A Ball of Blue Yarn

A Tragedy of French Canadian Love and Cruel Deception

May Harvey Drummond January 1 1914

A Ball of Blue Yarn

A Tragedy of French Canadian Love and Cruel Deception

May Harvey Drummond January 1 1914

A Ball of Blue Yarn

A Tragedy of French Canadian Love and Cruel Deception

May Harvey Drummond

THE St. Lawrence was indeed a deep, dumb river that day, and the voyageur making his way up in his birch canoe, felt oppressed with the heat and stillness.

For three years he had worked in far Labrador, trapping for the Hudson Bay Company, and now, with six months’ leave, was going home to try and comfort the old mother for the loss which had made him fatherless.

He was paddling close to the shore, his mind full of the meeting so soon to be, when something fell from an overhanging rock into the water, and broke his reverie. It was a ball of bright blue yarn, and looking up quickly to see from where it came, Jean St. Sylvestre beheld a girl ’s laughing face peering over at him.

Adèle had watched the progress of the canoe up the lazy river, wondering idly who the occupant might be, and when it glided past her resting place she could not refrain from leaning over to get a better view of the handsome face and kneeling figure.

With a deft movement of his paddle, Jean drew the ball of yarn to the side of the canoe, and picking it from the water, tossed it, with a smile, to the girl above.

“Tiens, Mademoiselle! I was just in time, n’est-ce-pas ? ” He said, as she thanked him in voluble French fashion. Then he raised his straw hat to her and resumed his paddling.

Adèle’s eheeks were bright and her heart beat fast as she tried to resume her knitting, but the blue stocking was destined to little progress that day and her eyes scarce left the canoe until it had vanished round a bend in the river. Then she arose with a sigh and went slowly homeward along the river shore.

The girl was one of a large family and had early been trained to work, but her dreamy nature demanded solitude at times and when the want became oppressive, she would take her knitting as an excuse, and steal away to the river side, there to build the beautiful air castles common to youthful dreamers.

This habit of hers was no secret to the family and she came up the little path to the house to meet the usual volley of chaff from her brothers.

“Say, Adèle,” cried Thomas, the wag, “who was the chap you were talking to down there?”

Adèle started guiltily, but quickly recovering herself, with a toss of her head said, “I wasn’t talking to any one,” passed them all to take refuge with her mother in the kitchen.

Jean, meanwhile had reached his destination, and the canoe safely beached, was trudging slowly up the little rising which led to his mother’s house. She

The author of this quaint French Canadian romance is the widow of the late Dr. Drummond, who made the “Habitant” so popular in poem and story. She has carried into this humble setting of FrenchCanadian life all the warm fascination of the race. The picturesque environment, the ardor and fidelity, of the characters of the plot and the charming simplicity and directness of its treatment give the “Ball of Blue Yarn” an individuality that pleases. It leaves the reader with a whiff of pine woods, the hush of northern solitudes and the warmth of a pleasing fireside. To add to the interest of the story the illustrations are by Mr. C. W. Jeffery8, president of the Ontario Society of Artists. All rights are reserved.—Editor.

did not know of his coming, and the tin dish of chicken-feed in her hand, fell with a clatter to the ground as Jean vaulted the low wire fence and clasped her in his arms.

“Ma mère, oh ma mère! How thin you have grown!” He muttered brokenly, as he gazed at the dear face, while she could do nothing but weep, such passionate tears as no one in all Beauharnois had seen her shed. With Madame St. Sylvestre, laughter was for everybody but tears were sacred and when her husband had died, her calm white face with its far-away wintery smile, astonished the neighbors, who could not guess that beneath the icy exterior flowed a raging torrent of grief.

“Come my son,” she said at last, “I am so happy to have you once again that I have forgotten how hungry and tired you must be.”

With his arm about-her, they passed into the house where the old woman hurriedly drew up the most comfortable chair for Jean that he might sit and smoke reposefully, while she prepared a hasty supper.

Words were few between them for neither felt it possible as yet, to speak of their great sorrow, and, except for a stray question from the mother as to the hardships of the journey down, and brief responses from Jean, who was not one to complain, the meal was eaten in silence.

When the dishes were washed and put away, Madame St. Sylvestre took her bonnet from the peg, and put it on, seeing which, Jean rose, knocked the ashes from his pipe, drew on his coat and followed his mother through the front door.

