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Many of these places are a kind of booths, open to the street; and on the pavement, in front, ragged women and children sat basking themselves, "discoorsing" together. The streets there are noisy with talk. Womens' heads protruded from the holes alongside the pavement, which are the openings of cellardwellings, often packed with miserable occupantsthe one opening in the cellar-hole generally serving for both door and window. Other unwashed heads were projecting from the sashless windows over-head, within which you might see the blackened walls of the apartment, sometimes full of occupants; and along the street itself were squatted numerous groups, all in rags, all poor, all destitute; and yet nearly all talking, and apparently all happy! As we drove up the street leading to the Cathedral, a little ragged boy, seemingly out of sheer fun, threw himself along the pavement in a succession of summersets, almost keeping pace with the car; and the other ragged youngsters about him laughed and joked at his agility. Some of them were as nearly destitute of clothing as it was possible to be, without being naked; and their skins seemed not to have known water.
'Really," said my uncle, "I don't think I ever saw in my life before, such a mass of poverty crowded into one place; but, after all, it seems only poverty,it is not misery. There is contentment on those faces, on many of them merriment and gladness. It is really very extraordinary."
Ah, it's the light heart and the light purse they have, your honour," said the carman; "but there's misery too in the back streets about here poor starving creatures, God help them!"
"Are there many streets as bad as this, where the population is as wretched?"
Ay, hundreds, sir-half Dublin is as poor as that"-pointing to a squalid group squatted in the sun. "Well, who need wonder that the Irish people are flying out of their country? If it does nothing better for them than that, why, the sooner they wipe its dust off their feet, the better."
"Yes, your honour, they're all going-it's only the means they want. Ireland's no longer for the Irish. The curse of God, or of Cromwell, is on our country."
"Well, now, we've seen enough of this-drive us back to Sackville Street, my good fellow."
"I will, sir; but first let me take you through Weavers' Square-It's close at hand."
We drove on, and passed through the deserted quarter. Some sixty years ago, the place was busy with the noise of the loom and the shuttle; now it is silent. The windows of many of the tall houses are dismantled, and the streets are desolate. Like everything else in Ireland, except poorhouses and barracks, the place is going to ruin and decay.
"There is no weaving done here now?" I asked. "Next to none, sir; the people are ruined out: the English have taken all our trade away." "How is that?"
"We haven't fair play, sir. It's bad laws has done it all. It was not so when we had a Parliament of
"Bad laws! why, there are no laws against Irish weaving, nor Irish manufacture of any kind. If you have lost your trade, it must be because you have not worked to keep it. If the English make better and cheaper articles for your Dublin markets, and Irish people prefer buying them, why blame bad laws, which have nothing to do with the matter? But the trade 's gone-that's clear; and it's a bad business for your poor people, I admit.'
"It is, sir; and we've looked long enough for the good old times back again." "Ay, but longing won't do," said my uncle, "you
Dublin people must set to work in good earnest, else the good times won't come."
"It's too late, sir. Ireland's clean ruined, and there's nothing left for us but to quit it."
We found the same hopeless feeling on the part of the people everywhere prevalent. Hope seemed to have taken adieu of them, and their thoughts were all across the Atlantic, where they wished to be. Many had gone, many more were going, and a still greater number longed to go.
Wherever we went, there was the same aspect of poverty. The poor were everywhere, crawling on the doorsteps of the lordliest mansions; beggars on the pavement, peeping out of cellars, crouched along the quays, starting up at your approach, and haunting your footsteps--beggars before you, behind you, and on every side. A swift-footed beggar dogs you in the street, and you find you can only cut him with a copper-"I have got no change," "I'll find change for your honour this minute" is the ready reply. The beggars go in ones, in twos, in groups, in detachments. You give a penny, and the whole group is full of eloquent thanks-"May the heavens be your bed, and may you never feel hunger!" A beggar family lies squatted along the footpath, barring the way-a woman, the centre of the group, smokes a little black pipe, she has three children around her, and a fourth at her breast. "A halfpenny, for the love of God!" rises from the group, and if you drop "the blessing of God upon your head" is shouted after you. Such are the sights for the stranger, in and about the capital of Ireland.
