”

“But, Michael Stein, how could you expect them to stay here, with a score of old men like us, and a number of women and girls, when every young fellow in the parish had gone to the wars? besides, they say, they did gallantly at the wars, and gained great honour and glory.”

“Gained a great fiddle-stick,” said the smith.

“But, Michael Stein,” said another old friend, named Gobelin, “you wouldn’t have your children disgraced, would you? think how sheepish they would have looked, hiding themselves in the smithy here, when all the other young men were parading round the green with the guns and swords they have taken from the rebels, and the women and girls all admiring them. Why, neighbour, not a girl in the parish would have spoken to them.”

“Girls spoken to them, indeed! I tell you, Gobelin, in the times now coming, any girl will be ready enough to speak to a young man that has a house over his head, and a five-franc piece in his pocket. No, neighbour Gobelin; I gave my boys a good trade, and desired them to stick to it; they have chosen instead to go for soldiers, and for soldiers they may go. They don’t come into my smithy again, that’s all.”

“You don’t mean you won’t speak to the lads, and after their fighting so bravely and all!” said Paul Rouel, in a voice of horror.

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t speak to them, Rouel,” said the father, “I am as fond of my sons as another man; and as they were resolved to disobey my commands, and to go fighting, why I’ll not say but I’m glad they didn’t disgrace themselves. I’d have been sorry to hear that they’d run away, or been the last to face the enemy; but they had no right to go, when there was work for them to do at home; they are welcome now to come and take the best I can give them, till their new trade calls them away again, and then they’ll be welcome to go soldiering again; not a hammer shall they raise on my anvil, not a blast shall they blow in my smithy, not an ounce of iron shall they turn in my furnace.”

“You’ll think better of these things after a day or two, neighbour,” said Gobelin.

“When I think once about a thing, Gobelin, I’m not much given to think again. But I tell you, I wish the boys no harm; let them be soldiers now, and I pray God they may be good soldiers; only, if I save a little money by hard work, I won’t have them spend it among their comrades in strong drink; it’ll be all the better for Annot, when I die, that’s all.”

In this resolution he remained fixed, and in this frame of mind he received his truant sons on their return to Echanbroignes on the Sunday morning. They entered the village together with Chapeau, about nine in the morning, having been met about a mile from the town, by four or five friends, who escorted them back. Annot was not there, for she was very busy at home, preparing breakfast for her brothers and lover. She at any rate was determined that the prodigal sons should be received with a fatted calf.

Chapeau marched up through the village at the head of the little procession to bear the brunt of the father’s anger, as his station in life, and standing in the army made him feel superior even to the fury of old Michael Stein. As they approached the door of the smith’s house, they saw him sitting in the little porch with a pipe in his mouth, for Michael was never found without one or two implements; he had always either his hammer or his pipe in lull activity.

“Welcome back to Echanbroignes, M. Chapeau, welcome back,” said the old man. “I am heartily glad to see so brave a soldier in my poor cabin!” and he gave his hand to Jacques.

“And here be two other brave soldiers, Michael Stein, who, I hope, are also welcome to Echanbroignes; and this I will say, any father in Poitou might be proud to own them for his Sons: for gallanter fellows there are not in the whole army of La Vendée, and that is saying a long word.”

There was a little crowd round the smith’s house, and in spite of his unmilitary predilections, he could not help feeling proud at the public testimony that was paid to his sons’ merits: he showed this by the tear that stood in his eye, as he said:

“They are welcome too, M. Chapeau; they are very welcome too. I am glad to see ye, safe and sound from the wars, lads. I am glad to see thee, Jean: I am glad to see thee, Peter,” and he gave a hand to each of the two young men, who were delighted with their unexpected kind reception. “And this I will say before the neighbours here, as ye would go to the wars, and make soldiers of yourselves, I am well pleased to hear ye behaved yourselves like gallant brave men should do. I’d sooner that your friends should have had to tell me that ye were both stiff and cold, than that ye should have returned yourselves with shamed faces to own that ye had disgraced the trade ye have chosen to take up with.”

