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She was so slow to answer that he looked at her. Even then she merely kept on sweeping her fingers slowly and idly back and forth on the table, and, glancing down upon them, said without enthusiasm: "Yass."
Yet they both loved Bonaventure, each according to knowledge of him. Nor did their common likings stop with him. The things he had taught Claude to love and seek suddenly became the admiration of Marguerite. Aspirations-aspirations! — began to stir and hum in her young heart, and to pour forth like waking bees in the warm presence of spring. Claude was a new interpretation of life to her; as one caught abed by the first sunrise at sea, her whole spirit leaped, with unmeasured selfreproach into fresh garments and to a new and beautiful stature, and looked out upon a wider heaven and earth than ever it had seen or desired to see before. All at once the life was more than meat and the body than raiment. Presently she sprang to action. In the convent school, whose white belfry you could see from the end of Madame Beausoleil's balcony, whither Zoséphine had sent her after teaching her all she herself knew, it had been "the mind for knowledge"; now it was "knowledge for the mind." Mental training and enrichment had a value, now, never before dreamed of. The old school-books were got down, recalled from banishment. Nothing ever had been hard to learn, and now she found that all she seemed to have forgotten merely required, like the books, a little beating clear of dust.
And Claude was there to help. “If C”. C!" having a start of one hundred miles, travels" so and so, and so and so,-"how fast must I travel in order to "- etc. She cannot work the problem for thinking of what it symbolizes. As C himself takes the slate, her dark eyes, lifted an instant to his, are large with painful meaning, for she sees at a glance she must travel-if the arithmetical is the true answer more than the whole distance now between them. But Claude says there is an easy way. She draws her chair closer and closer to his; he bows over the problem, and she cannot follow his pencil without bending her head very close to his closer - closer until fluffy bits of her black hair touch the thick locks on his temples. Look to your child, Zoséphine Beausoleil, look to her! Ah! she can look; but what can she do?
She saw the whole matter; saw more than merely an unripe girl smitten with the bright smile, goodly frame, and bewitching eyes of a promising young rustic; saw her heart ennobled, her nature enlarged, and all the best motives of life suddenly illuminated by the presence of one to be mated with whom prom
ised the key-note of all harmonies; promised heart-fellowship in the ever-hoping effort to lift poor daily existence higher and higher out of the dust and into the light. What could she say? If great spirits in men or maidens went always or only with high fortune, a mere Acadian lass, a tavern maiden, were safe enough, come one fate or another. If Marguerite were like many a girl in high ranks and low, to whom any husband were a husband, any snug roof a home, and any living life- But what may a maiden do, or a mother bid her do, when she looks upon the youth so shaped without and within to her young soul's belief in its wants that all other men are but beasts of the field and creeping things, and he alone Adam? To whom could the widow turn? Father, mother? - Gone to their rest. The curé who had stood over her in baptism, marriage, and bereavement?- Called long ago to higher dignities and wider usefulness in distant fields. O for the presence and counsel of Bonaventure! It is true, here was Mr. Tarbox, so kind and so replete with information; so shrewd and so ready to advise. She spurned the thought of leaning on him; and yet the oft-spurned thought as often returned. Already his generous interest had explored her pecuniary affairs, and his suggestions, too good to be ignored, had molded them into better shape, and enlarged their net results. And he could tell how many 8-oz. tacks make a pound, and what electricity is, and could cure a wart in ten minutes, and recite "Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?" And this evening, the seventh since the storm, when for one weak moment she had allowed the conversation to drift toward wedlock, he had stated a woman's chances of marrying between the ages of fifteen and twenty; to wit: 141⁄2 per cent.; and between thirty and thirty-five, 152.
"Hah!" exclaimed Zoséphine, her eyes flashing as they had not done in many a day, "'t is not dat way! — not in Opelousas!"
"Arithmetically speaking!" the statistician quickly explained. He ventured to lay a forefinger on the back of her hand, but one glance. of her eye removed it. "You see, that 's merely arithmetically considered. Now, of course, look at it geographically-why, of course! And why, as to that, there are ladies —”
Madame Beausoleil rose, left Mr. Tarbox holding the yarn, and went down the hall, whose outer door had opened and shut. A moment later she entered the room again. “Claude!"