Dublin, though a splendid city in its wealthier quarters, soon tires one accustomed to town sights. It is in many respects a counterpart of our English metropolitan city. Its public buildings, exhibitions, Phoenix Park, Castle, College, museums, and such like, are of the first class, and in many respects are objects of great interest, and will amply repay inspection by those who have leisure. But our desire was to see the country and the people-so, after a moderate share of Dublin sight-seeing, we determined to push into the far south-west.
Next morning we were up betimes, and had an early breakfast. I was amused as well as gratified by the solicitude of the waiter for our comfort. An English waiter brings in his meats, sets them down, does what he has to do without saying a word: you might never know the sound of his voice. But this Irish waiter seemed most anxious that we should be comfortable; and did not spare kindly expressions. "Do thry and make a breakfast, sir, it's good for a long journey," said he. "Thry an egg, sir, they're fresh laid-I'm sure you honours will like them," and so on. At parting, I placed the usual douceur in the waiter's hand: "Thank your honour's mercy, and bless your sowl. I wish you safe home, and a pleasant journey, sir." 66 'Egad," said my uncle, "I rather like that: he seems a fine warm-hearted fellow. Indeed, these Irish are quite gifted with natural politeness, if not with a genuine kindness. Even that waiter can't help doing the hospitable. I suppose we English are either a cooler or a less demonstrative people."
We drove to the station of the Great Southern and Western Railway, situated up the Liffey, on the south bank. The station is the most beautiful and compact I have yet seen, built after a noble design. The whole appointments of this railway are admirable -road, carriages, and servants; and it is a model of punctuality, so far as I could judge. We took our seats for Cork.
It is but a very rapid and summary view of a country, which one gets from the windows of a railway carriage; still, something is to be seen. Fertile fields and heavy crops bespeak the richness of the
soil, and the industry of the people. From the buildings which dot the landscape, you can draw some inferences as to the wealth and enterprise of the people. But it was matter of remark to us strangers, how few buildings of any kind were to be discovered amid the landscape. No smoking long chimneys anywhere, bespeaking manufacture; no wind-mills, indicating agricultural activity; nothing whatever corresponding in character to the English village; nothing at all resembling the English farmsteading, except in the near vicinity of Dublin, where the land is very rich and fertile; very few peasants dwellings, and these merely of mud and wattles, as they might have been six hundred years ago; very few towns, and these poor and decaying ones, as, for instance, Kildare, with its Round Tower-the town an old decayed place, its houses falling to pieces. Near this place is the famous Curragh of Kildare, an immense tract of land, some six miles in length and two in breadth, containing much fertile soil, but now lying comparatively waste. It is the property of Government, but why it lies idle and untilled, when there are so many poor people wanting work, and unfed, none can tell.
The Great Bog of Allen lies near at hand, and part of it is crossed by the railway. Bog extends for miles,-much of it reclaimable, but unreclaimed. This bog is only one of many which occupy the central districts of Ireland, and form a peculiar character of Irish scenery. Unlike England, the centre of the island is hollow, so that most of the Irish rivers are mere chains of lakes. It is this that accounts for the immense extent of river navigation which the Shannon affords. The Bog of Allen, like the other Irish bogs, is not without its value to the peasantry who live around its outskirts and upon the seemingly little islets which here and there stand out upon its surface; the bog affords an inexhaustible supply of fuel for the Irish peasant, and is almost the only article of life which he has in plenty. Sometimes you discover, on the skirts of the bog, a strip of green. What is that?-the potatoe patch! At first you can discover no traces of a dwelling; but look a little closer, and you will see some slight elevations above the surface of the ground not differing from the bog in colour--they are the roofs of human dwellings; and in these low hovels, without window or chimney, thrown up of mud and covered with turf or thatch, after a style of architecture which a Hottentot could rival, the Irish peasants manage to live, and starve. The turf for the winter's fire is got so easily from the bog, where one may "cut and come again" for ever, and the potatoes which satisfy the poor Irishman's wants are so easily grown, that it were perhaps better for Ireland that the turf were all burnt and the potatoes all blighted; for then the Irishman would have to exert himself to dig under the earth for the coal in which Ireland abounds, and to plough and cultivate its surface for the production of a higher article of food than that which now satisfies him.