“Bravo! Bravo!” said Chapeau, “I am glad in my heart, Michael Stein, to hear you speak so kindly to the lads; and so will M. Henri be glad to hear it, for they are two of his own especial troop — they are two of the gallant red scarfs, who swam into Saumur with their muskets tucked under their arms.”

“But understand me, boys,” continued the smith, still speaking so that the neighbours standing round could hear him. “I am right glad to see both of you, as I am to see M. Chapeau, or any other gallant friend who is kind enough to visit me and Annot. But mind, it is as visitors I receive you; in a few days, doubtless, you must go away to the wars again; till then ye shall have the best I can give, both to eat and to drink. Ye shall have your own way, and never be asked to do a turn of work. Ye shall have gay holyday times, and holyday fare, and anything the old man can do, and anything the old man can give to make you merry, he will do, and he will give, because you have come back gallantly, and have not brought dishonour to the roost where ye were hatched — but more than this I will not agree to. Ye would not abide at home, as I desired, and this therefore is no longer a home for you; ye would not be content to be forgers of weapons, but ye must e’en use them too, and ye have had your way. Now, lads, I must have my way; and for the rest of the time I must have it alone. This is no longer your home, lads, and I m no longer your master. Ye would be soldiers when I did not wish it; now let ye be soldiers, and I’m the less sorry for it, as it seems like that you’ll prove good soldiers. And now, Peter and Jean, you’re welcome both of you. Jacques Chapeau you are most heartily welcome — come Annot, let the lads have a swinging breakfast, for I know these soldiers fight not well unless they be fed well,” and so finishing his speech, he led the way into the cottage.

The three men were too well pleased with their reception to grumble at the smith’s mode of expressing his feeling. Jean and Peter were delighted to find that they were to be entertained with the best their father could afford, instead of with black looks and hard words, and that the only punishment to be immediately inflicted on them, was that they were to do no work; the party, therefore, entered the cottage tolerably well pleased with each other.

It is not to be supposed that Annot remained in the back-ground during the whole of her father’s oration. She had come out of the cottage, and kissed her two brothers, and shaken hands with her lover; she then returned in again, and Chapeau had followed her, and as the two were left alone together, for a minute or two, I think it very probable that she kissed him also; but I cannot speak positively on this point.

Then they all sat down to breakfast, and Paul Rouel and old Gobelin, who had contrived to be of the party, were greatly surprised to hear and to see how civil Michael was to his sons. He pressed them to eat of the very best, as he did to Chapeau, and talked to them about the war, listened to all their tales, and had altogether lost the domineering authoritative tone of voice, with which he usually addressed his own family; it was only in talking to Annot that he was the same hot-tempered old man as ever. The two young men themselves were hardly at their ease; but they eat their breakfast, and made the best they could of it.

“Smothered fire burns longest, neighbour Gobelin,” said Rouel, as he left the house. “Take my word, Michael will never forgive those two boys of his the longest day he has to live.”

After breakfast, Michael Stein and his whole party went to mass, as did all the soldier peasants, who had returned from Saumur; and the old Curé of the parish, who had now recovered possession of his own church, with much solemnity returned thanks to God for the great victory which the Vendeans had gained, and sung a requiem for the souls of the royalists who had fallen in the battle. When they left the church, the peasants all formed themselves into a procession, the girls going first, and the men following them; and in this manner they paraded round the green, carrying a huge white flag, which had been embroidered in the village, and which bore in its centre, in conspicuous letters of gold, those three words, the loyal Shibboleth of La Vendée, “Vive le Roi!”

This flag they fixed on a pole erected in the centre of the green, and then they set to work to amuse themselves with twenty different games. The games, however, did not flourish — the men were too eager to talk of what they had done, and the girls were too willing to listen — they divided themselves into fifty little parties, in which fifty different accounts were given of the taking of Saumur, and in each party three or four different warriors were named as having been the most conspicuous heroes of the siege. Each narrator had some especially esteemed leader or chief, who in his eyes greatly exceeded the other leaders, and the prodigious feats of valour performed by this favoured warrior was the first and most wonderful subject of discourse. Then, but at a modest distance, as regards the glory of the achievements related, each peasant told what he had done himself; two or three probably made out their little history together, and told of each other’s valour: that homely and somewhat vulgar Scotch proverb, “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,” was certainly unknown to them, but nevertheless they fully recognized the wise principle of mutual accommodation which that proverb teaches.

