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THE ADVENTURES OF MONSIEUR BONNARD.
THE YULE LOG.
assistance the porter's wife, the floor polisher, the 10th October, 1859.
woman who cards the mattresses, and the greenI AWAITED M. Polizzi's reply with an im
grocer's seven sons; they will all kneel down in patience which I strove unsuccessfully to restrain.
a circle at my feet; they will weep, and they will I could not keep in one place; I made abrupt move
look so hideous that I shall yield in order to get ments; I opened and shut my books noisily. One
them out of my sight.” day I happened to knock down a volume of
Such were the terrible pictures, the diseased
visions with which fear filled my imagivation. Moréri with my elbow. Hamilcar, who was washing himself, stopped short, and, with his
Yes, fear, prolific fear, as the poet says, brought
forth these monsters in my brain. For, I will paw behind his ear, gazed at me in indignant
confess the truth in these friendly pages: I am surprise. This tumultuous life, then, was what he
afraid of my housekeeper. I know that she must expect under my roof! Had we not tacitly agreed to lead a peaceable existence together? I
knows that I am weak, and that deprives me of had broken our compact.
all courage in my struggles with her. These "My poor companion," I answered, "I am the
struggles are of frequent occurrence, and I invictim of a violent passion, which excites and over
variably succumb. masters me. The passions are enemies to repose,
But of course it was necessary to inform
Thérèse of my intended journey. She came into I admit; but without them there would be neither arts nor sciences in this world. Every one would
the library with an armful of wood to make a fire,
“ a bit of a blaze," she said, “ for the mornings dose through their days, and thou wouldst not be able to sleep all day long, Hamilcar, on a
I observed her stealthily, whilst she was silken cushion, in the city of books.” I did not further expound the theory of the
squatted down with her head under the draughtpassions to Hamilcar, for my housekeeper
board of the fire-place. I don't know where my brought me a letter. It bore the Naples post
courage came from then, but I did not hesitate. mark, and ran thus:
I rose, and walking up and down the room:
“ By-the-bye,” said I, in an easy tone, with the “ Most ILLUSTRIOUS SIR, It is true that I possess
swaggering air peculiar to cowards, "by-the-bye, the incomparable manuscript of the Légende dorée which I am going to start for Sicily." has not escaped your learned attention. Reasons of the Having spoken, I waited, feeling very anxious. first importance make it absolutely impossible for me to Thérèse did not answer. Her head and her huge let it leave my hands for a single day, for a single minute. I shall consider it a joy and an honour to let you see it at
cap remained buried in the fire-place, and nothing Girgenti in my humble abode, which will be embellished
in her person, as far as I could see, betrayed the and illumined by your presence. In the hope of your slightest emotion. She stuffed paper under the speedy coming, therefore, I venture to call myself, logs and blew the fire. That was all. honoured Academician, your humble and devoted servant,
At last I saw her face again; it was calm, so “ MICHAEL ANGELO POLIZZI,
calm that it irritated me. Really, thought I, this “Wine merchant and archæologist at Girgenti in Sicily.” old maid has no feeling. She lets me set out on
a journey without even saying, “oh !” Is it such Very well. Then I shall go to Sicily:
a small matter for her, then, that her old master is “Extremum hunc, Arethusa, mihi concede laborem.” to be away?
Go, sir,” she said to me at last, “but be back 25th October, 1859.
by six o'clock. We have a dish for dinner to-day Having made up my mind to go, and com which will not keep." pleted my arrangements, nothing remained but to tell my housekeeper. I confess that I hesitated
NAPLES, 10th November, 1859. long before announcing my project to her. I “Co tra calle vive, magne e lave a faccia.” feared her remonstrances, mockery, reproaches, I understand, my friend; for three centimes, I and tears.
can eat, drink, and wash my face, all by the help of “She is a good woman,” I said to myself ; a slice of these water melons which you display on " she is attached to me; she will wish to prevent a little table. But western prejudices prevent me me from going; and, God knows, when she wants from taking advantage of this simple luxury. And anything, words, gestures, and cries cost her how am I to suck water melons? I have enough to little. On this occasion, she will call to her do to keep myself on my feet in this crowd.
What a bright and stirring night it is in the Strada all their senses at once ; and wise without being di Porto. Fruits are piled mountains high in the aware of it, proportion their desires to the shortshops, which are lighted with lamps of different ness of life. I approached a public-house which colours. On the cooking stoves in the open air had a great many customers, and read over the water steams in the caldrons, and dripping frizzles door these four lines in the patois of Naples : in the frying pans. The smell of fried fish and hot
“Amice, alliegre magnamnise bevimmo viands tickles my nose and makes me sneeze. Under N'un che n'ce stace noglio a la lucerna : these circumstances I discover that my handker Chi sa s'a l'autro munno nc'e vedimmo ?