At Portarlington, the railway passes through the beautiful estates of the earl of that name, which are now in the market. They are burdened with debt, and are brought to the hammer by the authorities of the Encumbered Estates Court. The land about this neighbourhood is rich and fertile, but in many places seemingly left idle and waste. On towards the county of Tipperary, the land continues increasingly rich, the pasture abundant, the crops heavy; men and women are seen toiling in the fields; the peasant farmers' huts, though still of clay and thatch, have a more comfortable look; well-fed cattle are seen browsing here and there, and the landscape, set off by the glorious background of the Galtee mountains,-green
to their summit,-looks gay, smiling, and beautiful. "It is indeed a beautiful land," said a voice at my elbow ; "the people of such a country must have put themselves to great trouble to make it poor, when nature has been so bountiful towards it."
He was an English gentleman who thus spoke,—on a journey of pleasure and observation, like ourselves; and I could not help assenting to his remark.
"The land is rich, indeed," said another speaker, evidently a native, from his strong accent, "and the people are a hard-working, industrious people; but it is the bad landlord that is the curse of Ireland; it is he that makes it poor; and what with bad laws and oppressive taxation, the poor man has not a chance of life in this country."
"Well," said the gentleman who had first spoken, "I don't quite see the force of that. The law does not prevent the grass growing, or the cattle from feeding; and as for taxes, you pay less than we do in England; about the bad landlord, there may be something in that. But I confess I don't quite see how he can be the cause of all the misery and poverty that we see; it is the same everywhere, both in town and country, both where there are landlords and where there are only house lords."
And here arose again the interminable subject of the causes of Irish misery. The Irishman held, that Government and landlords were the chief causes; the Englishman insisted, that the people themselves must also have something to do with it, and that it was all folly to look to Government or to law to do that for a people which they ought to do for themselves. I never heard these questions discussed in Ireland, but the most various and opposite causes were cited. One said it was the landlords, another the potatoes, a third Popery, a fourth English misgovernment, a fifth the indolence of the Celtic race, a sixth small-farms, a seventh-but there was no end of causes adduced; and I could not help agreeing with my uncle in his assertion, that "if the Irish people would but give up talking about the causes of their poverty, and set to work upon the land, the mines, and the fisheries of Ireland, they might soon be the richest people in the three kingdoms. Why should not Munster do as Ulster has done? It has the same law; and it only needs industry and resolu tion on the part of the people, to achieve even greater prosperity than they have done."
It was afternoon when we reached the Cork station. Outside the landing-place there was a crush of omnibuses and cars, and a deafening altercation was going on among the drivers thereof for places. All seemed to be talking and shouting at one and the same time; and, mixed up with the hubbub, were the entreaties of the beggars fluttering in rags. Below lay the city, environed with green hills, at the head of its beautiful bay, as fine a picture of hill, valley, and estuary, as might be seen. Seated at last, we were driven down the hill, through and across many miserable, tumble-down streets, and along others which lookod very spacious and handsome, and were then set down at the Imperial Hotel, one of the best-appointed inns in the kingdom.
BY PERCY B. ST. JOHN.
MONSIEUR and Madame Richard were a young couple, who married for love. Of the middle classes, they were very well off. Before marriage they had known scarcely anything of each other, with the exception of one or two days spent in the country accompanied by their parents. There was one day in particular, which they remembered always with
pleasure. It was about a week before they were married. There had been a picnic got up by the friends of the future husband, and all those who were to be present at the wedding were there. Jules and Louise, the future couple, were all the day together; they talked of the happiness of being united, of the felicities of wedlock, of mutual affection; but neither had formed to themselves any notion of how this happiness, this felicity, was to be brought about. Then came the noce, at which they danced; and then the honeymoon, when they were very happy; and then they sank down into a regular serious married couple. They had not, before marriage, taken any trouble to inquire into each other's tastes and feelings; they had not nurtured any ideas in common, and now that they were hopelessly united, their very love seemed to fade away after the first two or three months. Jules returned to his habits previous to marriage, Louise to hers. Very little would have been required to have prevented this, a simple effort on the part of either to have pleased the other, a wish to discover the means of doing so. But they did nothing of the kind, so Jules went to a café and played billiards, cards, and dominoes, and Louise, when the shop did not require her presence, ran her fingers over her piano, or did wool-work, labouring like a little horse in a mill, at an arm-chair cover which had been commenced three years before.
