creatures tumbled over each other in their eagerness to get out of the enclosure, their cries sounded clearly in the keen morning air long after she gave up watching them. She went back and busied herself in the hut to keep away sad thoughts, until by-and-by Mère Biran flounced in.

'Morning,' said she. 'I tell you what, Mad'lon, I am not going to be made a galley-slave of any longer. Nature can't stand it, and I won't. I am going over to the plantation to see after the turpentine, and if you haven't got it in you to do the neighbour for that poor fellow, he must lie there and groan, I suppose. I've done my duty by him,

that's all.'

'Where's Henri?' faltered Madelon.

'He goes with me, Annette takes the little ones. My children are not to have everything put upon them, I promise you; and you with your hands as idle as a fine lady's. Oh! we all know who can talk over her husband! Good-day, Madame Gaucheran, and perhaps you will think a little about all the good things you preach and don't do while I am away!'

She was gone, and Madelon sat down in despair. What could she do! What would Pierre do to her! There are little three-cornered angles in each life, when, turn as we will, it seems as though we must flatten our faces against the wrong wall, and Madelon was in some such angle now. She jumped up and went to the door of the Birans' hut, listened, and came back. She determined that Pierre must be obeyed, that her first duty was to him, yet found herself putting some of the dried herbs, which Antoine had taught her to gather and use, into water in readiness for cooling lotions. For an hour all was quiet; then came a cry and quick following moans; and Madelon, forgetting all but the answering echo of her heart, ran lightly into the hut. Paul's wan face was turned towards the door, and his great black eyes lit up with satisfaction.

'I thought no one was here,' said he.

'What shall I do? Is the pain no better, Paul?'

'Oh, the mosquitoes! Give me that cup, and raise my foot-there, so you don't hurt me as she does. You will stay?". 'Yes,' said Madelon, in a low voice. 'Since one is here, one may as well stay,' thought she, turning herself into an imaginary Pierre, and excusing her own act.

Paul seemed content to know that she was present, and seldom spoke, so that at times she fancied him sleeping until she looked up and found those great weird eyes fixed upon her. Occasionally she went backwards and forwards to their own hut, with a little creeping dread, it must be confessed, of Pierre's return, as the afternoon wore on. But whether he found her with Paul or not, Madelon was too honest-hearted not to prepare to tell him all. Paul must have divined something of her uneasiness, for he said at length,

'Come in to me again, Mad'lon, for pity's sake! I know what keeps

you away, though Antoine and his wife abuse you for it: but I suffer so much, and Pierre need know nothing.'

'Pierre shall know all I do,' said she, rather proudly; 'besides, as to that, to-morrow we go.'


He turned his face away.


Presently he said, in a complaining

'I shall never walk as I did before, all owing to Biran's clumsy setting. And I have got to lie here in this miserable hut like a log.'

'That is not the worst,' Madelon said gravely.

'Ah, ah! you want me to say I am sorry for what I did-so I am; sorry that it was not him who fell-does that please you? Bah! I want no prating,' but as he spoke he avoided looking at her, perhaps dreading to meet the sweet womanly eyes full of pity—' talk to your own husband about that he is not much the better for what you say, is he? He would have me die here without a helping hand; oh, I know!'

"You wronged him first, you unhappy man! has all this pain brought you no better thoughts!'

'I tell you, your husband's are as bad, as to that. Why doesn't he come and kill me here? he would like to do it-he would-he would! He hates me as I hate him.'

He poured out the words with angry vehemence, raising his voice at each sentence, and keeping his eyes fixed on the door. Madelon turned round and saw Pierre standing there motionless. She was out of the hut in a moment, but he had already turned away; and though she clung to his arm he kept his head so that she could not see his face.

'Pierre, Pierre!' she entreated; 'You are not angry?'

No answer.

'I could not help it, indeed I could not; there was no one else to go near him, I was obliged.'

Still no response.

'O Pierre! speak to me.'


Then he turned quickly round, and caught her in his arms. still, but Madelon felt a great sob heave his chest, and happy loving tears sprang into her own eyes as she clung to him. The sadness, the disunion, were gone, they were one again, and no moment in her life had ever seemed so rapturous as this. The vast plain stretched around them, flooded with sun-light; the cool crisp breeze swept over the unbroken surface; filmy wind-clouds floated about the sky. Husband and wife clasped one another closely, as if some danger had divided them, while upon Pierre's face a new expression stole, a new light looked out of his eyes.

'Listen, Mad'lon,' he said at length, 'who knows whether all this may change? I'll go in at once and tell Paul that I mean to try to think no more of what he did: I can't answer for it, but I'll try. I came to the door in a right good rage, but when I saw his face looking like the devil

himself, and yours just the same, it seemed to me, as our Lady at BugloseI can't think how it was, but all of a sudden it came over me that your face must be the right one. But if you hadn't come out, or had been hard on me-tiens, Mad'lon, it might all have gone away.-Paul,' continued the young shepherd, marching into the hut, and going straight up to the bed-side, 'to-morrow we go, and you and I may as well say, Bon santé and Bon voyage to one another.'

'Bon voyage,' growled Paul, after a minute's consideration.

Very shame made him say it, though his tone could scarcely be less gracious. Pierre was too shy of the subject to enlarge upon it, and after a little awkward attempt at conversation, drew Madelon out to look at the old grey horse, which he had brought back for her to ride to Buglose the next day, and round about which the children were prancing with delight, as over a newly discovered treasure. The sun set, the evening crept on. Far away they heard the cry of the curlews, the bleating sheep drawing nearer and nearer; then Mère Biran and the men came home. Alone in their hut Pierre and Madelon put together their few possessions. Suddenly Mère Biran rushed in.

