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you have heard, no doubt, of the mis- | lines : “In consequence of the unforfortune that has befallen our family. tunate affair at Soccia, it is probable We hope that you will not add to our that the mayor of Guagno will send in annoyance by publishing the details of his resignation." That was all ! I took the affair.' We understand, of course, in the newspaper regularly for a week, what that means, and as we wish to for I was curious to see how the affair lead a quiet life, we generally take the would end ; but there was nothing hint!"
more ; apparently no inquiry, no proseA notable instance actually occurred cution of the offenders. during our stay in Corsica. The elec- Those amongst them who felt most lions for the Council-General were guilty would probably at once take to going on all over the island. The can- the macchi and thus help to swell the ton of Soccia comprises several vil already too numerous ranks of the lages, amongst others Guagno, noted banditti ; indeed, the profession is held for its famous mineral springs, and also in such high esteem, that many a man for the turbulence of its people. The will join those ranks for a cause far elections took place in each village, and short of murder. An instance occurred on the morrow the presidents of the the other day. A prisoner, handcuffed, several bureaux were to meet at Soccia, was being taken by rail to Ajaccio. In for the formal declaration of the poll. passing through one of the tunnels, he In consequence of certain disorders managed to escape out of the window that had already occurred, the mayor of unseen by the gendarmes who accomSoccia issued an edict to the effect that panied him. He had committed some none of the inhabitants of Guagno were trifling offence, for which he would get to enter the village that day. The in- but a month's imprisonment at most, habitants of Guagno chose to ignore but he preferred to take to the macchi this order, and sixty of them, all armed, rather than submit to even this trilling and all angry that their candidate hac penalty. been defeated, marched upon Soccia, Nor must it be supposed that the headed by their mayor. Two gen- bandit's life is altogether one of harddarmes (not armed) had been placed at ship. He must be always on the alert, the entrance of the village, and warned it is true, and at times, when the purthe advancing troop that they were to suit is hot, he must rough it in forest come no farther. The mayor of Guagno and cave, but for the most part he will cried, “ Fire !” There was a general be in shelter, an honored guest beneath volley from his followers, and the two the roof of some friend or relative who gendarmes fell dead. They both bore will not only give him warning at the excellent characters ; one of thein had approach of danger, but will often volbeen twenty-four years in the service, unteer to accompany him ; and so had been proposed for the military strong is the spirit of clan, that these medal, and leaves a wife and three “ protectors” will actually lay down children."
their lives for his sake. In 1887, Such was the first account in the bandit thus escorted was attacked by daily paper of Bastia. It occupied gendarmes. The bandit escaped, but about seven inches of one column. in the fierce conflict which ensued, his The next day the eilitor had had time four “protectors were slain. to reflect (or lie, too, may possibly have Nor is he cut off from the interests had a significant warning), for in an of life, or the society of his fellow-men, article three inches long, the account for his services are in constant requisiwas somewhat qualified, and there was tion. “He has a bandit in his service" this important emendation : “ It seems is, in fact, a familiar Corsican expreswe were not correct in stating that it sion. In other words, you feed, pay, was the mayor of Guagno who gave the and protect the bandit, and he puts order to fire upon the gendarmes.” his gun at your disposal. You have a The third day there were just two bad debt, he will collect it for you ; his
arguments are irresistible ! You are the rendezvous. The notice was pursued by a creditor, the bandit will short there was no time to send for make him give you time. If your land reinforcements; there were only six is devastated by shepherds, the bandit men available, and it was kuown that will drive them away; if you are a the bandit's party consisted of eight or shepherd, and a proprietor disputes ten. your right of pasturage, the bandit will Fortune, however, favored the right. make him hear reason. In short, the Vuzzoui and his men were at dinuer bandit is a sort of deus ex machinâ in the house of some peasant prostanding in the place of the law, which tector, and his dogs, usually so keen to is powerless, and of that justice which scent a gendarme, had apparently been is no justice at all.
dining too, for they failed to give the His love of power and intrigue will aların till the house was practically sursometimes lead him to interfere even rounded. Vuzzoni started up, crying, with the domestic concerns of his “We are trapped I” Firearms were neighbors. M. Levis relates this curi- spatched up, and the battle began ; ous story, which came under his official those without trying to break in, and notice. A ous bandit called Vuz- those within shooting through the wiuzoni, took a great fancy to a young dows at their assailauts, who gentleman of good family, but poor. partly sheltered by a projecting balcony “What you want, my friend,” said the which covered their operations. bandit to him one day," is a rich wife. " We must end this,” cried one of Now I have a young lady iu my eye, the gendarmes to his comrade ; “he an heiress, only sixteen. You shall shall not escape us this time! Do thou marry her."