Such, unfortunately, is the early result of too many marriages, which commence with fond caresses and continual endearments, and end with indifference, when not amid violence and quarrels. The cause is generally the same, want of knowledge of each other's character and habits, and worse than that, a disinclination to take the trouble to inquire into each other's feelings. A philosopher has said, "Know thyself," and has declared this knowledge to be the height of human wisdom; but with married people it's more important to understand each other. Half the quarrels in the world take their origin in mistakes. A playful pouting, when the lips look scornful, and the eye is beaming with love, has often, through carelessness, been taken for serious ill-temper, and given rise to a terrible scene of passion. It is only by studious examination, or by time, that we arrive at a comprehension of people's weak points, and it is precisely by a knowledge of the weak points of those we love, that we can make them happy. In all serious things, common sense will make sensible persons yield, but the most sensible are apt to let trifles influence them. A man who could bear the loss of a hundred pounds in his business philosophically, would be made cross all day, perhaps, by his wife losing his spectacles, his cane, or his snuff-box. This is not perfect wisdom, but it is still less wise for a wife to be careless about such things. A A wife might quietly allow you to pay attention to another lady all the evening at a party, and yet be miserable if you read the newspaper to yourself at breakfast. Perhaps to you it is the most agreeable and convenient time, but still, a reasonable man would contrive to find another opportunity, if he saw that it was likely to have any bad influence on his wife's temper for the day. But there is so dreadful a spirit of opposition in the human character, that we are much more apt, at times, to do precisely that which is unpleasant to those we love, than to yield gracefully, and enjoy the sweetest of human enjoy. ments, giving pleasure. Some persons fancy that to be made happy is the pleasantest thing in life; I have always felt and observed that the height of human felicity is making others happy. If a young man takes to himself a wife, with the idea that she is to make him happy, he will generally find himself mistaken; a woman expects you to make her So, and
be assured that if, instead of lying down and waiting for it, you seek to diffuse it around you, it will come without being courted, of its own accord. I knew a man, who, when he came home of an evening to his wife and family, was always tired, and consequently cross. Down he would sit, looking as black as thunder; he said nothing for some time, and then when spouse and children stood aloof, or talked in whispers among themselves, he began to grumble, declared that he was thought nothing of; and I have known him to go to bed without touching his dinner. One day some stroke of good luck happened to him just before he came home; he leaped into a cab, entered his house, and sat down in his usual place. Scarcely had he done so, before one of the children ran up to him, saying, "How happy papa looks today! then came the rest crowding round him, and then came the mother to scold them for teazing their father; but she went not away, for the husband drew her on his knee, let two children sit the other side, with other three standing round, and never was man happier. From that day he always came home smiling and cheerful, and the children stood aloof no more; there was no more whispering, no more silence when he entered, but wife and little ones all rushed together to be the first in his arms. Nor does he ever let her check their most uproarious mirth; it is delightful music to the father's ear, after the former
A year passed, and there came no change with Monsieur and Madame Richard. They never quarrelled, but they were coldly indifferent in manner, and soon scarcely ever spoke. Madame got careless, too, about her dress; she lay in bed of a morning, and allowed her husband to breakfast alone, because, when together, they never spoke. He took in the National, and she the Siècle for its feuilleton, and both read. But she found, by-and-by, that she could read just as well in bed, and never rose before twelve. Jules, who was industrious, with all his faults, rose early, assisted the shopmen to arrange the shop, looked over the accounts which an elderly woman brought to him who had lived thirty years with his father, and then had pretty well done all the work which was necessary for the day. Once or twice he went out to breakfast with friends, and returned only at night. But Madame never murmured; she felt full of ennui, wearied and glad to go to bed of an evening, but it never struck her that it was from any want of her husband's society.
