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treuse for madame, for the doctor de
spised and distrusted such decoctions; THE ADOPTION.
and then Aline left the wedded pair to MADAME DESPREZ, who answered to the pleasures of memory and digestion. the Christian name of Anastasie, pre- “It is a very fortunate circumstance, sented an agreeable type of her sex; ex. my cherished one,” observed the doctor ceedingly wholesome to look upon, a stout Có this coffee is adorable - a very forbrune, with cool, smooth cheeks, steady, tunate circumstance upon the whole — dark eyes, and hands that neither art nor Anastasie, I beseech you, go without that nature could improve. She was the sort poison for to-day; only one day, and you of person over whom adversity passes will feel the benefit, I pledge my reputalike a summer cloud; she might, in the tion." worst of conjunctures, knit her brows 6. What is this fortunate circumstance, into one vertical furrow for a moment, but my friend ?"inquired Anastasie, not heedthe next it would be gone. She had ing his protest, which was of daily recurmuch of the placidity of a contented nun; rence, with little of her piety, however; for “ That we have no children, my beauti. Anastasie was of a very mundane nature, ful,” replied the doctor. “I think of it fond of oysters and old wine, and some more and more as the years go on, and what bold pleasantries, and devoted to with more and more gratitude towards the her husband for her own sake rather than Power that dispenses such afflictions. for his. She was imperturbably good. Your health, my darling, my studious natured, but had no idea of self-sacrifice. quiet, our little kitchen delicacies, how To live in that pleasant old house, with a they would all have suffered, how they green garden behind and bright flowers would all have been sacrificed! And for about the window, to eat and drink of the what? Children are the last word of hu. best, to gossip with a neighbor for a quar. man imperfection. Health flees before ter of an hour, never to wear stays or a their face. They cry, my dear; they put dress except when she went to Fontaine- vexatious questions; they demand to be bleau shopping, to be kept in a continual fed, to be washed, to be educated, to have supply of racy novels, and to be married their poses blown; and then, when the to Doctor Desprez and have no ground time comes, they break our hearts, as I of jealousy, filled the cup of her nature break this piece of sugar. A pair of proto ihe brim. Those who had known the fessed egoists, like you and me, should doctor in bachelor days, when he had avoid offspring, like an infidelity.” aired quite as many theories, but of a “Indeed!” said she; and she laughed. different order, attributed his present "Now, that is like you — to take credit philosophy to the study of Anastasie. It for the thing you could not help.” was her brute enjoyment that he rational- "My dear," returned the doctor sol. ized and perhaps vainly imitated.
emnly, "we might have adopted.” Madame Desprez was an artist in the “Never!” cried madame.
“ Never, kitchen, and made coffee to a nicety. She doctor, with my consent. If the child had a knack of tidiness, with which she were my own flesh and blood, I would not had infected the doctor: everything was say no. But to take another person's in its place; everything capable of polish indiscretion on my shoulders — my dear shone gloriously; and dust was a thing friend, I have too much sense.” banished from her empire. Aline, their Precisely,” replied the doctor.
6. We single servant, had no other business in both had. And I am all the better pleased the world but to scour and burnish. So with our wisdom, because because Doctor Desprez lived in his house like a he looked at her sharply. fatted calf, warmed and cosseted to his “ Because what?" she asked, with a heart's content.
faint premonition of danger. The midday meal was excellent. There " Because I have found the right perwas a ripe melon, a fish from the river in son," said the doctor firmly, “and shall a memorable Béarnaise sauce, a fat fowl adopt him this afternoon." in a fricassee, and dish of asparagus, fol- Anastasie looked at him out of a mist. lowed by some fruit. The doctor drank " You have lost your reason,” she said ; half a bottle plus one glass, the wife half and there was a clang in her voice that a bottle minus the same quantity, which seemed to threaten trouble. was a marital privilege, of an excellent "Not so, my dear," he replied; “ I reCôte Rotie, seven years old. Then the tain its complete exercise. To the proof : coffee was brought, and a fask of Char- instead of attempting to cloak my incon.
