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is a deserter and a thief !” Had a thunderbolt fallen at his feet, Jerome could not have been more horrified: he dashed the plate he held upon the ground, and rushed to the door: but it was too late: he was seized, and carried off to prison. It happened that one of his escort was the gendarme upon whose horse he had escaped from the robbery at Châlons. He was soon convicted, and sentenced to the galleys; but in less than a week after his arrival at Toulon, he was called upon to pay a heavier penalty; A galley slave came up to him one day in the harbour and stared at him for a moment; then exclaiming, "Wretch! I have long waited for my revenge. To you I owe all my misfortunes. It was you who tempted me to commit my first crime-to rob the players of Châlons. My last crime is that of murder;" and so saying, he gave Jerome one desperate blow, that laid him dead at his feet. Thus was terminated this wicked young man's career, after passing through every gradation of crime. The vengeance of the laws and of Heaven is sometimes long delayed, but sooner or later, retribution is certain: the guilty never remain unpunished.
Let us now return to a more pleasing subject. When the brothers parted, Louis chose the road to Lyons, and walked on, full of misgivings for Jerome's future fate. He began then to reflect upon his own prospects; he thought that the situation most easy to obtain was that of a servant in some house; but he preferred a country life, in which he hoped to turn his good education to a better account. Whilst considering thus, night came on, and he found it necessary to seek a lodging till the morning. Fortune directed him to a cottage inhabited by an old gardener, who was employed on the grounds of a neighbouring chateau, and from whom our young hero received a hearty welcome. The evening was destined not to pass over without an adventure. The old man became suddenly ill
, and having fallen to the floor in a species of swoon, Louis, with the greatest kindness, attended to him, and did not leave him till he had recovered. This was a melancholy duty, but it met with its proper
reward. The aged gardener, grateful for the attentions shown him, recommended Louis to a neighbouring farmer as worthy of confidence.
On presenting himself to the farmer, Louis found that the only situation vacant was that of herdsman: this was not exactly to his taste; but recollecting that there is a beginning to everything, and that he might rise to something higher, he gladly accepted the employment; and being forthwith installed, we behold him early on the following day driving his flocks to the fields. After a little time, he greatly felt the want of books, and in order to be able to procure them, saved his wages, and tried various ingenious devices to add to his little store. His attention to the cattle intrusted to his charge was unremitting, and he was careful to keep everything belonging to them in the highest state of order and neatness. His character was thus soon so well established, that he might easily have obtained higher wages elsewhere; but he remembered the old proverb, “ A rolling stone gathers no moss;" and besides, he was too grateful to the master who had first given him an asylum to desire to leave him. As soon as he could, he wrote to his father and the curate, detailing all his hopes and plans, whereupon this kind instructor immediately sent him a few books upon agriculture which he happened to have; a present that quite overjoyed poor Louis, who applied himself to their study with the utmost ardour. Some time had thus elapsed, when the following conversation occurred.
“My dear Louis,” said Farmer Berthand," I am much pleased with you; my cattle have much improved whilst in your charge. I know that many advantageous offers have been made to you, which you have declined. You have done well; but you must not be a loser: I will make up the difference to you."
“ I am most grateful for your kindness, Monsieur Berthand," replied Louis; " but I have another plan to propose.”
What is that, my friend ?” "Have you confidence in me?" “ The greatest.”
Well, I could greatly increase the revenue of your farm, if you will make me superintendent for one year. I ask for no wages;
feed me only; and if I succeed, you can then do as you like."
5 How could you imagine such an idea, boy? You are much too young." " Then you have not confidence in me?" 4 Oh yes; but to give you
management of everything!” “ You will watch over me.” " Such a thing was never heard of. Well, after all, I will try it-I will grant your request."
“I promise you that in a year hence your neighbours will envy you."
Well, I depend upon you. You see what confidence I repose in your knowledge and merit."
The joy of Louis cannot be described. In the space of two years his good conduct had thus raised him to the rank of superintendent, and enabled him to put in practice those improvements in agriculture which he had learned from his books. Henceforth no part of the ground was left untilled; all was industriously turned to account; the best manures sought out, and the whole carefully cultivated. He also formed artificial meadows, which were hitherto unknown in the country.
Farmer Berthand, having always pursued the old routine, could not witness these innovations without anxiety; still, his opinion of the talents of the young agriculturist was so high, that he allowed him to take his own course, notwithstanding his fears and the raillery of his neighbours. But at the end of the
year, the triumph of the new system was complete; the revenue of the farm had increased by a third or fourth, and the surrounding farmers looked on with admiration not unmixed with envy.
“You may easily enjoy the same advantages,” said Louis to them: “you possess a rich soil, which will yield all you need, if you will only manage it with judgment. The industry of her husbandmen constitutes one of the greatest sources of the wealth of France; and if her people were wise, they would give more attention to agriculture. It would advance them far on the road to power and riches. Attend to the advice of enlightened men, and do not sacrifice your fortune to old prejudices and ancient routine."
Farmer Berthand knew not how to testify his gratitude to Louis. At the close of the year's trial he gave him a handsome salary, the greater part of which Louis, like a good son, transmitted to his father, to whom he wrote regularly, as well as to the curate, from whom he had received the good education whence arose all his prosperity, the only drawback to which was, his uncertainty with respect to his brother's fate, of whom he had heard nothing since their separation.
