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who are obliged to refuse to the fruit of their own womb the milk of their breasts, in order to sell it to the children of rich strangers. The female of the cuckoo is the incomplete woman who despises the joys of maternity, and accepts love only under the aspect of worldly position.

The genius of maternal love which reveals to the female of the bird her eminent faculties as a workwoman and artist, endows her at the same time with courage to defend her young family, and with foresight to shelter it against the storms which threaten its safety.

Wisdom and love can not easily be allied with more firmness than is shown by the female bird.

Do not suppose that as soon as there is promise of marriage between two turtle-doves or sparrows, the lover is forthwith invested with all the rights of the husband. A word in the air, and a cavatina more or less well trilled, is not enough to triumph over her resistance. She does not understand trifling about such matters, and will only yield to the amorous entreaties of her betrothed after she has given the last stroke of her bill to her nest. Knowing that love will bring the family after it, she has the force to control her senses, and to retard her defeat until the day when the possession of a domicil shall have completely reassured her as to the consequences of her weakness, and the future of her young.

Every one understands the irony of the allusion, and knows the class of lovers to whom the bird here gives a lesson. I will not be so cruel as to turn the steel in the wound, and to send the epigram to its address. It is very easy, in fact, to impose constraint when it is known that the pleasure is only a little delayed, when for securities of our approaching happiness we have fortune, the spring-time, abundance of insects, and a house of one's own; and the birds who possess all this and the rest, speak of it quite at their ease. But I would like to know how they would listen to the voice of wisdom and of foresight, were they in our place, poor proletaries for whom love is the only consolation of this world, and the only luxurious fancy which does not transcend our

means.

- From Toussenel, by M. E. L.

A DRAMA ON THE SEA-SHORE.

[From the Philosophical Studies of Honoré de Balzac.]

THE young have a compass with which they like to measure the future. When their will accords with the boldness of the angle which they open, the world is theirs. But this phenomenon of intuition occurs only at a certain age. From the twenty-second to the twenty-eighth year of man's life is the age of great thoughts, the age of first conceptions; because it is the age of immense desires, the age when we doubt of nothing: doubt is but another name for impotence. After this age, transient as the season of seed-sowing, comes that of execution. There are, in a manner, two youths the youth during which we believe, and the youth during which we act. These often coincide in men favored by Nature, who are, like Cæsar, Newton and Bonaparte, greatest among the great.

I was measuring the time required by a thought for its development, my compass in my hand, standing upon a rock, a hundred yards above the ocean whose waves broke upon its ledges, and I threaded the maze of my future, enriching it with works, like an engineer who on vacant ground traces fortresses and palaces. The sea was splendid. I had just taken a fine swim, and awaited Pauline, my guardian angel, who was bathing in a granite alcove floored with fine sand-the most coquettish dressing-room that ever Nature fashioned for her fairies of the surf.

We were at the end of the Croisic, a delicate peninsula of Bretagne. We were far from the port, in a place left unguarded by the revenue cutters, because it is regarded as too inaccessible even for smugglers. To float in the air, after having swum in the sea! Ah! who would not have launched into the future! Why was I thinking? Why does sorrow come? Who knows? Ideas fall on your heart, or on your head, without consulting you. Never was coquette more fantastic or imperious, than is conception for artists; we must seize it like fortune, by its full-flowing locks, when it comes. Astride upon my thought like Astolfo on his hippogriff, I was galloping then through the world and disposing of all at my will. As I sought around me some presage for those audacious constructions which my mad imagination counseled me to undertake, a pretty cry, the note of a woman who calls you in the silence of the desert, the voice of a woman issuing from the

bath, reänimated, joyous, rose above the murmur of that fluctuating fringe which the billows ever wove upon the sallies of the beach.

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This note, breaking fresh from the soul on my ear, seemed to show me in the rocks the foot of an angel, who, opening his wings, had exclaimed, "Thou wilt succeed." I descended radiant, light. I bounded like a pebble in glancing down the slope. When she saw me, she asked, What is in you?" I made no answer, but my eyes were moist. Last night Pauline had understood my griefs, as now she understood my joy, with the magical sensibility of a harp which obeys the variations of the atmosphere. Human life has brilliant moments! In silence we moved along the beach. The sky was cloudless, and the sea as fair. Others might have seen but two blue plains one above the other; but we who heard each other's voices without having spoken; we who, between these two shores of the infinite, launched those illusions in which youth disports we clasped each other's hands at the least changes presented, either by the sheet of water or the sheets of air, taking these light phenomena for the material translations of our twofold thought. Who has not tasted in pleasures that moment of unlimited joy, when the soul seems to be freed from the bonds of flesh, and to find itself again as if restored to the world whence it came? Not pleasure alone is our guide into these regions. Are there not hours in which our sentiments intertwine themselves and bound away there like two children who take each other by the hand and begin to run without knowing why? Thus we went on.