“It’s no use talking, but there isn’t one of them able to hold a candle to our M. Henri — is there, Louis? that is, for a downright thundering attack.”

This was said by Jean Stein to two or three of the village girls, by whom he was looked on as a great hero, in consequence of his having gone to the war in spite of his father’s commands, as well as on account of Chapeau’s honourable testimony in his favour; and the man referred to, was one Louis Bourdin, who, as well as Jean, had been of the party who followed Henri through the moat.

“That there is not, Jean; that is, for positive standup fighting; not one. And we ought to know, for we have seen most of ’em. There’s Cathelineau is a very good man at leading on the men.”

“Oh, yes I” said Jean, “Cathelineau is a fine fellow too, and a very holy man; but somehow I don’t think he’s quite so forward as M. Henri. M. Henri is always the first.”

“But doesn’t he get dreadfully knocked about by the guns and bullets?” asked one of the girls.

“He doesn’t matter that a pinch of snuff,” said Louis.

“No, not a pinch of snuff,” said Jean. “Do you mind, Louis, how he leapt off his horse, and dashed through the trenches, that first night at Varin? wasn’t it beautiful?”

“You may say that, Jean,” answered Louis; “it was beautiful. And what a night that was — you were along with him, Jean, and so was Chapeau. M. Henri was up first, I can swear to that; but it would puzzle any one to say who was second.”

“Yourself Louis, was as quick as any one — I marked you well. Indeed then, said I to myself, if all our men are as forward as Louis Bourdin, the village will have a great name before the war is over.”

“But tell me truly now, Louis Bourdin,” said a little girl, who was listening intently all the time, “when you went up into that place, were there real soldiers in armour, with guns and cannon firing at you all the time?”

“Truly then there were, Lolotte, hundreds of them,” said Bourdin.

“Well, that is horrible!” said the girls all at once.

“And do you remember, Jean,” continued Bourdin, “when M. Henri dashed down again, how the traitor rebels hallooed out, ‘Fire upon the red scarf!’ Well, I did think it was all up with him then. You were close to him, Jean; nearer than I am to Lolotte now.”

“And that’s quite near enough,” said Lolotte, giving him a push.

“Why I’m sure I was doing nothing; I was only wanting to show you. Jean Stein there, was, as I was saying, quite close to M. Henri; and as they leapt out of the camp together, twenty voices roared out at once, ‘Fire upon the red scarf! fire upon the red scarf!’ Oh! that was a fearful evening; it was dark then, and the light of the smoking, glaring torches made it five times more horrible. I thought we were as good as dead men then. I’m sure I for one can’t guess how we ever got out alive.”

“And yet, M. Henri wasn’t wounded,” said Jean; “well it was wonderful. After all, General d’Elbée must be right; Providence must give a shake to a rebel’s arm, just as he’s firing, so as to send his bullet anywhere but where it’s meant to go.”

“Yes,” said Bourdin, “and it directs the shot of a royalist right into a rebel’s heart.”

Well, if that be so,” said Lolotte, “I’m sure I for one wouldn’t like to fight on the rebel’s side. They must be wonderful brave men to hold out at all, when Providence goes against them in that way.”

“But they don’t hold out, girl,” said Jean, “they always run away; how they did run, Bourdin, when M. Henri led us into the town, through the broken wall; well, I believe they all thought at that time, the devil himself was coming for them out of the moat.”

“Only think, girls, three or four thousand men running away as fast as their feet could carry them, from two hundred fellows, who hadn’t a charge of dry powder among them, and who were all themselves dripping wet through; well that was fine.”