sistency, I have, by way of preparing you, pier. But will this? Are you sure, my
if he desire to change, I shall see I was “ His mind !” she repeated with a titter mistaken; I shall recognize him for no between scorn and hysterics. “His mind, son of mine, and send him tramping." indeed! Henri, is this an idiotic pleas. “ You will never do so when the time antry, or are you mad ? His mind! And comes,” said his wife; “I know your what of my mind?"
good heart.” “Truly," replied the doctor with a shrug, She reached out her hand to him, with you have your finger on the hitch. He a sigh; the doctor smiled as he took it will be strikingly antipathetic to my ever and carried it to bis lips; he had gained beautiful Anastasie. She will never un his point with greater ease than he had derstand him; he will never understand dared to hope ; for perhaps the twentieth her. You married the animal side of my time, he had proved the efficacy of his nature, dear; and it is on the spiritual trusty argument, his Excalibur, the hint of side that I find my affinity for Jean-Marie. a return to Paris. Six months in the capSo much so, that, to be perfectly frank, 1 ital, for a man of the doctor's antecedents stand in some awe of him myself. You and relations, implied no less a calamity will easily perceive that I am announcing than total ruin. Anastasie had saved the a calamity for you. Do not,” he broke remainder of his fortune by keeping him out in tones of real solicitude, “do not strictly in the country. The very name of give way to tears after a meal, Anastasie. Paris put her in a blue fear; and she You will certainly give yourself a false would have allowed her husband to keep digestion."
a menagerie in the back garden, let alone Anastasie controlled herself. “You adopting a stable-boy, rather than perknow how willing I am to humor you,” | mit the question of return to be dis. she said, “in all reasonable matters. cussed. But on this point
About four of the afternoon, the moun“My dear love,” interrupted the doc. tebank rendered up his ghost; he had tor, eager to prevent a refusal, “who never been conscious since his seizure. wished to leave Paris ? Who made me Doctor Desprez was present at his last give up cards, and the opera, and the passage, and declared the farce over. boulevard, and my social relations, and Then he took Jean-Marie by the shoulder all that was my life before I knew you? and led him out into the inn garden Have I been faithful? Have I been obe- where there was a convenient bench be. dient? Have I not borne my doom with side the river. Here he sat him down and cheerfulness? In all honesty, Anastasie, made the boy place himself on his left. have I not a right to a stipulation on my " Jean-Marie," he said very gravely, side? I have, and you know it. I stipu- "this world is exceedingly vast; and even late my son.”
France, which is only a small corner of it, Anastasie was aware of defeat; she is a great place for a little lad like you. struck her colors instantly. “You will | Unfortunately it is full of eager, shoulderbreak my heart," she sighed.
ing people moving on; and there are very “Not in the least,” said he. “ You will few bakers' shops for so many eaters. feel a trifling inconvenience for a month, Your master is dead; you are not fit to just as I did when I was first brought to gain a living by yourself ; you do not wish this vile hamlet; then your admirable to steal? No. Your situation then is sense and temper will prevail, and I see undesirable, it is, for the moment, criti. you already as content as ever, and mak. cal. On the other hand, you behold in ing your husband the happiest of men.” me a man not old, though elderly; still
• You know I can refuse you nothing,” enjoying the youth of the heart and the she said, with a last ficker of resistance; intelligence; a man of instruction ; easily “nothing that will make you truly hap- situated in this world's affairs; keeping a
good table: a man, neither as friend nor “He is very pretty,” said Anastasie. host, to be despised. I offer myself to “Will you kiss ine, my pretty little fel. you as both. I offer you your food and low ?” clothes, and to teach you lessons in the The doctor was furious and dragged evening, which will be infinitely more to her into the passage. “Are you a fool, the purpose for a lad of your stamp than Anastasie?” he said; “ what is all tbis Í those of all the priests in Europe. I pro hear about the tact of women? Heaven pose no wages, but if ever you take a knows, I have not met with it in my expeibought to leave me, the door shall be rience. You address my little pbilosopher open, and I will give you a hundred francs as if he were an infant. He must be to start the world upon. In return, I spoken to with more respect, I tell you; have an old horse and chaise, which you he must not be kissed and Georgy-porgy'd would very speedily learn to clean and like an ordinary child.” keep in order Do not hurry yourself to “I only did it to please you, I am sure," answer, and take it or leave it as you replied Anastasie ; " but í will try to do judge aright. Only remember this, that better.". I am no sentimentalist or charitable per. The doctor apologized for bis warmth. son, but a man who lives rigorously to “But I do wish him,” he continued, “to himself; and that if I make the proposal, feel at home among us.