The young gentleman stand here, I will attempt to scale the was surprised, but not altogether un- balcony, and while Vuzzoni is occupied willing “ How know you the lady with me, do thou take good aim, and would consent ?” he asked, "and let thy bullet be mortal !” The atwould her father agree to such a pro- tempt was made, and the brave fellow posal ?” “Why not?” said Vuzzoni received the bandit's charge in his coolly ; “ you have rank, she has wealth breast, but at the same moment bis
- what could be more suitable ? Only comrade fired, and Vuzzoni fell back leave it to me.” A few days later, he dead. The rest of the party surrencame back, saying, “Well, I have ar- dered when they saw their leader fall. ranged a shooting-party, where you can But when the captors entered the make the young lady's acquaintance. house they found there also the inPut on your best clothes, and make tended bridegroom, who looked exceedyourself smart, so as to appear to ad- ing foolish in the smart attire he had vantage in her eyes.” The party came put on to captivate the lady. off, the introduction was effected, and When interrogated before the magisthe marriage proposal was broached. trate as to what he was doing there, he
Neither the lady nor her father of-murmured something about sa shootfered any objection ; indeed, it might ing-parly.” “A shooting-party?" said have been scarcely safe so to do; but the magistrate.
66 What! in these maythe father mildly observed that he nificent clothes !” But the gentleman thought the young people ought to was too much ashamed of himself to have an opportunity of becoming better give any other explanation, so he was acquainted before the matter was finally sent to prison with the rest, and it was settled, and as this seemed reasonable only some months later that the truth enough, a second meeting was ar- of the matter leaked out. ranged. Then the father, driven to Two other good stories told by Presi. desperation, and having no other means dent Levis I am tempted to give before of evading the unwelcome proposal, concluding this article. Two brothers, went and gave secret information to Cucchi by name, villains of the deepest the police as to the place and lour of dye, found the neighborhood of Ajaccio
too hot to hold them, and resolved to went to put down banditism iu Corsica. take refuge in Sartene. They found a Large sums of secret service money small boat upon the beach, and desired were spent in rewards for the betrayal the owner to put out to sea. Impos- or capture of bandits, the laws against sible," said the man, “ the boat is too carrying arms without license were small for such a voyage, and would cer- strictly enforced, and at the elections tainly founder."
“Do as you are bid,' a time always fruitful of bloodshed said the Cucchi, covering him with it was intimated so clearly to the their guns. Under these circumstances authorities which candidate was to be the boatman had no alternative; so chosen, that there was very little
scope he got in, and they pushed out to sea. left for the rivalry of the clans to disBut the waves were high, and by a play itself. Towards the end of the little dexterous management, he con- reign of Napoleon III., Bourde
says trived to make his boat rock in such a there were but twenty bandits left in fashion that the bandits became vio- Corsica. There are now, under the lently sick. " You see I was right,"
,” rule of the Republic, nearly six hunle coolly remarked, when his passeu- dred. gers seemed sufficiently reduced, “you The 'traveller, indeed, need have will certainly be drowned if we go on little fear; the Corsican is not merthus. You had much better let me cenary, and he prides himself on his put you ashore, and go back for a hospitality. Many a little service we stronger and better boat.” “So be received, and, at first, endeavored to it !" gasped the bandits. “Oh, any- pay for, but the unwilling hand and thing is better than this !” They look of displeasure made it so plain were put on shore, aud in due time the that to offer money in Corsica was not boatman returned with a larger boat, considered “good form,” that we soon but at the bottom of it lay four gen- gave up the practice, while a few extra darmes disguised as sailors, and the words of gratitude would cause the brothers Cucchi were taken before they face of the recipient to light up with had time to discover the trick.