The farmer's substance continued gradually to increase ; but who was to inherit it? His only child was about the age of Louis, a pretty and amiable girl, but without education, and she, with her father's permission, gladly availed herself of the young man's assistance in her studies. Thrown so much into each other's society, the young people soon formed an attachment, which neither of them, however, ventured to avow; nevertheless it was quite apparent to the clear-sighted farmer, who thus addressed Louis one day, after he had been more than five years in the management of the farm: “ Louis, you have rendered me such services, that I have known no way of acknowledging them save by treating you as a son.
Will you now, in reality, become one to me? My daughter and you love each other, and I willingly give her to you.”.
At these words the rapture of Louis was extreme, and he almost smothered honest Berthand with his embraces. Annette not only consented to the arrangement, but seemed not to think it at all necessary to conceal the pleasure it afforded her.
Old Marcel was sent for to the wedding, and the worthy curate could not be left behind. This completed the joy of the good son, who, now that he had once obtained possession of his father, refused to allow him to depart, and was warmly seconded in his intreaties by Berthand. “ We are both old men, Father Marcel," said the latter; " let us live together and enjoy the happiness of our children; they will remind us of our young days. Besides, Marcel, it is not at my house that
you will reside; we must both live with your son, for everything here belongs to the young people. I have given all up to them;
I can tell you I leave it in good hands. Your Louis is a famous fellow for activity and merit;" and how could Marcel resist an invitation urged with so much warmth and delicacy?
But in this world perfect bliss is not to be found; and the report of the tragical death of Jerome had spread far and wide, and at last reached the ears of his family, clouding their enjoyments with grief and shame : but we will not dwell on those days of mourning.
Louis, having now become sole master, made many new experiments, the greater number of which proved successful. He visited Lyons occasionally, and there formed acquaintance with many enlightened men, whose conversation and advice were of great benefit to him; and by unceasing study and exertions, he gained the reputation of being a first-rate agriculturist. As Louis rose in the world, he never forgot his former condition in life, and never failed to show the utmost respect to both Berthand and his father. Even when distinguished guests were entertained at his table, the most honourable places were always reserved for the two old men.
Having been chosen to fill the office of mayor to the commune, Louis showed that his integrity and judgment as a magistrate were quite on a par with his skill in other pursuits. At last Louis obtained the highest honour which a citizen can arrive at: his merit having well deserved the confidence of the inhabitants of the department in which he resided, they elected him to be their representative in the Chamber of Deputies, where he has set a noble example of disinterested and devoted patriotism.
His children, carefully brought up in the same honourable principles which have guided him through life, inspire their parents with the highest hopes for the future.
How truly precious is a good education! How inexcusable is the neglect of it, when every facility now exists for its acquirement! Teach children early to have the fear of God before their eyes, to respect the laws, and to love their fellow-creatures. With such guides, they seldom wander; without them, they are sure to go astray.
Nor many years ago there lived in a little wooden house on the banks of the Seine at Paris a poor man named Victor Dacheux. This individual had placed himself in this hampered and unpleasant abode, with the sole view of rescuing persons from drowning. In England, no poor man would think of devoting himself to such an occupation; but in France, there are instances of this species of practical benevolence extremely agreeable to
reflect upon. Victor was not employed by any one. He volun
up his residence in his booth, and his only chance of gaining a subsistence consisted in the petty rewards which might be given by persons rescued by his intrepidity,
This worthy man had been thus engaged for a number of years : misfortunes of different kinds had overtaken him, not the least troublesome of which was an infirmity from rheuma
but he was still cheerful, and kept a constant outlook on the river. One day, while sitting at the door of his hut, he perceived the body of a man drifting slowly down the Seine. În two minutes he had doffed his clothes, and was in the middle of the stream, grasping the object he vainly hoped to save: but, alas! the decomposition of the body proved it to have been long the prey of the waters--a late rise of the river having disengaged it from some obstacle which prevented its earlier appearance on the surface. All that Dacheux could do was to note down any discernible particulars respecting the evidently aged sufferer ; but on removing his decaying garments, no clue to his name or residence could be found, nothing but an old leathern pocket-book, containing twenty-four bank bills for one thousand francs each. These Dacheux dried with the utmost care, and replaced them in the pocket-book, in a secret drawer of his little desk, unknown even to his wife and children, so much did he fear lest their extreme destitution should tempt them to infringe on the sacredness of the deposit. He had, besides, little doubt that the advertisements he intended to insert in the public papers would quickly bring forward the owners or heirs of so considerable a sum, which he promised himself no small pleasure in handing over to them.
He lost no time in conveying the dead body to the Morguea place for the reception of bodies found in the river--and here it remained exposed during the whole time prescribed by the law; but no one came forward to ecognise or claim it. He continued to intimate in the papers, for months together, that such a person, whom he described, had been found by him (apparently carried off by apoplexy, and fallen by accident into the river) between the Pont des Arts and the Port Royal; and that his valuable effects remained with the finder, only awaiting any owner who could prove his title to their possession. Nay, he went so far as to declare, that though no scrap, of writing affording a clue had been discovered on the deceased, there were sufficient effects in his hands, and particularly in his memory, lead to an identification.
There was enough here to move both cupidity and curiosity, and bring forward swarms of pseudo-relatives; who found their match, however, in the wary as well as faithful trustee. Many bona fide mourners for missing individuals came also with better founded hopes and proofs of identity; but none would tally with the no less eager hopes and wishes of good Dacheux. He was