And really your it is for my own ends — it is because I conduct was so idiotic, my cherished one, perceive clearly an advantage to myself. and so utterly and distantly out of place, And now, reflect.”
that a saint might have been pardoned a “ I shall be very glad. I do not see little vehemence in disapproval. Do, do what else I can do. I thank you, sir, try- if it is possible for a woman to unmost kindly, and I will try to be useful,” derstand young people – but of course it said the boy.
is not, and I waste my breath. Hold " Thank you," said the doctor warmly, your tongue as much as possible at least, rising at the same time and wiping his and observe my conduct narrowly; it will brow, for he had suffered agonies while serve you for a model.” the thing hung in the wind. A refusal, Anastasie did as she was bidden, and after the scene at noon, would have considered the doctor's behavior. She placed him in a ridiculous light before observed that he embraced the boy three Anastasie. “How hot and heavy is the times in the course of the evening, and evening, to be sure! I have always had a managed generally to confound and abash fancy to be a fish in summer, Jean-Marie, the little fellow out of speech and appetite. here in the Loing beside Gretz. I should But she had the true womanly heroism io lie under a water-lily and listen to the little affairs. Not only did she refrain bells, which must sound most delicately from the cheap revenge of exposing the down below. That would be a life – do doctor's errors to himself, but she did her you not think so, too ? "
best to remove their ill effect on JeanYes,” said Jean-Marie.
Marie. When Desprez went out for his “ Thank God, you have imagination!” last breath of air before retiring for the cried the doctor, embracicg the boy with night, she came over to the boy's side and his usual effusive warmth, though it was took his hand. a proceeding that seemed to disconcert “ You must not be surprised nor fright. the sufferer almost as much as if he had ened by my husband's manners,” she said. been an English schoolboy of the same “ He is the kindest of men, but so clever age.
“And now," he added, " I will take that he is sometimes difficult to underyou to my wife.”
stand. You will soon grow used to him, Madame Desprez sat in the dining- and then you will love him, for that no room in a cool wrapper. All the blinds body can help. As for me, you may be were down, and the tile floor had been re- sure, I shall try to make you happy, and cently sprinkled with water; her eyes were will not bother you at all. I think we half shut, but she affected to be reading a should be excellent friends, you and I. I novel as they entered. Though she was am not clever, but I am very good-natured. a bustling woman, sh enjoyed repose Will you give me a kiss ?” between whiles and had a remarkable ap- He held up his face, and she took him petite for sleep.
in her arms and then began to cry. The The doctor went through a solemn form woman had spoken in complaisance; but of introduction, adding, for the benefit of she had warmed to her own eloquence, both parties, “ You must try to like each and tenderness followed. The doctor, other for my sake.”
entering, found them enlaced; be con
cluded that his wife was in fault; and he ten with quaintness and color, exact, was just beginning, in an awful voice, erudite, a literary article ; but it would “Anastasie,” when she looked up at him, hardly have afforded guidance to a pracsmiling, with an upraised finger; and he tising physician of to-day. The feminine held his peace, wondering, while she led good sense of his wife had led her to the boy to his attic.