Instinctively they chose an unfre-

quented path to the little Catholic cemetery on the hillside through which they passed, the mother leading the way to her husband’s grave. There, with all the compassionate love a woman feels for her fatherless son, she put her arms about Jean and drew him to her as though she would shield him from all further misfortune.

“Mon pauvre garçon! This is what you have come home to,” she sobbed, and Jean kissing her gravely, replied, “Ma mère, I still have you, thank God! And you must let me comfort you a little for what you have lost. I will not go away any more but stay and work here to be near you.”

For answer Madame St. Sylvestre pressed her son’s hand, she could not speak and for a while they stood thus, in sad silence; then, kneeling by the grave, they said a prayer for the repose of the beloved one’s soul, and rising, turned slowly homeward.

Jean was comparatively a stranger in Beauharnois, his father and mother having moved there but shortly before their son had gone to Labrador; naturally then, he was an object of interest to the dwellers of the little village and whole families would crowd to the front door if it was rumored that Madame and her handsome son were passing up the street; but of all this Jean was thoroughly unconscious and would frankly return the gaze of the curious without a single egotistical thought.

On Sunday morning at the church door, he met again the girl whose ball of wool he had rescued from the river. Adèle was in the midst of a family group and might have passed unnoticed had not her father addressed Madame St. Sylvestre. An introduction between Jean and the entire Martin family resulted, and this time the man felt himself unmistakably attracted by the girlish face, blushing so rosy red under his frank gaze.

They walked home together and before the door of the St. Sylvestre house had been reached, Adèle had forgotten her embarrassment and the two were on a footing of comradeship, already.

Jean, in bidding her good-bye, added a request for permission to visit her, which was readily given, and when he followed his mother into the house, his determination to give up a roving life and settle in Beauharnois, had become fixed.

“Tiens, Adèle! That’s the best one yet!” Thomas who was walking some yards ahead called to his sister. “He hasn’t bandy legs like Napoleon, nor cross eyes like Narcisse Dubois. Better take him Adèle.”

“Tais-toi, stupid!” returned his sist-

er, not very vexed, however, “he hasn’t asked me yet.’

“Oh! but he will!” continued the rogue, wagging his head with the air of an elderly sage. “When a man looks at everybody and sees only one girl, its easy to know what’s the matter with him.”

“You are too wise for your age, Thomas, mon cher, better go slow for already I see the hair on top of your head getting thin.”

Adèle spoke gravely and Thomas with a little frightened gesture, took off his cap and patted the top of his head to reassure himself. At this they all laughed, and the boy, covered with confusion, ran round to the back of the house to escape further teasing.

Jean wasted no time in making use of the permission given him by Adèle and soon became a constant visitor at the Martin house, where he was made welcome by all. Sometimes, when the night was unusually fine, he and Adèle would wander down to the scene of their first meeting and there, unobserved, revel in the deep confidences of unacknowledged lovers, while the wise old river flowed silently by, bearing away into the great beyond their tender secrets.

The end to this happy state of things came at one of the village dances when Adèle in a spirit of mischief, showed overmuch favor to Narcisse Dubois, and Jean, outraged and burning with angry jealousy, had rushed out into the night where, under the bright starlight, lovers’ hopes and fears played tag with his heart while he made his way home scarce knowing what he was doing.

Madame who sat by the fire knitting, turned in surprise as her son entered “What brings you home so early, my Jean?” she asked anxiously. The man flung himself into a chair by her side and lit his pipe before replying.

The mother waited anxiously. She knew that the confession long expected was coming now, just as soon as that pipe began to draw aright.

“Mother, I love Adèle Martin.” he said with startling abruptness.

“And she loves you, my son,” replied the old woman calmly.

“I don’t know, mother,” he said, the fears coming uppermost as he saw again the smiling face raised to Dubois.

“You can find out, Jean. You are not a woman.” Madame St. Sylvestre smiled. “You could bring your bride here,” she continued, “and I could find a little corner somewhere else; an old woman like me wants but little.”

“Turn you out of your own house to make a home for my wife. Ma mère! for what do you take me? I would not marry even Adèle on such terms!”

“Then let your bride share my home dear boy, for I begin to feel the weight of household cares heavy on my stooped shoulders and would willingly give place to a younger woman.”

Jean gazed tenderly at his mother. He was not quite sure that she had spoken the truth, hut she was poking the fire and no shade of emotion troubled her fine old face. Here then was a solution of the financial difficulty and he would settle the rest with Adèle to-morrow.