pleasure and an agreeable sense of The second story was of a notorious patronage. The bandit partakes in the bandit of the name of Bastanasi. He characteristics of his race, and is therewas a man of considerable .erudition, fore, as a rule, not dangerous save to had been educated at Pisa, kuew Latin, those with whom he is at war ; but and had belonged to the medical pro- though the stranger may practically fession. On one occasion he also was wander with impunity throughout the going to Sartene on, a vessel which length and breadth of the land, the nastopped at Ajaccio. Knowing that the tives enjoy no such security. The gendarmes were after him, he did not vendetta lives on from father to son, attempt to land, but as he had a fine and there is hardly a Corsican, however voice and could also play the guitar, to peaceably disposed, who is not conbeguile the time of waiting he got out. scious of having at least half-a-dozen his instrument and began to sing and enemies, hereditary if not personal, of play.
wliose malice he lives in constant fear, Å fisherman in the port recoguized and to whose vengeance he may any the voice, and likewise remembered day fall a victim. The law cannot prothe song. He went and informed the tect him, for the assassin is almost cerauthorities; and it was thus through tain of impunity ; he has but to become his love of music that Bastanasi was a bandit, and is thenceforward shelarrested. “I saw him land,” said M. tered and supported by the whole of Levis. "The handcuffs were on his his clan. wrists, and the guitar was sluog round And though the bandit of Corsica his neck."
has not, at present, the mercenary During the Third Empire, a great taint which is so inconveniently chareffort was made by the French govern-I acteristic of the brigand of other lands,
From Chambers' Journal.
it cannot be but that so large a body of by two feet broad, strengthened by men, carrying arms, ruling the elec- planks resting on piquets firmly fixed tions, terrorizing the natives, and living in the sand. Around a group of claires in útter defiance of the law, must runs what is called a blindage, a netting sooner or later prove a very serious of galvanized iron wire, as a protection danger to the State.
to the oyster against its numerous eneCAROLINE HOLLAND. mies, among which the crab is chief;
but whelks, starfishes, and boring sponges are dangerous. Many oysterrearers from reasons of economy form
a blindage of the branches of a tall and OYSTER-CULTURE IN FRANCE. strong heather which grows abundantly ARCACHON, in the department of in the neighboring forest. In addition the Gironde, is a favorite summer to the protection from the attacks of watering-place for the Bordelais, and a ravenous fishes afforded by these two winter health resort for the whole of systems, they also serve to retain the France. But apart altogether from its oysters within their limits, and prevent reputation as a health resort, it is fa- their being carried by seaweed or other mous for the supply of oysters which it cause from one man's park to that yields to France and to the world. The of his neighbor. Another plan often oyster industry of France is the largest adopted to ensure further protection to of its kind in Europe, and at Arcachon the precious mollusc consists in the it is carried on in the most scientific formation around the claires of a line and systematic manner. It was about of pignons or young pine-trees, stripped the middle of the present century that of their branches with the exception of the work of oyster-rearing was com- a plume at the top. The pignons are menced here, å work which to-day three yards in height, and at highgives employment to thousands of peo- water, with their waving plumes, act as ple, men and women, in the villages a sort of scarecrow, or under the cirwhich surround the Bassin. The Bas- cumstances, as a sort of scarecrab. sin of Arcachon, with a circumference The formation of the claires being of about sixty miles, from its physical completed, near them are deposited formation is peculiarly favorable to the several wooden frames, like cages, to rearing of the oyster, being a bay com- hold layers of tiles of a length of eighpletely protected from the storms of teen inches, the frames themselves the ocean by a natural breakwater of measuring two yards long by two feet sandhills, some of the highest dunes in broad and one yard in height. The the world. Were the entrance from tiles have convex and concave sides, the Bay of Biscay a deep and navigable and are at first whitened in a bath of channel instead of being, as it is, dotted chalk and water mixed with a little fine with shifting sandbanks, the Bassin sand; and after being well dried in the would form a perfect natural harbor. sun, they are laid in tlie frames, each At low water it will be found to be of which holds eight or ten rows. Here covered to a large extent by sandbanks, they become covered by young oysters separated by numerous and deep chan- to the number of two or three hundred nels; and it is on these sandbanks, per tile. This takes place during the called crassats, that the oyster parks months of May and June, for it is in are formed in a manner we shall eu- May that the spawn appear in the deavor to describe.