One morning Jules rose as usual at seven o'clock, and went down stairs. The old woman and the servant met him as he entered the shop, and wished him many happy returns of the day.
"Of what day?" said Jules, much surprised. "Of your happy wedding-day," replied the women, still more astonished than himself.
"Ah, yes!” continued Jules, thoughtfully, and he went into the shop. It struck him, as he did so, that his year of married life had been productive of but very indifferent happiness, and he very quietly asked himself why? Louise had no fault that he could see, he had nothing to reproach her with; it must then be himself. He could not very well tell in what his own fault consisted, but a vague thought came across him, that something different was required from what now existed, ere his union with Louise could be productive of felicity to either. He called his servant-girl, bade her prepare a very choice and nice breakfast, and then went out.
About an hour later he returned with an enormous bunch of flowers,-one of the most beautiful bouquets to be found in the whole market of the Madeleine. Marie, the bonne, who had waited upon Louise before her marriage, looked surprised and pleased.
"Here, Marie," said the young husband, with a cheerful smile,-the walk and pleasant errand had done him good-"take this up stairs to your mistress, with my best wishes for many happy returns to this our wedding-day, and say that if she will come down to breakfast, I shall be very pleased and gratified."
"Yes, Monsieur, but will you not take it up yourself?" said the maid, a little slily.
"No! You take it up; Madame Dubois will watch the breakfast while you are gone," replied Jules, who knew too little of his wife's disposition to be aware whether she would be pleased or not. "I will just run over the accounts."
And the young man, in a state of considerable flurry, turned once more into the shop. Marie, however, returned almost immediately, and brought back her mistress's message.
"Oh, Monsieur, Madame is so pleased!" said Marie, quite elated; "she will be down in ten minutes. She will thank you herself when she is up."
"Very good! "replied Jules, whose heart beat with about as much emotion as when he first knew Louise. About twenty minutes later, Jules was sitting at his breakfast-table, with the paper in his hand, waiting for his wife. Suddenly it was taken out of his hand, and two fond kisses were imprinted on his cheeks, and then on his lips.
"My dear good Jules," said Louise affectionately, "how kind, how good of you! I had quite forgotten this happy day."
"So did I, my dear; but we will not forget it again. Why, you have got your wedding-dress on, too; how pretty you look!"
"Do you think so?" replied she, quite pleased and gratified.
"Do I think so?" cried he, "why, you are always so, my love!"
Louise laughed, and paid him some like answer in return, and then Marie brought in the breakfast, and both fell too with appetite and pleasure. The effort on the part of Jules to make that one day pleasant, had had most fortunate results, and when, about an hour later, they sat quietly chatting after their meal, they looked so mutually satisfied and joyous, that Jules kept to himself an appointment he had to go and play a match at billiards, and taking his wife's hand in his, again addressed her.
"What shall we do to-day?" said he, looking into her eyes, and making to himself the remark of how clear and blue they were.
"Whatever you like, my love!" replied Louise, who was herself noticing how handsome Jules looked.
"Supposing I borrow my cousin's gig, and drive you down to St. Germain to dinner?" said he.
"I should be delighted," replied Louise, quite surprised.
Jules went and fetched the gig, and about one they started. It was a lovely day. All was sunshine and bright above, and Louise looked quite lovely in her rich wedding-dress, new bonnet, and with her little blue-fringed parasol; and Jules in his best was, she thought, all she could have wished.
About ten minutes after they left the house, they passed a large and well-known estaminet, where billiards were played by idle people from morning until night. A group stood by the door, who hailed Jules with a low murmur.
"I had quite forgotten," said he, a little confusedly, pulling up at the same time, "I had promised to play a match with Pinson. Gentlemen, you must excuse me, but this is my wedding-day anniversary. When I fixed the match, the date had slipped my memory."
"It will only delay it," said his wife, in such a tone as left no doubt of her sincerity.