Tenderly he stooped and kissed his mother.

“Goodnight, ma mère, you are one of God’s good women,” he said and strode from the kitchen.

When she hear the door of his room shut, the old woman stooped over the fire, making it safe for the night, and the tears which fell hissing on the smouldering logs, were an offering to the Virgin Mother of Sorrows .and Renunciation whose image stood on the mantel above her head.

A few days of restless anxiety followed, for Jean had been foiled in every attempt to see Adèle alone. Her manner had lost all its former ease and “bon camaraderie” and his appearance at the Martin house was now the signal for a sudden access of zeal in household affairs which kept the girl always at her mother’s side.

But his day and opportunity came at last and Jean was not slow to seize it. He had walked over in the evening to find all the family with the exception of his sweetheart and her mother away on a holiday jaunt to the races at Sorel.

After the few formal words of greeting had passed, Madame Martin, on pretext of a cake in the oven which must be watched, left the young people alone on the front porch. Adèle rose to follow her mother, but Jean intercepted her path and his blue eyes gazing down on her with loving determination, told the girl more plainly than words could have done, that further coquetry was useless. Beneath that look of reproachful love, she could not but obey Jean’s silent request and turning took the path to the river. At the old trysting place they stopped as if by common consent and stood awhile in silence. The man was the first to speak, and in a voice low and subdued by emotion, he said.

“Adèle, are you angry with met”

“No.” came the whispered answer.

“Will you be angry with me if I tell you something?”

“What is it?” she asked brokenly.

“Do you think you will be angry?”

persisted the man.

“No.”

“Adèle, I love you dear—you are the one woman in the world for me. Would you be afraid to marry me, little girl?”

“Oh no, Jean!” and the girl, frank enough now, smiled at her lover’s humility.

Then the strong arms went around the slender shoulders and words of love came thick and fast, each one an easement to the big heart of him who had suffered so these past few days.

The engagement was but brief; there was nothing for which to wait since Adèle had consented most willingly to share the home of her future mother-inlaw and Jean, with this assured, could earn a comfortable living at the new sawmill; so early in the fall they were married. There was the usual wedding feast and speech by Monsieur le Curé, after which the couple, followed by a shower of rice and old shoes, drove off in a borrowed buggy to spend a brief

honeymoon in the quaint old village of Chateauguay.

As the vehicle disappeared from view, Thomas who, with his hands stuck in his pockets, was watching it, turned to his mother and said solemnly, “I always knew it would come to this.” And the tears which had stood in Madame Martin’s eyes, fell and gave place to smiles.

Jean and his wife had been established about a month in their home when news went around that the saw-mill would be closed during the winter. Financial depression was the reason advanced and for that Jean cared not a straw. The vital thing for him was where to find work? He could not live with his wife on his mother’s slender means, that was clear but where to find suitablè occupation a problem.

It is true the Hudson Bay Company had offered him many inducements to. return to their service, all of which he had put aside, thinking that if the worst came to the worst, he coqld apply, to them later; but the long parting from his young wife which such a course must enforce, was anguish to be faced only in case of dire necessity.

Another month spent in vain search, brought to him the certainty that this dreaded resource was the inevitable one, but how could he summon enough cour-, age to tell Adèle? And it was only when he had signed himself over to the company, that he brought himself to face the terrible task.

All unknown to Jean, both wife and mother had surmised what was to. be their portion, so, when at least with that gentleness which strong men use to those whom they would protect, he told Adèle, of the parting to come upon them, her colorless face was her only sign.of emotion.

When he had finished she said mechanically, “When must you go, Jean?”

“Next week Adèle. It is soon, is it not?”

A hot tear fell from the girl’s eyes, and dropping on the man’s hand, made him look up hastily.

“Adèle,” he whispered brokenly. “My Adèle.” And clasping her in his arms, he lavished on her all the wealth of his great love, while she, resting there passive with fast flowing tears, fought the great battle of her life and won,-never pleading with him to stay since bis mind was made up, his pledge to the Company given and such pleading would but add to his trouble.

• • •

Jean had been gone six months when the Hudson Bay factor, sitting in his log hut working on a pair of “bottes sauvages” beheld him enter, closely followed by an Indian carrying a. large pack.

“Hello! St. Sylvestre. Glad to seet, you old man. Sit down, sit down; you must be dog-tired,” said Ben Thorpe, as he rose to greet his visitor.

