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risen from the grassy earth and given the first two welcoming hand-grasps to the schoolmaster. And now, as one result, Claude, who did not know his letters then, was rising- nay, had risen to greatness! Claude, whom once he would have been glad to make a good fisherman and swamper, or at the utmost a sugarboiler, was now a greater, in rank at least, than the very schoolmaster. Truly, "Knowledge is power"-alas! yes; for it had stolen away that same Claude. The College Point priest's warning had come true: it was "good-bye to Grande Pointe!"- Nay, nay, it must not be! Is that the kind of power education is? Power to tear children from their parents? Power to expose their young heads to midnight storms? Power to make them eager to go, and willing to stay away, from their paternal homes? Then indeed the priest had said only too truly, that these public schools teach everything except morals and religion! From the depth of St. Pierre's heart there quickly came a denial of the charge; and on the moment, like a chanted response, there fell upon his listening ear a monotonous intonation from within the door. A reading-class had begun its exercise. He knew the words by heart, so often had Claude and he read them together. He followed the last stanza silently with his own lips.
"Remember, child, remember
That you love, with all your might,
Tears filled the swamper's eyes. He moved as if to leave the place, but paused with one foot half lowered to the ground. His jaws set, a frown came between his eyes; he drew back the foot, turned again to the door, and gave a loud, peremptory knock.
Bonaventure came to the door. Anxiety quickly overspread his face as he saw the gloom on St. Pierre's. He stood on the outer edge of the sill and drew the door after him. "I got good news," said St. Pierre, with a softening of countenance.
"Yass.-I goin' make Claude come home." Bonaventure could only look at him in amazement. St. Pierre looked away and continued:
"'S no use. Can't stand it no longer." He turned suddenly upon the schoolmaster. "Why you di' n' tell me ed'cation goin' teck my boy 'way from me?" In Bonaventure a look of distressful self-justification quickly changed to one of anxious compassion.
"Wait!" he said. He went back into the school-room, leaving St. Pierre in the open door, and said:
"Dear chil'run, I perceive generally the aspects of fatigue. You have been good scholars. I pronounce a half-hollyday till tomorrow morning. Come, each and every one, with lessons complete."
The children dispersed peaceably, jostling one another to shake the schoolmaster's hand as they passed him. When they were gone he put on his coarse straw hat, and the two men walked slowly, conversing as they went, down the green road that years before had first brought the educator to Grande Pointe.
"Dear friend," said the schoolmaster, "shall education be to blame for this separation? Is not also non-education responsible? Is it not by the non-education of Grande Pointe that there is nothing fit here for Claude's staying?"
"I? I stay? Ah! sir, I stay, yes! Because, like Claude, leaving my home and seeking by wandering to find the true place of my utility, a voice spake that I come at Grande Pointe. Behole me! as far from my childhood home as Claude from his. Friend,— ah! friend, what shall I,—shall Claude,- shall any man do with education? Keep it? Like a miser his gol'? What shall the ship do when she is load'? Dear friend," - they halted where another road started away through the underbrush at an abrupt angle on their right,"where leads this narrow road? To Belle Alliance plantation only, or not also to the whole worl'? So is education! That road here once fetch me at Grande Pointe; the same road fetch Claude away. Education came whispering, Claude St. Pierre, come! I have constitute' you citizen of the worl'. Come, come, forgetting self!' Oh, dear friend, education is not for self alone! Nay, even self is not for self!"
"Well, den,❞— the deep-voiced woodman stood with one boot on a low stump, fiercely trimming a branch that he had struck from the parent stem with one blow of his big, keen clasp-knife,-"self not for self,- for what he gone off and lef' me in the swamp?" Ah, sir!" replied Bonaventure," what do I unceasingly tell those dear school-chil'run? May we not make the most of self, yet not for self?"" He laid his hand upon St. Pierre's shoulder. "And who sent Claude hence if not his unselfish father?"
"I was big fool," said St. Pierre, whittling on.
"Nay, wise! Discovering the great rule of civilize-ation. Every man not for self, but for every other!"
The swamper disclaimed the generous imputation with a shake of the head.
"Naw, I dunno nut'n' 'bout dat. I look out
for me and my boy, me.- And, beside,”– he abruptly threw away the staff he had trimmed, shut his knife with a snap, and thrust it into his pocket,-" I dawn't see ed'cation make no diff'ence. You say ed'cation — priest say religion-me, I dawn't see neider one make no diff'ence. I see every man look out for hisself and his li'l' crowd. Not you, but" He waved his hand bitterly toward the world at large.