oyster as a liquid substance of milky The site of a park having been deter- appearance, and render it uneatable mined upon, it is divided into rectan- until the month of September. This gular portions which measure forty fact gives rise to the saying, that oysters yards by thirty, and which are called should be eaten only in those months claires. These are separated from each whose names contain the letter r. other by dykes of clay a foot in height The tiles are left thus to be washed by the tides until October, when they ("Madame la Parqueuse," dressed as are removed for the delicate process of she is in her red flannel knickerbockers detroquuge, a process consisting in re- and long boots, sometimes with legs moving each oyster from the tile in bare, and feet in large wooden sandals such a manner as to leave a thin and for more convenient walking on the small fragment of chalk adhering to sand. The men are, as a rule, dressed each shell. It is performed by young in suits of blue cotton, with scarlet women, who use a knife specially man- sash, and head covered with the popular ufactured for the purpose, and re- blue béret. The plage, too, is covered quires the greatest care in execution, with the various implements of the in order that the young and fragile fishery. Piles of tiles are everywhere oyster may not be destroyed. Those to be seen; ambulances, broken and surviving this operation are next passed waiting repair ; groups of miscellanethrough two riddles, the meshes of ous articles, as baskets, rakes, spades, which vary in diameter, and being thus wheelbarrows, and wire ; bundles of assorted according to size, are placed pignons and stacks of heather, ready in cases called ambulances, frames of for transportation to the park itself. wood two yards by one, covered with a But it is necessary to take a boat and netting of tarred wire, to permit the engage a man as guide, in order to see free circulation of the water. These many of the most interesting scenes ambulances are firmly fixed in the sand connected with the industry, among at the park by means of well-driven them being the gathering of the edible piquets, and are the invention of a oyster, which is judged eatable by its local culturist. In the ambulance, an size, nothing under an inch and a half oyster will rapidly increase in size, and in diameter being allowed to be sold. attain in a few months a diameter of This larvest takes place every day exone or two inches. At low-water the cept during that period from May to ambulances with their contents receive September when the fish are uneatable a good watering at the hands of the for the reasons already mentioned. A parqueurs, and this in addition to the practice fatal to oyster-culture, and one covering by the tides twice daily in which almost always results in the dethe natural course. After a sojourn in struction of beds by over-fishing, and the ambulance for some months, until the removal of the breeding oystersufficiently strong for the purpose, the namely, the use of the dredge in fishing oysters are scattered abroad like seed is here unknown; and that its use in the open claire, where they assume a at Arcachon is unnecessary is one chief flat form, and lie for several months cause of the success with which the until the harvest.
culture is carried on, and the dimenIn order to watch the progress of sions to which the industry has grown. wuch of the work before described, it Low tide is of course the time for fishis by no means necessary to cross the ing, for then the sea recedes from the channel to the oyster parks lying in claires, leaving only sufficient water to the centre of the Bassin. The plage cover the oysters. The method of proor beach at Arcachon, La Teste, and cedure is for a number of men and the numerous villages on the bay, is at women to form a line at one end of a all times dotted with the parqueurs, claire, and work slowly to the other, busy in the various departments of each carrying a rake, which reveals their profession. Here is a group of the sand-covered oyster, and a wire men and women sorting the edible basket to hold the proceeds of the fishoysters just brought ashore into various ery. On the completion of one claire, sizes and prices; there, another group another is commenced. At the end of at work, cleaning and scraping or whit- a day's work, when the incoming tide ening the tiles, or detaching therefrom will permit its continuance no lovger, the young shellfish, each operation in the results are carried ashore, and either its own season. There is no mistaking deposited in the floating warehouses