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To begin, I am a Frenchman, a teacher of languages and a poor man ;-necessarily a poor man, as the great world would say, or I should not be a teacher of languages and my wife a copyist of great pictures, selling her copies at small prices. In our own eyes, it is true, we are not so poor-my Clélie and I. Looking back upon our past we congratulate ourselves upon our prosperous condition. There was a time when we were poorer than we are now, and were not together, and were, moreover, in London instead of in Paris. These were indeed calamities to be poor, to teach, to live apart, not even knowing each other-and in England! In England we spent years; we instructed imbeciles of all grades; we

were chilled by east winds, and tortured by influenza; we vainly strove to conciliate the appalling English; we were discouraged and desolate. But this, thank le bon Dieu! is past. We are united; we have our little apartment-upon the fifth floor, it is true, but still not hopelessly far from the Champs Élysées. Clélie paints her little pictures, or copies those of some greater artist, and finds sale for them. She is not a great artist herself, and is charmingly conscious of the fact.

"At fifteen," she says, "I regretted that I was not a genius; at five and twenty, I rejoice that I made the discovery so early, and so gave myself time to become grateful for the small gifts bestowed upon me. Why

should I eat out my heart with envy? Is it not possible that I might be a less clever woman than I am, and a less lucky one?" On my part I have my pupils,-French pupils who take lessons in English, German, or Italian; English or American pupils who generally learn French, and, upon the whole, I do not suffer from lack of patrons.

It is my habit when Clélie is at work upon a copy in one of the great galleries to accompany her to the scene of her labor in the morning and call for her at noon, and, in accordance with this habit, I made my way to the Louvre at midday upon one occasion three years ago.

I found my wife busy at her easel in the Grande Galerie, and when I approached her and laid my hand upon her shoulder, as was my wont, she looked up with a smile and spoke to me in a cautious undertone.

"I am glad," she said, "that you are not ten minutes later. Look at those extraordinary people."

She still leaned back in her chair and looked up at me, but made, at the same time, one of those indescribable movements of the head which a clever woman can render so significant.

This slight gesture directed me at once to the extraordinary people to whom she referred.

"Are they not truly wonderful?" she asked.

There were two of them, evidently father and daughter, and they sat side by side upon a seat placed in an archway, and regarded hopelessly one of the finest works in the gallery. The father was a person undersized and elderly. His face was tanned and seamed, as if with years of rough out-door labor; the effect produced upon him by his clothes was plainly one of actual suffering, both physical and mental. His stiff hands refused to meet the efforts of his gloves to fit them; his body shrank from his garments; if he had not been pathetic, he would have been ridiculous. But he was pathetic. It was evident that he was not so attired of his own free will, that only a patient nature, inured by long custom to discomfort, sustained him, that he was in the gallery under protest, that he did not understand the paintings, and that they perplexedoverwhelmed him.

The daughter it is almost impossible to describe, and yet I must attempt to describe her. She had a slender and pretty figure; there were slight marks of the sun on her face also, and, as in her father's case, the

VOL. XIV.-6.

| richness of her dress was set at defiance by a strong element of incongruousness. She had black hair and gray eyes, and she sat with folded hands staring at the picture before her in dumb uninterestedness.

Clélie had taken up her brush again, and was touching up her work here and there.

"They have been here two hours," she said. "They are waiting for some one. At first they tried to look about them as others did. They wandered from seat to seat, and sat down, and looked as you see them doing


What do you think of them? To what nation should you ascribe them?" "They are not French," I answered. "And they are not English."

"If she was English," said Clélie, "the girl would be more conscious of herself, and of what we might possibly be saying. She is only conscious that she is out of place and miserable. She does not care for us at all. I have never seen Americans like them before, but I am convinced that they are Americans."

She laid aside her working materials and proceeded to draw on her gloves.

"We will go and look at that 'Tentation de St. Antoine' of Teniers," she said, "and we may hear them speak. I confess I am devoured by an anxiety to hear them speak."

Accordingly, a few moments later an amiable young couple stood before "La Tentation," regarding it with absorbed and critical glances.

But the father and daughter did not seem to see us. They looked disconsolately about them, or at the picture before which they sat. Finally, however, we were rewarded by hearing them speak to each other. The father addressed the young lady slowly and deliberately, and with an accent which, but for my long residence in England and familiarity with some forms of its patois, I should find it impossible to transcribe.

"Esmeraldy," he said, "your ma's a long time a-comin'.”

"Yes," answered the girl, with the same accent, and in a voice wholly listless and melancholy, "she's a long time."

Clélie favored me with one of her rapid side glances. The study of character is her grand passion, and her special weakness is a fancy for the singular and incongruous. I have seen her stand in silence, and regard with positive interest one of her former patronesses who was overwhelming her with contumelious violence, seeming entirely unconscious of all else but that the woman was

of a species novel to her, and therefore worthy | little harangue when we reached our destiof delicate observation. nation; but, as we passed through the entrance, she paused to speak to the curlyheaded child of the concierge whose mother held him by the hand.