"Ah, sir!" cried Bonaventure, "'t is not something what you can see all the time, like the horns on a cow! And yet, sir,- and yet!" he lifted himself upon tiptoe and ran his fingers through his thin hair-"the education that make' no difference is but a dead body! and the religion that make' no difference is a ghost! Behole! behole two thing' in the worl', where all is giving and getting, two thing', contrary, yet resem'ling! 'Tis the left han'— alas, alas!-giving only to get; and the right, blessed of God, getting only to give! How much resem'ling, yet how contrary! The one han' of all strife; the other of all peace. And oh! dear friend, there are those who call the one civilize-ation, and the other religion. Civilize-ation? Refigion? They are one! They are body and soul! I care not what religion the priest teach you; in God's religion is comprised the total mécanique of civilize-ation. We are all in it; you, me, Claude, Sidonie; all in it! Each and every at his task, however high, however low, working not to get, but to give, and not to give only to his own li'l' crowd, but to all, to all!" The speaker ceased, for his hearer was nodding his head with skeptical impatience.
"Yass," said the woodman, "yass; but look, Bonaventure. Di'n' you said one time, 'Knowledge is power'?"
Yes, truly; and it is.”
"But what use knowledge be power if goin' give ev't'in' away?"
Bonaventure drew back a step or two, suddenly jerked his hat from his head, and came forward again with arms stretched wide and the hat dangling from his hand. "Becausebecause God will not let it sta-a-ay given away! 'Give it shall be give' to you.' Everything given out into God's worl' come back to us roun' God's worl'! Resem'ling the stirring of water in a bucket!"
But St. Pierre frowned. "Yass,- wat' in bucket,-yass. Den no man dawn't keep nut'n'. Dawn't own nut'n' he got." "Ah! sir, there is a better owning than to own. 'Tis giving, dear friend; 't is giving. To get? To have? That is not to own. The giver, not the getter; the giver! he is the true owner. Live thou not to get, but to give." Bonaven
ture's voice trembled; his eyes were full of tears.
The swamper stood up with his own eyes full, but his voice was firm. "Bonaventure, I don't got much. I got dat li'l' shanty on Bayou des Acadiens and li'l' plunder insidefew kittle' and pan',-cast-net, fish-line', two, t'ree gun', and- my wife' grave, yond' in graveyard. But I got Claude,- my boy, my son. You t'ink God want me give my son to whole worl'?"
The schoolmaster took the woodsman's brown wrist tenderly into both his hands and said, scarce above a whisper, "He gave His, first. He started it. Who can refuse, He starting it? And thou will not refuse." The voice rose" I see, I see the victory! Well art thou nominated St Pierre'! for on that rock of giving —"
"Naw, sir! Stop!" The swamper dashed the moisture from his eyes and summoned a look of stubborn resolve. "Mo' better you call me St. Pierre because I'm a fisherman what cuss when I git mad. Look! You dawn't want me git Claude back in Gran' Point'. You want me to give, give. Well, all right! I goin' quit Gran' Point' and give myself, me, to Claude. I kin read, I kin write, I t'ink kin do better 'long wid Claude dan livin' all 'lone wid snake' and alligator'. I t'ink dass mo' better for everybody; and anyhow, I dawn't care; I dawn't give my son to nobody; I give myself to Claude."
Bonaventure and his friend gazed into each other's wet eyes for a moment. Then the schoolmaster turned, lifted his eyes and one arm toward the west, and exclaimed: "Ah, Claude! thou receivest the noblest gift in Gran' Point'!"
ON the prairies of Vermillion and Lafayette winter is virtually over by the first week in February. From sky to sky, each tree and field, each plain and plantation grove, are putting on the greenery of a northern May. Even on Côte Gelée the housewife has persuaded le vieux to lay aside his gun, and the early potatoes are already planted. If the moon be at the full much ground is ready for the sower; and those plowmen and pony teams and men working along behind them with big, clumsy hoes, over in yonder field, are planting corn. Those silent, tremulous strands of black that in the morning sky come gliding, high overhead, from the direction of the great sea marshes and fade into the northern blue, are flocks that have escaped the murderous gun of the pot-hunter. Spring and summer are driving these before
them as the younger and older sister, almost abreast, come laughing, and striving to outrun each other across the Mexican Gulf.