“Good day, Thorpe,” said Jean, extending bis hand which the other shook

with overmuch warmth. “I’ve done well for the company this time and came down to get my letters and my discharge at the same time. Give me my letters, old man, I can’t wait another minute for news from home.”

“Sorry, Sylvestre, but there are no letters for you.”

In the factor’s eyes there lit a gleam

for you, Jean, and you must prepare yourself for the worst.”

“Prepare myself for the worst,” echoed the trapper. “What worst? Tell

me-tell me!” he went on wildly,

seizing Thorpe by the shoulder.

“Sit down,” said the latter, and Jean obeyed. “News came to me through your friend Narcisse Dubois that there

the seat, grappling with the horror which bad overtaken him and which was more than he could bear, for he lost consciousness and would have fallen had not Thorpe caught him and with the help of the Indian, carried him to a rough bunk in an adjoining room.

“Hope it hasn’t killed him!” muttered the factor. “We can’t afford to lose

of satisfaction which Jean, overcome with emotion did not notice.

“No letters for me! Why Thorpe, you are surely mistaken?” exclaimed the unhappy fellow, unable to relinquish the hope which had made life possible during his six months of exile.

“Quite sure!” replied Thorpe, then added with a show of reluctance, “Fact is, I’m afraid there is bad news in store

had been an epidemic of diphtheria in Beauharnois and your wife and mother had both died of it.”

Sylvestre bowed his head in his hands and groaned aloud.

“Oh my God! and is it for this that I

have worked and waited - worked

and waited ?”

The words were reiterated again and again as the man swayed to and fro on

such trappers as he just now. If he dies I’ll be pretty badly sold, because money might have done the job just as surely.” Jean did not die, and in a few days was able to leave the fort. Accompanied by the faithful Indian, he made his way back into the wilderness and this time no hope, only a blank despair accompanied him. Only a weary life time.to be lived through because the creed of

his childhood told him that the manner of his release must be left to the God who gave him life. Silently he worked in that lonely land, never returning to the fort unless obliged by necessity, and then remaining only long enough to render account to Thorpe of his work. So he lived for well nigh eighteen years, during which time his determination to die in the wilderness of Labrador had wavered but once. That date he had marked with a red cross on his rough birchbark calendar.

One night, trudging wearily home on his snowshoes, a couple of fur-bearing animals over his shoulder, Jean almost stumbled over the prostrate form of a man, which was lying across his path. Hastily throwing the carcases on the snow, he stooped over the man and sought for signs of life. The heart still beat, it was true, but there was no consciousness and the lower limbs were severely frozen.

“Nothing for it but to get him home as quickly as possible,” thought Jean, and signing to the Indian who was close behind, to help between them they lifted the large emaciated frame and leaving their spoils where they had fallen, trudged off through the difficult forest path, which the uncertain moonlight rendered still more arduous. Arrived at the little log hut, their burden was gently deposited on Jean’s bed of pine boughs and some whiskey forced between the livid lips. All the usual remedies for frost bite were applied, but it was well on into the night before Jean or the Indian dared to light a fire in the stove or think of their own wants.

At last, however, the frozen feet yielded to treatment and the two men, drawing the blankets over their patient, left him to seek food for themselves.

While Jean was still munching the rough supper prepared for him by the Indian, a sigh and slight movement from the bunk sent a thrill of delight through his heart. With one bound he was beside the bed with his ear close to the sick man’s mouth in the hope of getting a clue to his identity. A few broken words devoid of meaning or connection and then, a name rang through the hut which sent Jean staggering to his feet.

“Adele! Adèle!” called the sick man, and again, “Adèle!”

“Snatching the little oil lamp from the bench close by, Jean held it to the man’s face, then with a cry of anguish, drew himself hastily away from the bedside.

“Narcisse Dubois!” he muttered hoarsely. “God! what brings him here?”

The flood-gates of memory were down and the ruthless tide poured through his soul, bringing with it all the old jealousy of this man who had oh ! so many many years—or was it centuries? ago driven him from the merry dance into the loneliness of the night. But what did that matter since Adèle, too, was dead and nothing left for which to care? Narcisse Dubois had brought the news to the fort, so Thorpe had said. How dare he bring such tidings! “Had I known him as he lav there in the cold he should have gone unsuccoured !”

Thus ran the thought of the tortured man, half crazed with grief unspeakable. He was filled with a wild desire to kill this being who had twice brought pain into his life, and it was long ere his naturally calm disposition reasserted itself and enabled him to resume his duty as nurse.