As the roofs of the town appeared, a greyish line on the horizon, we met a poor fisherman returning to Croisic. His feet were bare, his linen breeches tattered in the legs, in holes and badly patched; then he had a shirt of sail-cloth, shreds of listing for suspenders, and a rag for a vest. This misery hurt us, its dissonance breaking upon our harmonies. We looked at each other plaintively for not having at that moment the power to draw from the treasures of Aboul Casem. We observed a superb lobster and a sea-spider hung by a cord, which the fisherman swung in his right hand, while with the other he held his baits and fishing tackle. We accosted him with the intention of purchasing his shell-fish—an idea which struck us both at once, and was expressed by a smile, to which I answered by a light pressure on the arm that I held, and which I drew nearer my heart. It is of these nothings that memory afterwards makes poems; when near the fire we recall the

hour this nothing moved us, the place where it happened, and that mirage whose properties have not yet been explained by physicians, but which so often plays over the objects that surround us at moments when life is light, and when our hearts are full. Sites the most lovely are but what we make them.

What man, ever so little a poet, finds not in his souvenirs some mass of rock that holds a place more cherished there than the most celebrated landscape, sought at great expense.

Near this rock, tumultuous thoughts; there, a whole life employed. There fears were dissipated, and rays of hope descended into the soul. At this moment, the Sun, sympathizing with these thoughts of love, or of the future, has cast on the tawny sides of this rock, an ardent light; some mountain flowers called attention, the calm and the silence enlarged this anfractuosity, sombre in reality, colored by the dreamer; then it was beautiful with its scant vegetation, its warm chamomillas, its hair of Venus with the velvet leaves; a festival prolonged, magnificent decorations, happy exaltation of human forces! Once already the Lake of Brienne, seen from the isle of Saint Peter, had thus spoken to me; the rock of Croisic will perhaps be the last of these joys! But then what will become of Pauline?

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'You have had good luck this morning, my brave fellow?" said I, to the fisherman.

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'Yes, sir,” replied he, as he stood and turned upon us a face sunburned by habitual exposure to the reverberation of light from the water. This countenance expressed habitual resignation, the patience and gentleness of the true fisherman, his voice had no coarseness, his lips were well turned; no ambition in the face, but its whole expression enlisted compassion without forfeiting respect. "Where are you going to sell that?"

"In town."

"How much will they give you for the lobster?

"Fifteen cents."

"For the sea-spider?"

Twenty cents."

'Why such a difference between the lobster and the spider?" • "The spider is much more delicate! besides, it is as cunning as a monkey, and does not often get caught."

"Will you give us all for a dollar?" said Pauline. The man looked petrified.

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"You shall not have it!" said I, laughing. "I will give two dollars. We ought to pay a fair price for our emotions."

"Well," replied she, "I will have it; I give two dollars, two cents."

"Ten cents."

"Two, fifty."
"Three dollars."

66 Three, ten."

"Twenty dollars."

"Thirty."

I bowed; we were not at this moment rich enough to bid higher. Our poor fisherman knew not whether he ought to be vexed at a mystification, or to rejoice. We drew him out of his trouble by giving him the name of our hostess, and recommending him to carry her the lobster and the spider.

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Do you earn your living?" I asked, wishing to know the cause of his destitution.

·

"With trouble and misery enough," said he. "This fishing on the sea shore, without either boat or net, is an uncertain trade. We must await the fish or shell-fish there, while the big fishermen go after them in the open sea: It is such a hard life, that I am the only man who fishes on this shore. I pass whole days without getting anything, unless some sea-spider oversleeps itself, like this one, or some lobster be careless enough to remain on the rocks. Sometimes after heavy gales the seas strand large fish, and I grab them."

Well, on the whole, taking luck as it comes, how much do you make by your day's work?"

"From a dime to a shilling. I could get along so if I were alone, but I have my father to feed, and the good man can not help me he is blind.”

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At these words, simply uttered, Pauline and I looked at each other without speaking.

"You have a wife or a sweetheart?"

He raised his eyes on us with one of the most deploring expressions I have ever seen, answering, “If I had a wife, I should have to forsake my father; I could not feed him and a wife and children besides."

"Well! my poor boy, why do you not try to earn more by carrying salt at the port, or in working at the salt-marshes?"

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