Those two travelers on horseback, so dwarfed by distance, whom you see approaching out of the north-west, you shall presently find have made, in their dress, no provision against cold. At Carancro, some miles away to the northeast, there is a thermometer; and somewhere in Vermillionville, a like distance to the southeast, there might possibly be found a barometer; but there is no need of either to tell that the air to-day is threescore and ten and will be more before it is less. Before the riders draw near you have noticed that only one is a man and the other a woman. And now you may see that he is sleek and alert, blonde and bland, and the savage within us wants to knock off his silk hat. All the more so for that she is singularly pretty to be met in his sole care. The years count, on her brows, it is true, but the way in which they tell of matronhoodand somehow of widowhood too-is a very fair and gentle way. Her dress is plain, but its lines have a grace that is also dignity; and the lines of her face-lines is too hard a word for them are not those of time, but of will and of care, that have chastened, refined, one another. She speaks only now and then. Her companion's speech fills the wide intervals.
"Yesterday morning," he says, " as I came along here a little after sunrise, there was a thin fog lying only two or three feet deep, close to the level ground as far as you could see, hiding the whole prairie and making it look for all the world like a beautiful lake, with every here and there a green grove standing out of it like a real little island."
She replies that she used to see it so in her younger days. The Acadian accent is in her words. She lifts her black eyes, looks toward Carancro, and is silent.
"You're thinking of the changes," says her
"Yass; 't is so. Dey got twenty time' many field' like had befo'. Peop' don't raise cattl' no mo'; raise crop'. Dey say even dat land changin'."
"I dunno. I dunno if 't is so. Dey say prairie risin' mo' higher every year. I dunno if 't is so. I t'ink dat land don't change much; but de peop', yass."
"Still, thechanges are mostly good changes," responds the male rider. ""T is n't the prairie, but the people that are rising. They 've got the school-house, and the English language, and a free, paid labor system, and the railroads, and painted wagons, and Cincinnati furniture, and sewing-machines, and melo
deons, and Horsford's Acid Phosphate; and they 've caught the spirit of progress!" "Yass, 'tis so. Dawn't see nobody seem satisfiedsince de army since de railroad." "Well, that's right enough; they ought n't to be satisfied. You 're not satisfied, are you? And yet you 've never done so well before as you have this season. I wish I could say the same for the 'Album of Universal Information'; but I can't. I tell you that, Madame Beausoleil; I would n't tell anybody else."
Zoséphine responds with a dignified bow. She has years ago noticed in herself that, though she has strength of will, she lacks clearness and promptness of decision. She is at a loss, now, to know what to do with Mr. Tarbox. Here he is for the seventh time. But there is always a plausible explanation of his presence, and a person of more tactful propriety, it seems to her, never put his name upon her tavern register or himself into her company. She sees nothing shallow or specious in his dazzling attainments; they rekindle the old ambitions in her that Bonaventure lighted; and although Mr. Tarbox's modest loveliness is not visible, yet a certain fundamental rectitude, discernible behind all his nebulous gaudiness, confirms her liking. Then, too, he has earned her gratitude. She has inherited not only her father's small fortune, but his thrift as well. She can see the sagacity of Mr. Tarbox's advice in pecuniary matters, and once and once again, when he has told her quietly of some little operation into which he and the ex-governor- who "thinks the world of me," he says-were going to dip, and she has accepted his invitation to venture in also, to the extent of a single thousand dollars, the money has come back handsomely increased. Even now, the sale of all her prairie lands to her former kinsmen-in-law, which brought her out here yesterday and lets her return this morning, is made upon his suggestion, and is so advantageous that somehow, she does n't know why, she almost fears it is n't fair to the other side. The fact is, the country is passing from the pastoral to the agricultural life, the prairies are being turned into countless farms, and the people are getting wealth. So explains Mr. Tarbox, whose happening to come along this morning bound in her direction is pure accident. pure accident.
"No, the A. of U. I.' has n't done its best," he says again. "For one thing, I 've had other fish to fry. You know that." He ventures a glance at her eyes, but they ignore it, and he adds, "I mean other financial matters."
"Tis so," says Zoséphine; and Mr. Tarbox hopes the reason for this faint repulse is only the nearness of this farm-house peeping at
them through its pink veil of blossoming peachtrees, as they leisurely trot by.