Chi sa s'a l'autro munno n'ce taverna ? chief has left the pocket of my coat. I am pushed, lifted off my feet, twisted about in all directions “Friends, let us eat and drink joyously by the gayest, most talkative, most active people
As long as there is oil in the lamp:
Who knows if in the other world we shall meet imaginable; and at this very instant a young gossip Who knows if in the other world there is a whose magnificent black hair I am admiring
tavern?” sends me, with a
gave touch of her elas
similar advice to tic and powerful
his friends. You shoulder, three
accepted it, Postpaces backwards
humus; you heard into the arms of a
Leuconoë, man who is eating
beautiful rebel macaroni,and who
who wished to receives me with
know the secrets a smile.
of the future. I am in Naples.
That future is How I arrived
now the past, and there with some
we know it. Of shapeless and
a truth you were mutilated remains
very wrong to of my luggage I
torment yourself cannot tell, for
about so small a the good reason
matter, and your that I do not
friend showed know myself. I
himself a sensible travelled in a
man when he state of perpetual
advised you to be scare, and I can
wise and filter well believe that
your Greek wines. in the afternoon I
Sapias, vina ligues. looked like an
A beautiful land owl in the sun
and a clear sky shinein this bright
advise us thus to town. Now, at
enjoy tranquil night, my case is
pleasures. But much worse.
there Wishing to ob
tormented by a serve the ways of
divine discontent, the people, I found
and they my way to the
the noblest. You Strada di Porto,
were one of these, where I am at present. Near me, animated groups Leuconoë; and, having come in my declining are crowding round the eating stalls, and I drift like years to the town where your beauty shone, I a wreck at the mercy of these living billows, greet with respect your melancholy shade. Souls which caress even while they overwhelm one. like yours which appeared in Christian times were For this Neapolitan people have in their vivacity souls of saints, and their miracles filled the Golden something indescribably gentle and pleasing ; I am Legendary. Your friend Horace has left behind not roughly hustled, I am rocked as in a cradle ; a less noble posterity, and I see one of his descenand I think that, by dint of swaying me backwards dants in the person of the poet-publican, who at and forwards, these people will soon set me to present is pouring out wine into cups under his sleep standing on my feet.
epicurean sign-board. As I tread the lava pavement of the Strada, I And yet life proves friend Flaccus to be in the admire these porters and fishermen who walk, right, and his is the only philosophy which accommospeak, sing, smoke, gesticulate, quarrel and em dates itself to the course of events. Look at that brace with astonishing rapidity. They live with jolly fellow, leaning against a vine-covered trellis,
- Cóa Tui
and eating an ice as he looks at the stars. He soil had not the young woman put out her arm to would not stoop to pick up this old manuscript, to support me. seek for which I am going through so much hard There is in events-eren in the most trifling ship. And, in truth, man is made rather for eating events—a power which it is impossible to resist. ices than for examining old texts.
I resigned myse’f to the position of the unknown I continued to wander round among the lady's protegé. drinkers and singers. There were lovers who, * It is late," she said to me; “ do you not with their arms round each other's waists, were wish to get back to your hôtel, which must be biting beautiful fruits. Man must be by nature close to ours, if it is not the same ? ” unamiable, for all this unfamiliar joy made me pro “ Madame," answered I, “I do not know what foundly sad. This crowd displayed such an time it is, because my watch has been stolen, but innocent enjoyment of life that all the natural I think with you that it is time to beat a retreat reserve of the old scribe was shocked by it. and I shall be happy to go back to the Hôtel de Then I was in despair at not understanding the Gênes in the company of courteous compatriots. words which resounded in the air.
It was a
Saying this I bowed again to the young lady humiliating experience for a philologist. I was, and saluted her companion, who was a colossus, therefore, feeling very low-spirited, when some silent, gentle, and sad. words pronounced behind me made me prick up When I had gone a little way with them, I my ears.
learned, amongst other things, that they were “ That old man is a Frenchman, I am sure, Prince and Princess Trépof, and that they were Dimitri. His puzzled look vexes me. Will you going the round of the world in search of match let me speak to him ?
Ile has a nice boxes, of which they were making a collection. round back; don't you think so, Dimitri?”
We went along a narrow and lortuous vicoletto This was said in French by a woman's voice. which was only lighted by a lamp burning before It was a little disagreeable to me, just at first, to a Madonna in a niche. The transparent pureness hear myself spoken of as an old man.
of the air gave a celestial lightness even to the old at seventy-two? The other day, on the shade, and it was easy to guide one's self under Pont des Arts, my colleague, Perrot d’Arrignac, favour of this limpid night. But we entered a complimented me on my youthful appearance, and lane, or, to put it in Neapolitan language, a sottohe knows more about ages, I should think, than portico, leading under
numerous arches and this young lady who chatters about my back. My balconies which jutted out so far that light of back is round, she says. Well, well, I had a heaven reached it. My young guide ad made suspicion of that kind; but I don't believe it in
us go this way for a short cut, she said, but also, the least, now that it is the opinion of a little I think, to show that she had the foot of a fool. I shall certainly not turn my head to see Neapolitan and knew the town. In fact it required who spoke, but I am sure that she is a pretty a knowledge of the town to venture by night into woman. Why? Because she speaks like a this labyrinth of subterranean roads and staircapricious person, and like a spoilt child. Ugly
If ever a man allowed himself to be women would be just as capricious as pretty ones; guided with docility, I did. Dante did not follow but, as they are not spoilt, as there are no excuses the steps of Beatrice with more confidence than made for them, they must either get rid of their I followed those of Princess Trépof. caprices or hide them. The pretty ones, on the That lady found some pleasure in my conother hand, are as fanciful as they please. My versation, for she offered me a seat in her carriage neighbour is one of the latter.