"We shall have new arrivals to-morrow," said the good woman, who was always ready for friendly gossip. "The apartment upon the first floor," and she nodded to me significantly, and with good-natured encouragement. Perhaps you may get pupils," she added. "They are Americans, and speak only English, and there is a young lady, Madame says.'



"Americans!" exclaimed Clélie, with sudden interest.


"It is as I said," she whispered. "They are Americans, but of an order entirely new."

Almost the next instant she touched my


"Here is the mother!" she exclaimed. "She is coming this way. See!"

A woman advanced rapidly toward our part of the gallery,—a small, angry woman, with an ungraceful figure, and a keen brown eye. She began to speak aloud while still several feet distant from the waiting couple.

"Come along," she said. "I've found a place at last, though I've been all the morning at it, and the woman who keeps the door speaks English."

"They call 'em," remarked the husband, meekly rising, "con-ser-ges. I wonder why." The girl rose also, still with her hopeless, abstracted air, and followed the mother, who led the way to the door. Seeing her move forward, my wife uttered an admiring exclamation.

"She is more beautiful than I thought," she said. "She holds herself marvelously. She moves with the freedom of some fine wild creature."

And, as the party disappeared from view, her regret at losing them drew from her a sigh. She discussed them with characteristic enthusiasm all the way home. She even concocted a very probable little romance. One would always imagine so many things concerning Americans. They were so extraordinary a people; they acquired wealth by such peculiar means; their country was so immense; their resources were so remarkable. These persons, for instance, were plainly persons of wealth, and as plainly had risen from the people. The mother was not quite so wholly untaught as the other two, but she was more objectionable.

"One can bear with the large simplicity of utter ignorance," said my fair philosopher. "One frequently finds it gentle and unworldly, but the other is odious because it is always aggressive and narrow."

She had taken a strong feminine dislike to Madame la Mère.

"She makes her family miserable," she said. "She drags them from place to place. Possibly there is a lover,-more possibly than not. The girl's eyes wore a peculiar look, as if they searched for something far away."

She had scarcely concluded her charming


Americans," answered the concierge. "It was Madame who came. Mon Dieu! it was wonderful! So rich and so-so filling up the blank by a shrug of deep meaning.

"It cannot have been long since they were-peasants," her voice dropping into a cautious whisper.


Why not our friends of the Louvre ?". said Clélie as we went on upstairs. "Why not?" I replied. possible."

"It is very

The next day there arrived at the house numberless trunks of large dimensions, superintended by the small angry woman and a maid. An hour later came a carriage, from whose door emerged the young lady and her father. Both looked pale and fagged; both were led upstairs in the midst of voluble comments and commands by the mother; and both, entering the apartment, seemed swallowed up by it, as we saw and heard nothing further of them. Clélie was indignant.

"It is plain that the mother overwhelms them," she said. "A girl of that age should speak and be interested in any novelty. This one would be if she were not wretched. And the poor little husband

"My dear," I remarked, "you are a feminine Bayard. You engage yourself with such ardor in everybody's wrongs."

When I returned from my afternoon's work a few days later, I found Clélie again excited. She had been summoned to the first floor by Madame.

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"I went into the room," said Clélie, "and found the mother and daughter together. Mademoiselle, who stood by the fire, had evidently been weeping. Madame was in an abrupt and angry mood. She wasted no words. I want you to give her lessons,' she said, making an ungraceful



gesture in the direction of her daughter.
'What do you charge a lesson ?' And on my
telling her, she engaged me at once.
a great deal, but I guess I can pay as well
as other people,' she remarked."


A few of the lessons were given down-
stairs, and then Clélie preferred a request to
If you
will permit Mademoiselle to come
to my room, you will confer a favor upon
me," she said.

pencil, at this part of the relation.
did not want to leave home, neither me nor
father, and father said more than I ever
heard him say before at one time. 'Mother,'
says he, let me an' Esmeraldy stay at
home, an' you go an' enjoy your tower.
You've had more schoolin', an' you'll be
more at home than we should. You're
useder to city ways, havin' lived in 'Liza-
bethville.' But it only vexed her. People
in town had been talking to her about trav-
eling and letting me learn things, and she'd
set her mind on it."


Fortunately, her request was granted, and so I used afterward to come home and find Mademoiselle Esmeralda in our little salon at work disconsolately and tremulously. She found it difficult to hold her pencil in the correct manner, and one morning she let it drop, and burst into tears.

"Don't you see I shall never do it!" she answered, miserably. "Don't you see I couldn't, even if my heart was in it, and it aint at all!"

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This was the first of many outbursts of confidence. Afterward she related to Clélie, with the greatest naïveté, the whole history of the family affairs.

They had been the possessors of some barren mountain lands in North Carolina, and her description of their former life was wonderful indeed to the ears of the Parisian. She herself had been brought up with marvelous simplicity and hardihood, barely learning to read and write, and in absolute ignorance of society. A year ago iron had been discovered upon their property, and the result had been wealth and misery for father and daughter. The mother, who had some vague fancies of the attractions of the great outside world, was ambitious and restless. Monsieur, who was a mild and accommodating person, could only give way before her stronger will.