Jacques Chapeau and Annot Stein had not joined any of these parties; they had disappeared soon after mass, and were not heard of for three or four hours afterwards; they took a long ramble by themselves, down by the mill-stream, and far beyond the mill; sitting down, every now and then among the willows, and then getting up and strolling on a bit further; they did not, this day, waste their time in foolish quarrels and fond reconciliations; but discoursed together, sundry serious matters of important business, as becomes people to do, when they think of arranging a partnership concern, from which each intends to get a comfortable means of living for the remainder of his or her life; upon the whole, they had but very few subjects of difference, and by their return to the smith’s house at supper-time, they had fully agreed that no further time ought to be lost, in establishing a firm under the name of Jacques and Annot Chapeau and Co. The Co. being left to come afterwards or not, as God might please.

After supper was over, Annot had no difficulty in inducing her brothers to leave the house, and thus the coast was left clear for Jacques to ask the father’s consent to his intended marriage. Neither he nor Annot expected much difficulty in persuading Michael to accept of so promising a son-inlaw; but they were both determined that if they could not marry with his consent, they would do so without it. So Chapeau lighted his pipe, and sat himself down opposite the smith, and Annot retired to her own little sleeping chamber, where she might conveniently hear what her father and lover said to each other, respecting her intended nuptials.

“Well, Michael Stein, my old friend,” said Jacques; “these are glorious times, are they not? The rebels beaten hollow, till they haven’t a face to shew for themselves, and the King coming to La Vendée, to enjoy his own again; it will be a fine thing to see the King riding into the village of Echanbroignes to thank the gallant peasants, with his own mouth, for what they have done for him!”

“Yes, M. Chapeau! those will be fine times when they come; pray God you, and other young fellows like you, may live to see them; an old fellow like me has little chance of such happiness.”

“And why not, my friend? what is to make those days so far off? I tell you, Michael Stein, the rebels were dead beaten at Saumur; they are scattered like chaff; their very best soldiers are altogether hors de combat; the war is as good as over. We may have to make a little trip or two, just to receive the English, who are coming to help us; we may have to go and meet them on the coast; or perhaps to Parthenay, to ask M. Santerre what he wants in that part of the world; but that is all, literally all; I tell you the rebels are clean beaten.”

“I only wonder then, M. Chapeau, why you want the English to come and help you, if, as you say, you have conquered all the republicans yourselves?”

“Just to pay their respects to the King, and, perhaps, to lend us a hand in driving those Jacobins out of Paris — that’s all. Till that’s done the King is to live at Saumur.”

“To live at Saumur, is he?”

“That’s what those say who know most about it, and you know I’m in the way to know what’s really going forward. He’s to hold his court at Saumur, and Henri Larochejaquelin is to be commandant of the town, and have the command of all the forces there. I tell you, Michael Stein, we, that wear the red scarfs, will not be the worse off then.”

“I hope not; in truth, M. Chapeau, I hope not; though they do say that they be not wise who put their trust in princes.”

“Princes!” said Jacques, “I am not talking of princes, I am talking of the King himself, God bless him!”

“Well, perhaps, that does make a difference; and I say, God bless him too, with all my heart.”

“I suppose you’ve heard, Michael Stein, that our young General, M. Henri, is going to be married?”

“Is he then?” said Michael. “No, truly, I did not hear a word of such a matter; to some grand lady of the court, I suppose?”

“No, but to his own beautiful young cousin, Mademoiselle de Lescure, the sister of our other General, you know.”

“Well, may they be happy, both of them; I mind their fathers well; the old Marquis is still alive, but greatly ailing they tell me. I have much to be thankful for, and I do thank the Lord!” and as he spoke, Michael Stein crossed himself. “Now, I’m as old in a manner as the Marquis himself and yet you see I can still make the big hammer clink on the anvil.”

“Indeed you can, Michael, and better too than many a young fellow. But, as we were saying, here is M. Henri going to be married, and his lady will surely be wanting some nice, tidy, handy, good-looking, smart young woman to be about her, more as a sort of a companion, you know, than a servant; in the same way, you mind, as I am now to M. Henri: now, wouldn’t that be a nice berth for your daughter, Annot Stein?”

As Chapeau described the nice, tidy, smart, pretty young woman, that the future Madame de Larochejaquelin would be sure to require, Annot smoothed down her little apron with both her hands, gave a complaisant glance at her own neat little feet, and her bright holiday shoes, and then listened eagerly for her father’s answer.