“It was the beard that disguised him,” said Sylvestre, wondering a little that his recognition of Dubois had been delayed so long.

For days Jean remained in the hut, leaving to the Indian the work of trapping. He had schooled himself to listen with outward composure, to the still delirious rambling of the man he had befriended and the frequent repetition of the name which was such sweet torture to hear from those lips. At last the fever left Dubois, and very slowly his normal mind reasserted itself. His first recognition of Jean came suddenly one stormy day when Dubois had lain for a long time gazing at Sylvestre, who sat smoking by the little stove. Suddenly the sick man raised himself on his elbow and in a hoarse, awe-etrieken voice asked :

“In God’s name who are you?” Jean jumped to his feet.

“Why, Dubois, old man, don’t you remember Jean St. Sylvestre?” he asked gently.

“Jean St. Sylvestre!” repeated Narcisse in wonderment. “It can’t be true ? ’ ’

“But it is true, Narcisse. And now you musn’t talk any more; you are still very weak.”

It cost Jean no small effort to silence the sick man, for he hungered with the hunger of starvation to know all that Narcisse could tell, but the invalid had fallen back on his pillow exhausted, and it was not until some days had passed and he was able to sit up in bed, wrapped in a heavy gray blanket that Jean permitted his patient to talk.

“Where did you find me, Jean?” queried Dubois to whom the other told in a few words the story of his finding, and seeing that Narcisse was now strong enough to be questioned, Sylvestre began in his turn. “What brought you here?” he asked.

“I came to see you, Jean St. Sylvestre, though you mayn’t believe me.”

There was a flush of excitement on the invalid’s face as he made this strange assertion, and St. Sylvestre looking at him believed Dubois to be raving in delirum.

“You came to see me, Narcisse? Why you never came to see me when we lived in the same village!”

Jean smiled a little bitterly, for old memories were surging painfully near the surface.

“No! I hated you, Sylvestre—because you won Adèle from me and when she could get no news of you until word came

that you were dead”-(a smothered

cry from his listener caused Dubois to pause a moment) “I tried to win her for myself, to persuade lier that the little one—yes. she had a baby girl some months after you left,—it was her duty to marry again and so secure herself and

the child from want. But I might as well have talked to the Holy Virgin for all the good it did and as I could not bear to watch her working so hard to keep the home for the child and your mother, and the Company were wanting men, I took to the trapping. They sent me to work for Thorpe, and he told me how you had been lost in the great snow-storm a few months after you got here, and of course I believed him until by chance I heard some Indians talking of the great white trapper who lived always alone, and coming seldom to the Fort. Something in the description they gave of this man made me suspect that they were talking of you and I asked Thorpe for particulars of this trapper. I could see him start when the question was put, then I grew bold with the strong conviction that was upon me, and said : ‘ Thorpe you are a liar! That man is none other than Jean St. Sylvestre, who is not dead at all!’ Thorpe grew white with rage and cursed my impudence, stumping about the hut like a madman—Jean, that man is doomed—declaring that I was raving and you were certainly dead.

I left the hut and got the Indians to guide me part of the way. After they left, I lost myself, and it was only the grace of God, and perhaps the prayers of Adèle, that brought me to your hut.”

Narcisse crossed himself piously in thanksgiving, and Jean stooped to wipe the beads of sweat which hung on the man’s forehead.

“God bless you, Dubois,” he whispered brokenly. “God bless you for your goodness to her and to me!”

“But Jean,” Narcisse began again, “what has kept you away all these years?” He turned his head to get a better view of Jean’s face.

“Kept me away!” Sylvestre growled through fast closed teeth, “nothing but the damnable lies of that hound Thorpe! When my six months of service were up, I went to the Fort expecting to find a letter from Adèle awaiting me there, but Thorpe said there were none and then told me that my mother and wife had both died of diphtheria and you— you Dubois—had brought the news! Why I believed him God only knows. But there was no reason in my mind for him to play me false—and here have I been wasting my life in this accursed wilderness, longing for death to end my misery and give me back my loved ones.”

“Your wife lives, but your mother died eight years ago, Jean.”

Jean started.

“Do you know the exact date of her death, Narcisse?”

“Yes. It was the night of the tenth of November. I remember because it happened just three weeks after my own father’s death,” said Narcisse, around whose mouth lines of fatigue were showing.