point this out with uncompromising sin: When the doctor and his wife were in cerity; for the dictionary was duly read bed, she put her arms about him very aloud to her betwixt sleep and waking, as caressingls. Henri,” she said, “my it proceeded towards an infinitely distant husband, i love your son; I shall love completion; and the doctor was a little him more every day; you have done wisely sore on the subject of mummies, and and kindly in bringing him, for he will be sometimes resented an allusion with as. a great happiness to me; and to love the perity. same person will help us to love each other After the midday meal and a proper the more dearly."
period of digestion, he walked, sometimes The doctor was so tenderly affected at alone, sometimes accompanied by Jeanthese words that he lost countenance; a Marie ; for madame would have preferred pricking in his eyes admonished him that any hardship rather than walk. weakness was prevailing in the citadel of She was, as I have said, a very busy man; nor did he contend with nature; and person, continually occupied about matethis ingenuous couple mingled their tears rial comforts, and ready to drop asleep and kissed each other with the utmost over a novel the instant she was disen. affection.
gaged. This was the less objectionable, as she never snored or grew distempered in complexion when she slept. On the
contrary, she looked the very picture of THE EDUCATION OF A PHILOSOPHER.
luxurious and appetizing ease, and woke The installation of the adopted stable. without a start to the perfect possession boy was thus happily effected, and the of her faculties. I am afraid she was wheels of life continued to run smoothly greatly an animal, but she was a very nice. in the doctor's house.. Jean-Marie did animal to have about. In this way she his horse and carriage duty in the morn. had little to do with Jean-Marie : but the ing; sometimes helped in the housework; sympathy which had been established be. sometimes walked abroad with the doctor, tween them on the first night remained to drink wisdom from the fountain-head; unbroken; they held occasional conversaand was introduced at night to the sci- tions, mostly on household matters; to ences and the dead tongues. He retained the extreme disappointment of the doctor, his singular placidity of mind and man- they occasionally sallied off together to ner; he was rarely in fault; but he made that temple of debasing superstition, the only a very partial progress in his studies, village church; madame and he, both in and remained much of a stranger in the their Sunday's best, drove twice a month family.
to Fontainebleau and returned laden with The doctor was a pattern of regularity. purchases; and, in short, although the All forenoon, he worked on his great doctor still continued to regard them as book, the "Comparative Pharmacopeia, irreconcilably antipathetic, their relation or Historical Dictionary of all Medicines,” was as intimate, friendly, and confidential which as yet consisted principally of slips as their natures suffered. of paper and pins. When finished, it was I fear, however, that in her heart of to fill many personable volumes, and to hearts, madame kindly despised and pitcombine antiquarian interest with profesied the boy. She had no admiration for sional utility. But the doctor was studio his class of virtues ; she liked a smart, ous of literary graces and the picturesque; polite, forward, roguish sort of boy, cap an anecdote, a touch of manners, a moral in hand, light of foot, meeting the eye; qualification, or a sounding epithet was she liked volubility, charm, a little vice sure to be preferred before a piece of the promise of a second Doctor Desprez. science; a little more, and he would have And it was her indefeasible belief that written the “Comparative Pharmaco- Jean-Marie was dull. “ Poor dear boy," peia” in verse! The article" Mummia” she had said once, " how sad it is that he for instance, was already complete, though should be so stupid !” She had never the remainder of the work had not pro- repeated that remark, for the doctor had gressed beyond the letter A. It was raged like a wild bull, denouncing the exceedingly copious and entertaining, writ. I brutal bluntness of her mind, bemoaning
his own fate to be so unequally mated medicines, are resumed in one phrase with an ass, and, what touched Anastasie to avoid excess. Blessed nature, healthy, more dearly, menacing the table china by temperate nature, abhors and exterminates the fury of his gesticulations. But she excess. Human law, in this matter, imi. adhered silently to ber opinion; and when tates at a great distance her provisions; Jean-Marie was sitting, stolid, blank, but and we must strive to supplement the not unhappy, over his unfinished tasks, efforts of the law. Yes, boy, we must be she would snatch her opportunity in the a law to ourselves and for our neighbors doctor's absence, go over to him, put her lex arinata — armed, emphatic, tyranarms about his neck, lay her cheek to his, nous law. If you see a crapulous human and communicate her sympathy with his ruin snuffing, dash from him his box! distress. “Do not mind," she would say; | The judge, though in a way an admission
I, too, am not at all clever, and I can of disease, is less offensive to me than assure you that it makes no difference in either the doctor or the priest. Above all life.”