“I am sure, M. Chapeau, that Annot Stein is very thankful for your good wishes,” said he, “and so is her father, very thankful; but she has not court-breeding enough for that sort of work; she has never learnt to speak smooth, and say pretty little flattering sayings, such as ladies like to hear. Nor when Madame would be out of sorts and ruffled, as great. ladies will be sometimes, would she know how to say the right word just at the right time; and then Annot has too much of her father’s rough blood, and if Madame scolded at all, it’s ten chances to one, but she would scold again, and that, you know, wouldn’t do. No, M. Chapeau, Annot had better remain as she is, and keep her father’s house, till she marries some honest tradesman, like myself, when these deadly wars be over.”

“Well, but my dear friend,” said Chapeau, “I had another little proposition I wanted to make, which would fit in so well with what I suggested; and I can assure you Madame Henri, that is Mademoiselle de Lescure as she is now, you know, is the softest, sweetest-tempered creature living — she wouldn’t quarrel with any one, much less with such a little angel as your daughter.”

“I’m sure,” said Michael, making a low bow to his guest, and pressing the handle of his pipe to his breast. “I’m sure my daughter will be very thankful for the great interest you take respecting her.”

“But as I was saying, you know, about this other little proposition of mine?”

“Well, M. Chapeau, I’m listening with all my ears, and very thankful for your kind friendship.”

“You see,” said Jacques, “M. Henri is going to change his condition; we’ve both been young fellows together; we’ve had our amusements and our pleasures like other young men, and, maybe, been as fortunate as most. Well, my friend, M. Henri is going to settle down, and marry the girl of his heart, whom he loves better than all the world; and what can I do better than follow his example? The truth is, I mean to settle down too, Michael Stein.”

“Well,” said Michael, scratching his head, and listening for the remainder of Chapeau’s little proposition.

“And I want to marry the girl of my heart, whom I love better than all the world, and her name is Annot Stein, and there’s an end of it; and now you know all about it.”

Annot’s heart beat quickly as she heard him make the last important declaration; and beautifully she thought he made it. When Chapeau called her a little angel, she swore to herself that he was the dearest fellow that ever lived and when he finished by protesting that she was the girl of his heart, and that he loved her better than all the world, she longed to run out and throw her arms about his neck.

Michael Stein took a long pull at his pipe, and blew out a huge cloud of tobacco before he made any answer, and then he said:

“M. Chapeau, I am sensible how great an honour you propose to do me and my poor daughter; but I am not a proud man, no one can say that Michael Stein was ever proud or ambitious; my only wish is to see my little girl married to a decent hard-working fellow, like her father.”

“Well, ain’t I a hard-working fellow?”

“Let me look at your hands, M. Chapeau; the inside of your hands. No, you are not a hard-working fellow; your hand is as soft as a lady’s.”

“What signifies my hand? I shan’t make a worse husband, shall I, because my hand is not as horny as your own.”

“No, but a hard-fisted fellow is the only man that will suit my daughter.”

“But, Michael Stein, she herself thinks —”

“Who ever heard of asking a girl what she thinks herself? Of course she’d sooner be a fine lady, and spend her time walking about a big chateau than be milking cows and minding goats.”

“But won’t she be earning her living and her wages honestly?”

“Wages! I don’t like those sort of wages, M. Chapeau. I don’t mean to say auything uncivil, and I hope you won’t take it amiss, but there are two trades I don’t fancy for my children: the one is that of a soldier, the other that of a great man’s servant.”

“Gracious me, Michael Stein! why I’m both,” said Chapeau, rather offended.

“I beg your pardon again and again, and I really mean no offence: clown as I am, I hope I know better than to say anything to hurt my own guest in my own house.”

Chapeau assured him he was not offended, and begged to know why the old man objected to see his children become soldiers or servants.

“They’ve no liberty,” said Michael, “though they usually take a deal too much licence. They never are allowed to call their time their own, though they often misuse the time that ought to belong to other people.”