Jean rose to examine the birch bark calendar, then returned to the bedside.

“Narcisse, my mother came to me that night—yes she did!” he reiterated in response to the unconcealed scepticism of Dubois’ eyes—“She kissed me just as she used to do when I was a boy, and it was so real that when I awoke Ï thought

to see her standing beside my bed. It was her good-bye to me, Narcisse—Oh, my God! my God! Had I but known!”

St. Sylvestre threw himself on the bed beside his friend, his whole frame shaken with sobs, and the Indian coming in with an armful of wood, threw it down and ran to the bedside: but it was Narcisse, not Jean who needed his ministry. Dubois had fainted.

The remaining days of Dubois’ convalescence were spent by the two men in long talks over the past, and speculations on the future, since Jean would not listen to his friend’s suggestion that he should start alone and at once on the homeward journey; leaving the invalid to follow later with the Indian.

An irrepressible longing tugged at the heart-strings of the trapper, bidding him go: but Jean St. Sylvestre was no weakling and it was only when Narcisse had sufficiently regained his strength that preparations for the journey were made.

fore they reached the Fort, his enemy had passed beyond mortal vengeance and as they entered the little settlement, a band of trappers passed them, bearing the dead body of Thorpe to a temporary resting-place beneath a mound of rough grey stones.

Spring was early that year, and to Jean, paddling slowly up the St. Lawrence, the sight of the tender green of leaves and grass, was one of great refreshment, bringing relief to eyes weary of gazing upon vast and silent snowfields.

His memory was busy with a by-gone day, and purposely he directed his canoe towards the overhanging rock on which

drifted quietly under the overhanging rock.

Too much filled with the sense of ownership to realize that he was eavesdropping, Jean started as a girlish voice overhead said :

“No, Maurice — don’t ask me. You know it cannot be while she is alone and needing me night and day as she does.’’

“You make your mother an excuse because you do not really love me,” replied the young man, bitterly. “We could easily arrange so that you might still do for Madame Si. Sylvestre all that

Accordingly, a rough sleigh was improvised on which the convalescent could be helped over part of the long journey by the other two; and in this wise the little party made its way to the Fort.

Forgiveness had not yet come to the heart of St. Sylvestre, and he longed to get his hand on the man who had laid waste his life.

“If I kill him, no one could blame me,” he had said, and Narcisse felt in his soul the truth of the assertion, but Jean never claimed his revenge for be-

Adèle Martin had sat that first time of their meeting.

Shading his eyes with one hand while paddling with the other, he gazed over the blue grey waters until he sighted the spot he sought.

On his rock of sacred memory, two figures stood—a man and a woman—and a feeling of resentment possessed him at the sight of such desecration.

Unheeded by them, he reached to within a few feet of the bank and then, using his paddle only to guide the canoe,

is necessary, but the truth .is that you don’t, want to marry me—and that being so, it would be better to end our engagement at once.”

“Since you wish it, our engagement is ended! Here is your ring!” cried the wounded girl, throwing to him the simple circlet with its golden hearts entertwined which had been the pledge of their betrothal.

Turning her back on him, she walked off up the little pathway, leaving her lover alone on the rock, too much aston-

ished by this unexpected turn of things to do more than gaze stupidly at her retreating figure.

“I must get there before her,” murmured Jean St. Sylvestre, delaying no longer, but sending his canoe spinning along the shore to his old landing place.

One pull from his strong arms sent the little craft to safety on the river shore then the man took to his heels and ran up the rough and now seldom used path, calling aloud as he went, “Adèle! Adèle!”

On the trysting rock, Maurice Beaulieu had remained, lost in bitter reflection— cursing the lover’s impetuosity which had probably cost him the girl he loved.

He had no sense of time, but grown weary with standing, had thrown himself at full length on the grass, and was lying thus when the sound of hurrying footsteps drew his attention from his sad reflections. Looking up quickly, he saw Madeleine St. Sylvestre running down the path to the river and without realizing what he was doing, Maurice rose and stood with outstretched imploring arms, half expecting that she would pass him by.

But Madeleine, the tears coursing down her cheeks, ran straight into the shelter her lover had provided, and laying her head on his bosom, whispered brokenly :

“Maurice, father is alive and has come home and mother doesn’t need me any more ! ’ ’

“Are you sorry—dear?” He asked, stooping to look into the girl’s face, but only the tender pressure of her beloved head on his bosom, answered him.