"Gentlemen, I am at your service for one hour. My wife will come in and see us play," cried Jules, alighting and helping her out, amid warmly-expressed thanks from the gentlemen.
A man took the horse and gig in charge, and Monsieur and Madame Richard went into the esta minet. It smelt of smoke very strongly, and was in general not the sort of place to suit a person of rather delicate habits. But Louise did not make a face, or even cough, but took a place offered her in full view of the billiard table, accepting the proffered bottle of sirop and water with as much empressement as if the café had been the very locality she would have desired to be in. Had not Jules shown that morning an eager desire to please her? why should she not make a little sacrifice for him? Jules was rather proud of his play, and that day out-did himself, winning the match with ease against one who in general was his equal. Loud applause greeted him from all around, and none sought to restrain him, when, presently, he went away with his wife, on his way to St. Germain.
He was proud, delighted, happy,-proud that his wife had seen him do something well, and proud to show his pretty wife to his friends; delighted and happy at feelings which were new and sweet, and which he wondered much at not having felt during the year of existence which both had wasted. They left the dusty town by the magnificent avenue which our neighbours have named after the Elysian fields, and followed the Avenue de Neuilly. They soon lost all sign of the city, which lay behind them.
"How do you enjoy your day?" said Jules, suddenly, after some moments of silence.
"I am very happy," replied Louise, whose eyes beamed with a clear pellucid light that seemed to illumine all her face.
"I think this way of spending a day delightful; I wonder we never thought of it before."
Indeed, it is charming!" exclaimed Louise, fervently; we always spend a stupid Sunday, paying formal visits; suppose we go into the country en tête-à-tête, if you can resign yourself to spending a whole day alone with your wife."
"My dear," said Jules, with much warmth, "I never spent so happy a day before."
In such talk the time passed rapidly, and St. Germain was reached before they thought they were half way. They put up their vehicle at the principal hotel, and then went out for a walk in the forest, after ordering dinner, which Jules did in splendid style, for he was happy, and wished to do honour to the anniversary. The wood was soon gained, and then, arm-in-arm, cosy and comfortable, with all the joyousness of young lovers, and all the security of married people, and there is a security in feeling that those we love are ours,-they buried themselves in the depths of the magnificent forest,- -a forest rich in woodland scenery, to be found indeed in abundance around Paris,- -at Meudon, St. Cloud, Montmorency and other places. They wandered hand in hand for some time, and then, a sweet spot offering itself, they sat down, Louise on a bank, Jules at her feet. But he was not silent now, the pent-up feelings of affection and love, which, unknown to himself, had been swelling in his bosom for more than a year, now welled forth, and forgetting that they
were married, he sued for her affection as if he was not sure of it; he begged her to give him her heart, and when, in accents low and soft, the young wife whispered words of love and affection,-the first earnest ones she had ever uttered, he was enraptured.
"Dear Louise! "Dear Jules!
And then they were silent awhile with very joy of the heart, which is rarely communicative.
"Bravo! bravo!" suddenly exclaimed a jolly voice from within the trees; "here's Jules Richard en partie fine!"
And followed by a band of joyous rioters, a noisy friend of Richard, who led a pleasure-party, burst upon the unconscious pair. The rest of the company stood aloof discreetly. They were of the same class, men and women, as Richard, and some knew him, but none recognized his wife.
"Yes, gentlemen," said Jules rising, and speaking with an attempt at mock gravity, to conceal his deep feeling, "I am out for the day with a lady, as you see. It is the anniversary of my wedding-day, and I came down for a tête-à-tête expedition with my wife. I think I could not have done better."
All the married ladies loudly applauded, and crowding round Louise, were eagerly introduced to the young wife, who received their congratulations with a face beaming with smiles and blushes. She willingly agreed to join the party, though a rapid glance at Jules told him how much she regretted their previous quiet felicity.
"Where do you dine?" said Jules, with silent wish that they dined anywhere but at the Hotel de France.