'Bear me witness, Mad'lon, I have said it, I have said always, "She is a good girl, it is only you men who misjudge her!" I kept the sentiment in my heart. And to think of that wretched intolerable Paul!'

'Who told you?' asked the girl anxiously.

Paul had told himself. Some answering spark of generosity had touched the selfish heart, and inspired the effort. He was not a bit more humble or penitent with Pierre when he bade him farewell the next morning; but when Madelon put her hand in his, two great tear-drops forced themselves under the lids and rolled down the sallow cheeks. Something he said which she could not catch, until she stooped closely down. It was, 'Pray for me!'


Their places were to be filled by another shepherd and his family. Baudoin and Gaucheran talked of a home in Buglose, but not until they were older men, for they complained that they should never be able to breathe there.

In the beautiful fresh morning, with delicate light grey mists rolling away over the great Landes' morasses, Madelon set off with Pierre towards her new home. As long as they could, the children scampered by the side of the horse, calling with all their might, 'Bon voyage, bon voyage, bon voyage!' Little Georges rode like a king before her. No thought of herself entered her head, but surely the words were resting upon her like a crown, 'Blessed are the peacemakers-they shall be called the children of God.'

F. M. P.







Peasant of the Alps,

Thy humble virtues, hospitable home,
And spirit patient, pious, proud, and free;
Thy self-respect, grafted on innocent thoughts;
Thy days of health, thy nights of sleep, thy toil

By danger dignified, yet guiltless; hopes
Of cheerful old age, and then a quiet grave
With cross and garland over its green turf,
And thy grandchildren's love for epitaph,
This do I see!

Byron, Manfred.

WHEN, after our forced détour, we next penetrated into Tirol, it was by way of Kufstein. Ruffled as we had been in the meantime by Bavarian Rohheit, we were glad to find ourselves again in the hands of the gentle Tirolese.

Kufstein, however, is not gentle in appearance: its vast fortress seems to shed a stifling gloom over the whole place; it looks so hard and selfish and tyrannical, that you long to get away from its influence. Noble hearts from honest Hungary have pined away within its cold strong grasp; and many a time, as my sketch-book has been turned over by Magyar friends, the page which depicted its outline-for it wears a grand and gallant form, such as the pencil cannot resist-has raised a deep sigh over the 'trauriges Andenken' it served to call up.

When Margaretha Maultasch ceded the country she found herself unable to govern to Austria at the earnest request of her people, in 1363, it was stipulated that Kufstein, Kitzbühl, and Rattenberg, which had been added to it by her marriage with Louis of Brandenburg, should revert to Bavaria. These three dependencies were recovered by the Emperor Maximilian in 1504, the two latter accepting his allegiance gladly, the former holding out stoutly against him. The story of the

reduction of this stronghold is almost a stain on his otherwise prudent and prosperous reign.

Pienzenau, its commander, who was in the Bavarian interest, had particularly excited his ire by setting his men to sweep away with brooms the traces of the small damage which had been effected by his cannon, placed at too great a distance to do more than graze the massive walls. Philip von Rechenau, Regent of Innsbruck, meantime cast two enormous field-pieces, which received the names of Weckauf and Purlepaus. These entirely turned the tide of affairs. Chronicles of the time do not mention their calibre, but declare that their missiles not only pierced the 'fourteenfeet-thick wall' through and through, but entered a foot and a half into the living rock.

Pienzenau's heart misgave him when he saw the work of these destructive engines, and hastened to send in his submission to the Emperor; but it was too late. 'So he is in a hurry to throw away his brooms at last, is he!' cried Maximilian. 'But he should have done it before. He has allowed the walls of this noble castle to be so disgracefully shattered, that he can make no amends but by giving up his own carcass to the same fate.'

No entreaty could move the Emperor from carrying out this chastisement, and some five-and-twenty of the principal men who had held out against him were condemned to be beheaded on the spot. When eleven had fallen before the headsman's sword, Erich, Duke of Brunswick, sickening at the scene of blood, pleaded so earnestly with the Emperor, that he obtained the pardon of the rest. The eleven were buried by the pious country-people in a common grave; and who will may yet tread the ground where their remains rest in a little chapel built over their grave at Ainliff, (dialectic for eleven,) on the other side of the river Inn.

Its situation near the frontier has made it the scene of other sieges, of which none is more endeared to Tiroleans than that of 1809, when the patriot Speck bacher distinguished himself by many a dauntless deed.

Kufstein has almost forgotten these stirring memories now. S. Louis's day fell while we were there-the name-day of the King of Bavaria; and being the border town, the polite Tiroleans make a complimentary fête of it. There was a grand musical Mass, which the officers from the Bavarian frontier attended, and a modest banquet was offered them after it. The peasants put on their holiday attire-passable enough as far as the men are concerned, but consisting mainly on the women's behalf in an ugly black cloth square-waisted dress, and a black felt broad-brimmed hat, with large gold tassels lying on the brim. After Mass the Bavarian national hymn was sung to the familiar strains of our own.

All seemed gay and glad without. I returned to the primitive rambling inn; everyone was gone to take his or her part in the Kufstein idea of a holiday. There were three entrances, and three staircases; I took a wrong one, and in trying to retrace my steps, passed a room

« VorigeDoorgaan »