For a long time Chapeau combatted such arguments as these, but without avail; the smith declared that now, as his two sons had become soldiers, it would break his heart if his daughter also were to marry one. He assured Jacques, with tears running down his rough cheeks, that he could not bring himself to give his daughter his blessing, if she left his house without his leave to marry a soldier. He declared that he also loved her better than all the world, and that he could not bear to part with her; and his tears and kindly words had such an effect upon Annot, that she could not restrain herself: she burst into tears herself and running out of her little room, threw herself into her father’s arms.

“Get up, thou simpleton; get up, thou little fool,” said he. “Why, Annot, what ails thee?”

“Oh, father! dear father!” said she.

“Get up then, Annot, and I’ll speak to thee. I never saw thee in this way before.”

“Oh, father!” she said, sobbing violently, “do you love your poor daughter so very, very much?”

“Love you, Annot! why yes, I do love you. If you’ll be a good girl, that is, I will love you.”

“I will be a good girl, dear father; indeed I’ll be a good girl; at any rate I’ll try. But then —” and she stood up, and commenced wiping her eyes with her little apron.

“Well, what then, Annot?” said the smith.

“But then — I wouldn’t anger you, father, for all the world; indeed I wouldn’t, for you always are so good to me, and I know I don’t deserve it,” and poor Annot continued sobbing and rubbing her eyes with her apron.

“Nonsense, girl, nonsense!” said Michael; “I don’t find any fault with you. Don’t think of getting yourself married till these wars be over, that’s all,” and he kissed her forehead, and patted her cheek as though all the difficulty were over.

“But, father —?” continued Annot, with her apron still to her face.

“Well, child, what is it? By the blessed mass, M. Chapeau, I don’t know what the girl’s crying for.”

“Do you love your own little Annot so very, very much?” said she, and she put her soft arm round his rough neck, and placed her cheek quite close to his.

“There, Annot; why what nonsense, girl! Don’t you know I love you? didn’t you hear me say so this minute? Leave off, will you, you little slut! why, what will M. Chapeau think of us? Well, I declare she’s crying still!”

“But if you really, really love me, father —”

“Bother the girl! she knows I love her better than anything else; God forgive me.”

“If you really love me,” repeated Annot, nestling her head in her father’s bosom, “you must, you must, you must — do something that I’ll ask you, father.”

“And what is it, child? I doubt much it’s nonsense.”

“You must love Jacques Chapeau too, father,” and having uttered these important words, Annot clung fast to her father’s arms, as if she feared he was going to throw her off, and sobbed and cried as though her heart were breaking.

The battle between the contending factions, namely, the father on one side, and the daughter with her lover on the other, was prolonged for a considerable time, but the success was altogether with Annot. Chapeau would have had no chance himself against the hard, dry, common sense of the smith; but Annot made her appearance just at the right moment, before the father had irrevocably pledged himself, and the old man was obliged to succumb; he couldn’t bring himself to refuse his daughter when she was lying on his bosom and appealing to his love; so at last he gave way entirely, and promised that he would love Jacques Chapeau also; and then Chapeau, he also cried; and, I shudder as I write it, he also kissed the tough, bronzed, old wiry smith, and promised that he would be a good husband and son-inlaw.

As soon as Annot had got her wish, and had heard Jacques received as her betrothed husband, she also was wonderfully dutiful and affectionate. She declared that she didn’t want to be married till the wars were nearly over, and the country was a little more quiet; that she would never go away and leave her father altogether, and that if ever she did go and live at Durbellière, she would certainly make an agreement with her master and mistress that she should be allowed to walk over to eat her dinner with her father every Sunday.

As soon as the smith found himself completely conquered, he resigned himself to his fate, and became exceedingly happy and good-humoured. He shook Chapeau’s hand fifty times, till he had nearly squeezed it off. He sent to the inn for two bottles of the very best wine that was to be had; he made Annot prepare a second supper, and that not of simple bread and cheese, but of poached eggs and fried bacon, and then he did all that he possibly could to make Chapeau tipsy, and in the attempt he got very drunk himself, and so the day ended happily for them all.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01