Marguerite's heart sank. Her guess was right: the chief engineer had come. And early in the morning Claude was gone.
SUGAR-MAKING IN LOUISIANA.
HE beginnings of the sugar industry in Louisiana are somewhat obscure. Even Gayarré fails to trace them definitely in his faithful and picturesque history of the State. There is a tradition that the Jesuit Fathers introduced the cane from San Domingo in 1751 and planted it on ground now occupied by the banks and chief commercial houses of New Orleans, just north of Canal street. The juicy plant was afterwards cultivated in a small way for syrup, but attempts to make sugar were not successful down to 1795. No dependence could be placed on the juice to granulate, and after numerous experiments had failed, the planters came to the discouraging conclusion that the climate of the Mississippi delta had an unfavorable influence on the cane. The man who finally dispelled this delusion and showed the way to the development of sugar-making into a great industry on the rich lowlands of Louisiana was Etienne de Boré. A striking character was this De Boré. He was born in what was known in the last century as the Illinous district of Louisiana, a region with vague boundaries which embraced the whole valley of the upper Mississippi. When he was four years old his parents took him back to France, and growing there to manhood, he became a member of King Louis' mousquetaire guard, a royal household troop to which only nobles could belong, and in which every private soldier had the rank and pay of captain, while the commander was a lieutenant-general. Etienne de Boré might have continued to parade at Versailles until death or the revolution had cut him off, had he not fallen in love with a daughter of Destréhan, ex-treasurer of Louisiana. His wooing prospered, and he married the girl in 1771. She received as part of her dowry an estate described as lying on the left bank of the Mississippi six miles above New Orleans. The ground is now covered by the suburb of Carrollton and by the park in which were held the exhibitions of 1884-85 and 1885-86. Soon after his marriage the gallant mousquetaire put off his uniform, and leaving the gayeties of the court forever, took ship for America with his wife, and converted himself into a plain colonial planter struggling with the problem, then a life-and-death one for Louisiana,
of finding some crop that could profitably be raised on the fat, reeking soil redeemed by embankments from the overflow of the great river. He tried indigo, like many others, and failed. Cotton did not thrive save on the then scarcely known uplands north of Red River; Indian corn furnished a bread-stuff for house use, but had no export value. De Boré saw his hopes blasted and his family threatened with poverty. In his extremity he determined to renew the abandoned effort to manufacture sugar. His wife warned him that her father had in former years experimented with the cane and failed; she begged him not to hazard the little they had left in a hopeless undertaking. His friends, too, croaked disaster. Fortunately, De Boré was no irresolute dreamer. Nothing could shake his determination. In 1794 he planted a small crop, and using all the canes for a second planting, in 1795 he actually made a quantity of sugar so large that he sold it for twelve thousand dollars.
His grandson Charles Gayarré relates in his history of Louisiana that on the day when the grinding of the cane was to begin, large numbers of the most respectable inhabitants gathered at the sugar-house to witness the success or failure of the experiment. Would the syrup granulate? Would it be converted into sugar? "When the critical moment came," says Gayarré, "the stillness of death came among them, each one holding his breath and feeling that it was a matter of ruin or prosperity for them all. Suddenly the sugarmaker cried out with exultation, 'It granulates!' and the crowd repeated, 'It granulates!' Inside and outside of the building one could have heard the wonderful tidings flying from mouth to mouth, and dying in the distance, as if a hundred glad echoes were telling it to one another." A notable man indeed was this De Boré, the reader must agree, and well deserving of a place in history. When Governor Claiborne took possession of ceded Louisiana for the American Government, he appointed Captain De Boré mayor of New Orleans, as the best man to reconcile the Creole population with the new state of affairs.
Probably no important industry in this country - certainly none based directly upon the tillage of the soil - has suffered such vicissitudes as that of making sugar from the cane. The causes of these vicissitudes are two,
Thus while subject to all the fluctuations of foreign markets, this product exercises no appreciable effect in determining prices. If the Louisiana crop should be a total failure this year, the price of sugar throughout the civilized world would not thereby be increased a fraction of a cent per pound. The Louisiana planter can look for no compensation for a short crop in higher prices. His contribution to the general demand for sweets is relatively a very small one. All the cane-sugar made in the United States during the year 1884 was 301,712,230 pounds, while we imported during the same year a total of 2,641,258,139 pounds. Thus the home cane-growers only supplied about one-ninth of the demand. If they should go out of the business at once by common accord, our grocers' bills would not apprise us of the change, for foreign sugars would immediately fill the gap in the market.