"Yes," he says; "and, besides, 'Universal Information' is n't what this people want. The book 's too catholic for them."
"Too Cat'oleek!" Zoséphine raises her pretty eyebrows in grave astonishment "Cadian' is all Cat'oleek."
"Yes, yes, ecclesiastically speaking, I know. That was n't my meaning. Your smaller meaning puts my larger one out of sight; yes, just as this Cherokee hedge puts out of sight the miles of prairie fields, and even that house we just passed. No, the 'A. of U. I.,'-I love to call it that; can you guess why?" There is a venturesome twinkle in his smile, and even a playful permission in her own as she shakes her head.
"Well, I'll tell you; it's because it brings you and I so near together."
"Hah!" exclaims Madame Beausoleil, warningly, yet with sunshine and cloud on her brow at once. She likes her companion's wit, always so deep and yet always so delicately pointed! His hearty laugh just now disturbs her somewhat, but they are out on the wide plain again, without a spot in all the sweep of her glance where an eye or an ear may ambush them or their walking horses.
"No," insists her fellow-traveler; "I say again, as I said before, the 'A. of U. I.'-" he pauses at the initials, and Zoséphine's faint smile gives him ecstasy-"has n't done its best. And yet it has done beautifully! Why, when did you ever see such a list as this? He dexterously draws from an extensive inner breast-pocket, such as no coat but a bookagent's or a shoplifter's would be guilty of, a wide, limp, morocco-bound subscription book. "Here!" He throws it open upon the broad Texas pommel. "Now, just for curiosity, look at it-Oh! you can't see it from away off there, looking at it sideways!" He gives her a half-reproachful, half-beseeching smile and. glance and gathers up his dropped bridle. They come closer. Their two near shoulders approach each other, the two elbows touch, and two dissimilar hands hold down the leaves. The two horses playfully bite at each other; it is their way of winking one eye.
"Now, first, here's the governor's name; and then his son's, and his nephew's, and his other son's, and his cousin's. And here Pierre Cormeaux, and Baptiste Clement, you know, at Carancro; and here's Bazilide Sexnailder, and Joseph Cantrelle, and Jacques Hebert; see? And Gaudin, and Laprade, Blouin, and Roussel,- old Christofle Roussel of Beau Bassin,- Duhon, Roman and Simonette Le Blanc, and Judge Landry, and Thériot, Colonel Thériot,- Martin, Hebert
again, Robichaux, Mouton, Mouton again, Robichaux again, Mouton-oh, I 've got 'em all! - Castille, Beausoleil-cousin of yours? Yes, he said so; good fellow, thinks you're the greatest woman alive." The two dissimilar hands, in turning a leaf, touch, and the smaller one leaves the book. "And here's Guilbeau, and Latiolais, and Thibodeaux, and Soudrie, and Arcenaux-flowers of the community—I gather them in '—and here's a page of Côte Gelée people, and — Joe Jefferson had n't got back to the Island yet, but I've got his son; see? And here's can you make out this signature? It's written so small-"
Both heads, with only the heavens and the dear old earth-mother to see them,- both heads bend over the book; the hand that had retreated returns, but bethinks itself and withdraws again; the eyes of Mr. Tarbox look across their corners at the sedate brow so much nearer his than ever it has been before, until that brow feels the look and slowly draws away. Look to your mother, Marguerite; look to her! But Marguerite is not there, not even in Vermillionville; nor yet in Lafayette parish; nor anywhere throughout the wide prairies of Opelousas or Attakapas. Triumph fills Mr. Tarbox's breast.
"Well," he says, restoring the book to its hiding-place, "seems like I ought to be satisfied with that; does n't it to you?"
It does; Zoséphine says so. She sees the double meaning, and Mr. Tarbox sees that she sees it, but must still move cautiously. So he says:
"Well, I'm not satisfied. It's perfect as far as it goes, but don't expect me to be satisfied with it. If I 've seemed satisfied, shall I tell you why it was, my dear-friend?"
Zoséphine makes no reply; but her dark eyes meeting his for a moment, and then falling to her horse's feet, seem to beg for mercy.
"It's because," says Mr. Tarbox, while her heart stands still, "it's because I've made ❞— there is an awful pause" more money without the A. of U. I.' this season than I've made with it."
Madame Beausoleil catches her breath, shows relief in every feature, lifts her eyes with sudden brightness, and exclaims:
"Dass good! Dass mighty good, yass! 'Tis so."