"She always had her way with us," said Mademoiselle Esmeralda, scratching nervously upon the paper before her with her

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She was wholly absorbed in her study of this unworldly and untaught nature. She was full of sympathy for its trials and tenderness, and for its pain. Even the girl's peculiarities of speech were full of interest to her. She made serious and intelligent efforts to understand them, as if she studied a new language.

"It is not common argot," she said. "It has its subtleties. One continually finds. somewhere an original idea-sometimes even a bonmot, which startles one by its pointedness. As you say, however, it belongs only to the Americans and their remarkable country. A French mind can only arrive at its climaxes through a grave and occasionally tedious research, which would weary most persons, but which, however, does not weary me."

The confidence of Mademoiselle Esme

ralda was easily won. She became attached to us both, and particularly to Clélie. When her mother was absent or occupied, she stole upstairs to our apartment and spent with us the moments of leisure chance afforded her. She liked our rooms, she told my wife, because they were small, and our society because we were "clever," which we discovered afterward meant "amiable." But she was always pale and out of spirits. She would sit before our fire silent and abstracted.

"You must not mind if I don't talk," she would say. "I can't; and it seems to help me to get to sit and think about things. Mother wont let me do it down-stairs."

We became also familiar with the father. One day I met him upon the staircase, and to my amazement he stopped as if he wished to address me. I raised my hat and bade him good-morning. On his part he drew forth a large handkerchief and began to rub the palms of his hands with awkward timidity. "How-dy?" he said.

I confess that at the moment I was covered with confusion. I who was a teacher of English and flattered myself that I wrote and spoke it fluently, did not understand. Immediately, however, it flashed across my mind that the word was a species of salutation. (Which I finally discovered to be the case.) I bowed again and thanked him, hazarding the reply that my health was excellent, and an inquiry as to the state of Madame's. He rubbed his hands still more nervously, and answered me in the slow and deliberate manner I had observed at the Louvre.

"You see it's this way," he said,—“it's this way, Mister. We're home folks, me an' Esmeraldy, an' we're a long way from home, an' it sorter seems like we didn't get no useder to it than we was at first. We're not like mother. Mother she was raised in a town, she was raised in 'Lizabethville,— an' she allers took to town ways; but me an' Esmeraldy, we was raised in the mountains, right under the shadder of old Bald, an' town goes hard with us. Seems like we're allers a thinkin' of North Callina. An' mother she gits outed, which is likely. She says we'd ought to fit ourselves fur our higher spear, an' I dessay we'd ought,—but you see it goes sorter hard with us. An' Esmeraldy she has her trouble an' I can't help a sympathizin' with her, fur young folks will be young folks; an' I was young folks once myself. Once-once I sot a heap o' store by mother. So you see how it is."

"It is very sad, Monsieur," I answered. with gravity. Singular as it may appear, this was not so laughable to me as it might seem. It was so apparent that he did not anticipate ridicule. And my Clélie's interest in these people also rendered them sacred in my eyes.

"Yes," he returned, "that's so; an' sometimes it's wuss than you'd think—when mother's outed. An' that's why I'm glad as Mis' Dimar an' Esmeraldy is such friends." It struck me at this moment that he had

But there he checked himself and glanced some request to make of me. He grasped hastily about him. the lapel of my coat somewhat more tightly as if requiring additional support, and finally bent forward and addressed me with caution, "Do you think as Mis' Dimar would mind it ef now an' then I has to step in fur Esmeraldy, an' set a little-just in a kinder neighborin' way. Esmeraldy, she says you're so sosherble. And I haint been sosherble with no one fur-fur a right smart spell. And it seems like I kinder hanker arter it. You've no idea, Mister, how lonesome a man can git when he hankers to be sosherble an' haint no one to be sosherble with. Mother, she says, 'Go out on the Champs Elizy and promenard,' and I've done it; but some ways it don't reach the spot. I

"Thank ye," he said, "she's doin' tol'able well, is mother-as well as common. And she's a-enjoyin' herself, too. I wish we was



Then he began again,"Esmeraldy," he said,-"Esmeraldy thinks a heap on you. She takes a sight of comfort out of Mis' Des —— I can't call your name, but I mean your wife."

"Madame Desmarres," I replied, "is rejoiced indeed to have won the friendship of Mademoiselle."

"Yes," he proceeded, “she takes a sight of comfort in you ans all. An' she needs comfort, does Ésmeraldy."

"She's a little down-sperrited is Esmeraldy," he said. "An'," adding this suddenly in a subdued and fearful tone," so am I.”

There ensued a slight pause which somewhat embarrassed me, for at every pause he regarded me with an air of meek and hesitant appeal.

Having said this he seemed to feel that he had overstepped a barrier. He seized the lapel of my coat and held me prisoner, pouring forth his confessions with a faith in my interest by which I was at once amazed and touched.

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