the doctor — the doctor and the purulent The doctor's view was naturally differ- trash and garbage of his pharmacopeia ! ent. That gentleman never wearied of Pure air — from the neighborhood of a the sound of his own voice, which was, to pinetum for the sake of the turpentine say the truth, agreeable enough to hear. unadulterated wine, and the reflections of He now had a listener, who was not so an unsophisticated spirit in the presence cynically indifferent as Anastasie, and of the works of nature - these, my boy, who sometimes put him on his mettle by are the best medical appliances and the the most relevant objections. Besides, best religious comforts. Devote yourself was he not educating the boy? And edu- to these. Hark! there are the bells of cation, philosophers are agreed, is the Bourron (the wind is in the north, it will most philosophical of duties. What can be fair). How clear and airy is the sound ! be more heavenly to poor mankind than The nerves are harmonized and quieted; to have one's hobby grow into a duty to the mind attuned to silence; and observe the State ? Then, indeed, do the ways of how easily and regularly beats the heart! life become ways of pleasantness. Never Your unenlightened doctor would had the doctor seen reason to be more nothing in these sensations; and yet you content with his endowments. Philoso yourself perceive they are a part of health. phy flowed smoothly from his lips. He Did you remember your quinine this was so agile a dialectician that he could morning? Good. Quinine also is a work trace his nonsense, when challenged, back of nature; it is, after all, only the bark of to some root in sense, and prove it to be a tree which we might gather for ourselves a sort of flower upon his system. He if we lived in the locality. What a world slipped out of antinomics like a fish, and is this ! Though a professed atheist, I left his disciple marvelling at the rabbi's delight to bear my testimony to the world. depth.
Look at the gratuitous remedies and pleasMoreover, deep down in his heart the ures that surround our path! The river doctor was disappointed with the ill-suc- runs by the garden end, our bath, our cess of his more formal education. A fishpond, our natural system of drainage. boy, chosen by so acute an observer for There a well in the court which sends his aptitude, and guided along the path of up sparkling water from the earth's very learning by so philosophic an instructor, heart, clean, cool, and, with a little wine, was bound, by the nature of the universe, most wholesome. The district is gototo make a more obvious and lasting ad- rious for its salubrity; rheumatism is the
Now Jean-Marie was slow in all only prevalent complaint, and I myself things, impenetrable in others; and his have never had a touch of it. I tell you power of forgetting was fully on a level - and my opinion is based upon the cold. with his power to learn. Therefore the est, clearest processes of reason — if I, if doctor cherished his peripatetic lectures, you, desired to leave this home of pleas. to which the boy attended, which he gen. ure, it would be the duty, it would be the erally appeared to enjoy, and by which he privilege, of our best friend to prevent us often profited.
with a pistol bullet.” Many and many were the talks they One beautiful June day they sat upon had together; and health and moderation the hill outside the village. The river, as proved the subject of the doctor's divaga. blue as heaven, shone here and there tions. To these he lovingly returned. among the foliage. The indefatigable
“I lead you," he would say, "by the birds turned and fickered about Gretz green pastures. My system, my beliefs, my church tower. A healthy wind blew from