"Yes, it is; and I tell you, and you only, because I'm proud to believe you 're my sincere friend. Am I right?"
Zoséphine busies herself with her ridingskirt, shifts her seat a little, and with studied carelessness assents.
"Yes," her companion repeats; "and so I tell you. The true business man is candid to
all, communicative to none. And yet I open my heart to you. I can't help it; it won't stay shut. And you must see, I 'm sure you must, that there's something more in there besides money; don't you?" His tone grows tender.
Madame Beausoleil steals a glance toward him,- a grave, timid glance. She knows there is safety in the present moment. Three horsemen, strangers, far across the field in their front, are coming toward them, and she feels an almost proprietary complacence in a suitor whom she can safely trust to be saying just the right nothings when those shall meet them and ride by. She does not speak; but he says:
"You know there is, dear Jos friend!" He smiles with modest sweetness. 'G. W. Tarbox does n't run after money, and consequently he never runs past much without picking it up." They both laugh in decorous moderation. The horsemen are drawing near; they are Acadians. "I admit I love to make money. But that's not my chief pleasure. My chief pleasure is the study of human nature.
"The proper study of mankind is man.
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled,
"This season I've been studying these Acadian people. And I like them! They don't like to be reminded that they 're Acadians. Well, that's natural; the Creoles used to lord it over them so when the Creoles were slaveholding planters and they were small farmers. That's about past now. The Acadians are descended from peasants, that 's true, while some Creoles are from the French nobility. But, hooh! would n't any fair-minded person"- the horsemen are within earshot; they are staring at the silk hat-"Adjieu."
"Adjieu." They pass.
“— Would n't any fair-minded person that knows what France was two or three hundred years ago-show you some day in the 'Album' about as lief be descended from a good deal of that peasantry as from a good deal of that nobility? I should smile! Why, my dearfriend, the day 's coming when the Acadians will be counted as good French blood as there is in Louisiana! They 're the only white people that ever trod this continent-island or mainland — who never on their own account oppressed anybody. Some little depredation on their British neighbors, out of dogged faith. fulness to their king and church,- that 's the worst charge you can make. Look at their history! all poetry and pathos! Look at their character! brave, peaceable, loyal, industrious, home-loving-"
But Zoséphine is looking at the speaker.
Her face is kindled with the inspiration of his praise. His own eyes grow ardent.
"Look at their women! Ah, Josephine, I'm looking at one! Don't turn away. "One made up
Of loveliness alone;
"The reason firm, the temperate will,
"You can't stop me, Josephine; it's got to come, and come right now. I'm a homeless man, Josephine, tired of wandering, with a heart bigger and weaker than I ever thought I had. I want you! I love you! I've never loved anybody before in my life except myself, and I don't find myself as lovely as I used. Oh, take me, Josephine! I don't ask you to love as if you'd never loved another. I'll take what's left, and be perfectly satisfied! I know you 're ambitious, and I love you for that! But I do think I can give you a larger life. With you for a wife, I believe I could be a man you need n't be ashamed of. I'm already at the head of my line. Best record in the United States, Josephine, whether by the day, week, month, year, or locality. But if you don't like the line, I'll throw up the 'A. of U. I.' and go into anything you say; for I want to lift you higher, Josephine. You 're above me already, by nature and by rights, but I can lift you, I know I can. You 've got no business keeping tavern; you 're one of Nature's aristocrats. Yes, you are! and you 're too young and lovely to stay a widow — in a State where there's more men than there's women. There's a good deal of the hill yet to climb before you start down. Oh, let 's climb it together, Josephine! I'll make you happier than you are, Josephine; I haven't got a bad habit left; such as I had, I 've quit; it don't pay. I don't drink, chew, smoke, tell lies, swear, quarrel, play cards, make debts, nor belong to a club- be my wife! Your daughter 'll soon be leaving you. You can't be happy alone. Take me! take me!" He urges his horse close - her face is averted-and lays his hand softly but firmly on her two, resting folded on the saddle-horn. They struggle faintly and are still; but she slowly shakes her hanging head.
"O Josephine! you don't mean no, do you? Look this way! you don't mean no?" He presses his hand passionately down upon hers. Her eyes do not turn to his; but they are lifted tearfully to the vast, unanswering sky, and as she mournfully shakes her head again, she cries,