We Americans are the greatest sugar-eating people in the world, and our consumption is constantly increasing. It has almost doubled since 1867, and is now, including all kinds of sweets except glucose and honey, fifty-six pounds a year per capita of the population. Yet our domestic sugar-product is not increasing. It reached the highest point in 1861, and has never since approached the figures of that year. Let me say before we get further into the subject, that the Louisiana product of cane sugar is practically the national product.
tion. It will be seen that there was on the whole a steady progress until 1833. This was due to the Clay Tariff of 1816, which levied a duty of 3 cents per pound on foreign sugars. In 1832 the duty was reduced to 21⁄2 cents, and this blow was so severely felt that, of 700 plantations worked in 1833, 166 were abandoned during the ensuing 4 years' operation of the new tariff. The industry revived and enjoyed a period of great prosperity, which culminated in the Civil War. This period was the golden age of Louisiana, and the older people always speak of it with a sigh of regret. It was then that the Louisiana sugar-planters became the most cultivated, proud, and luxurious class in all the South. Their great white mansions, standing in groves of magnolias and orange-trees, on the shores of rivers and bayous, were the scenes of a lavishly generous hospitality. The wealth drawn from the soil by the slave labor under their control was poured into the lap of New Orleans with liberal hand, and made of that city a place of great commercial activities, and at the same time a social and intellectual capital whose influence was felt throughout the Gulf States.
The war changed all that. The slave-labor system, on which the sugar industry rested, was destroyed. Hostile armies ravaged the sugar districts. Houses were burned, mills destroyed, and the cane-fields grew up to weeds. In 1864 only five thousand tons of sugar were made in Louisiana. With the return of peace, however, the planters, always a peculiarly intelligent and enterprising class, courageously set to work to rebuild their broken fortunes. They were greatly aided by the tariff of 1864, by which Congress generously accorded a protective duty of three cents per pound on sugar, at a time when the rebellion was at its height, and nearly all the sugar planters were in the ranks of the rebel armies. Under the stimulus of this tariff, the production of sugar rapidly increased, until it reached 75,000 tons in 1870. Then the changeful tariff policy of a changeful Congress brought a fresh disaster. Down went the duty to an average of two cents per pound, and down went the crop from 75,000 tons in 1870 to 45,000 in 1873. The value of plantation property fell one-half, and two-thirds of the sugar commission houses of New Orleans went into bankruptcy.
In 1875 the duty was advanced to an average of 22 cents, and the production increased to 110,000 tons in 1880, 120,000
in 1882, and 128,000 in 1884. But now arose a new menace to the much-vexed industry. The German Government stimulated the production of beet-sugar by a law which in effect gave a large bounty on all sugar exported. The beets were taxed at the rate of 16 marks per 1000 kilograms, and a drawback of 20.80 marks given on each 100 kilograms of sugar exported. Now, as 1000 kilograms of beets will produce 100 kilograms of sugar, the bounty on the sugar exported amounted to 4.80 marks per kilogram. An enormous increase of the German output resulted. It went up from 644,775 tons in 1881-82, to 1,150,000 tons in 1884-85. A very large part of this increased production was thrown upon the American market. Our importations of European beet-sugar in 1884 were double those of 1883, and twelvefold what they were in 1882. The price of sugar fell so low that the Louisiana planter, even with the 21⁄2 cents duty in his favor, could only save himself from actual loss on his crop by practicing the closest economies in its production. Many of the Cuban planters were ruined. It is said that, after paying freight, brokerage, and other expenses connected with marketing their crops, there remained to the Cuban only about a cent a pound to meet the cost of producing it.
At the date this article is written (March, 1886) the situation is improving. A reaction has followed the artificial stimulus given to beet-sugar making by government bounties. Besides, the German law soon expires by limitation, and the beet-sugar producers will be thrown back upon the old law, not so favorable to exporting. In Louisiana the planters feel renewed confidence, believing that the
IN THE QUARTERS.