All the same,
on the following day to visit the grotto of when I come to think of it, she did express, on the Pausilippo, and Virgil's tomb. She declared that whole, a benevolent thought in regard to me, and she had seen me somewhere, but she did not it merits my gratitude.
know whether it was in Stockholm or in Canton. All these reflections passed through my mind If in the former, I was a very distinguished in less than a second, and, if I have taken a whole professor of geology; if in the latter, I was a minute to tell them, it is because I am a bad narrator provision merchant, whose politeness and oblig-a characteristic common to all philologists. The ingness they had valued highly. What was cervoice had not been silent for more than a second, tain was, that she had seen my back somewhere. when, turning, I saw a pretty little woman, dark, “Excuse me,” she added, “we travel conand very lively.
tinually, my husband and I, to collect match-boxes, “Madame," said I, “ pardon my involuntary and vary our dulness by change of scene. It indiscretion. I unintentionally heard what you would be better, perhaps, to be dull in only one said just now. You expressed a wish to be of fashion. But we have got used to travelling; it service to a poor old man.
You have had your
comes naturally, and there would be quite à wish, madame--the mere sound of a French voice commotion if we had to settle somewhere." I tell has given me a pleasure for which I thank you.” you this so that you may not be surprised that
I bowed again, and was about to move on. there is some confusion of ideas in my head. But But my foot slipped on a piece of melon rind, and the moment I caught sight of you this evening, 1 I should certainly have embraced the parthenopian felt-I knew, that it was not for the first time.
Where had I seen you before? That is the question. Louis the Fourteenth. I understand them, and You are quite sure that you are neither the I love them. It is only a little corner, madame, geologist nor the provision merchant?”
but you will admit that there is none "No, madame," I replied. “I am neither the glorious.” one nor the other, and I regret it, as you have had Just then we were in an open space, a largo reason to think highly of them. I have nothing which was bathed in the soft rays of night. to recommend me to your attention. I have Madame Trépof looked at me uneasily, and raised spent my life over books, and have never her eyebrows till they almost touched her black travelled; you saw the result in the perplexity and curled hair. which made you pity me. I am a member of the “ Where do you live? ” she said, brusquely. Institute.”
“On the Quai Malaquais, madame, and I am “You are a member of the Institute ! Oh, called Bonnard. My name is little known, but it is that is delightful. You must write something in enough for me that my friends do not forget it.” myalbum. Do you
This revelation, know Chinese? I
unimportant as it should like very
seemed, produced much if you would
an extraordinary write something
effect on Madame Chinese or Persian
Trépof. She in my album. I
turned her back shall introduce
to me and seized you to my friend,
her husband's Miss Ferguson, who is travelling
“Come, Dimifor the purpose of
tri,” she said, seeing all the
" make haste. I celebrities in the
am horribly tired, world. She will
and you will not be enchanted.
We shall Dimitri, do you
never get there. hear? this gentle
As for you, sir, man is a member
that is your way." of the Institute,
With a vague and has spent his
gesture she life over books."
pointed towards The prince sig
some dark vicolo, nified approval by
pushed her husinclining his head.
band in the oppo"Sir,” said I to
site direction, and him, trying to
called draw him into
without turning the conversation,
her head : “much is doubt
“Good-bye, sir; less to be learned
we shall not go from books, but
to Pausilippo tomuch more is
morrow, nor the learnt in travel
day after, either. ling, and I regret
I have a most that I have not,
frightful headlike you, been all over the world. For thirty ache. Dimitri, you are unbearable ; you will not years I have lived in the same house, and I rarely go on.” go out of it."
I stood amazed, trying to think and unable to “Lived in the same house for thirty years !” discover what could have turned Madame Trépof exclaimed Madame Trépof, " is it possible?” against me. I was lost, and to all appearance
“Yes, madame," said Í. “ It is true that the condemned to spend the night in trying to find house is situated on the banks of the Seine, in the my way. As for making inquiries, I should have most famous and beautiful place in the world. I had to meet a human face in order to do that, and see from my window the Tuileries, the Louvre, I despaired of seeing one here. In my despair I the Pont-Neuf, the towers of Notre-Dame, the took the first turning I came to, and found myself turrets of the Palais de Justice, and the spire of in a street, or rather a horrible cut-throat alley. It the Sainte-Chapelle. All these stones speak to had quite the appearance of one, and it was one, for me; they tell me stories of the times of Saint I had only been in it for a few minutes when I saw Louis, of the Valois, of Henry the Fourth, and two men fighting with knives. They attacked
John Swoin Eng