"At the Hotel de France," replied M. Ragotin, the first interrupter; "we have ordered dinner for six."
they commenced. Such games are very funny when played by grown-up people, especially if there be any fat middle-aged people of the company, who, in their anxiety to look light and agile, generally give subject for a good deal of laughter. Such was the case now. M. Ragotin was what one might call a gentleman who did the heavy business. He was about fifty, corpulent, and with a face that spoke of good living and fast living, and yet this ci-devant jeune homme would be thought young still. He was much struck by the appearance of Louise; and by the curl of contempt which came upon his lips, when Jules spoke during the game of his wife's affection, he seemed to think that if he only chose to enter the lists, the husband would stand but a poor chance. When he was blind-man he took care to peep from under the handkerchief and catch her, and then threw himself pointedly in her way. He made, however, a feint at escaping. Louise's hands were outstretched, and he tried to pass under them. But his head touched her hand, and she caught at him quickly, crying, "Monsieur Ragotin!"
Loud was the roar of laughter which followed, and Louise taking off her handkerchief to see what was the matter, found the gallant gentleman's wig in her hand, and Ragotin himself rolling on the grass down a slight declivity.
"That comes of being a fool!" exclaimed Madame Ragotin, a little, thin, dry body of about fifty,-a very good woman at bottom, but one who had been soured by the bad conduct of her volatile spouse.
"I'm all right," said the husband, looking very sheepish, as Louise demurely gave him his wig; "but I think upon the whole these are very childish. Mon Dieu! it's half past five; dinner will be ready by the time we get round."
"Then I must have ours added to yours," said Jules, resigning himself to his fate with a good grace, satisfied at the present results of that day.
"Agreed," responded M. Ragotin, "and we will pledge the health of the husband who takes his wife out for a solitary day's pleasure a year after marriage."
"And who will do so ten years after marriage!" cried Jules, enthusiastically.
"Bravo! shouted the ladies in a hearty chorus. "Vive Monsieur Jules, the model husband! We hope to see all married men take example by him."
"Do you wish to turn into English at once," said M. Ragotin, who thought he said something very severe, "and have your husbands always after your heels? What will become of France; if we lose our character for gallantry?"
"My dear fellow," cried Jules, warmly, "I defy any man to spend with his sweetheart before marriage, with a strange and sudden passion of an hour, with another man's wife or friend, such a day as I have spent with my own wife. It has been joyous, happy, and delightful, with the consciousness that I was doing right, that I was being innocently happy, while a feeling of shame and guilt mostly poisons such days as those to which I have just alluded.
There was a moment's silence ere any replied. The young husband spoke with such earnestness, that none failed to feel for a moment the influence of his words; when Ragotin broke the silence, it was to change the topic, as being himself not at all a model husband, the subject was far from pleasant to him. Some jeur-innocents, games usually confined to children and very young persons,-were now proposed, such as colin-maillard, or blind man's buff, puss in the corner, &c. Jules joined heartily in this proposition, as did his wife, and the whole party acquiescing,
The dinner was lively and pleasant, M. Ragotin forgot his disaster, and became merry and joyous as usual. He was the first to propose the healths of Jules Richard and his pretty wife; spoke eloquently of the delights of matrimony, so much so, as to make his wife hold up her hands in comic amazement, and concluded his improvization,- -a very poor one, this not being the forte of our neighbours over the water, -by expressing a wish that they might often meet again on similar occasions. Jules responded with all the energy of sincerity, added to the exhilarating influence of champagne, and kissed his wife before the whole company, a proceeding which Louise resented most properly, returning the affront with interest. Loud was the laughter on that auspicious occasion. The genuine happiness of the young couple was infectious, and none feeling inclined to break up so pleasant a party, music was asked for, and a dance got up without further ceremony. The friends of M. Ragotin were numerous, and many of them young girls and young men, so the dancers were lively and willing. Jules at once determined to stay all night at St. Germain, and secured an apartment. He then joined in the fun with zest and animation.
It was late the next evening when they found themselves at home at dinner. Little was said during the repast, but when Marie and Madame Dubois had retired, they spoke.
"How I have to thank you, dearest," said Louise, "for a charming day yesterday!"