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paniment by the Innocent on a pair of creasing store of provisions for the mornbone castanets. But the crowning fes- | ing meal. It was one of the peculiarities tivity of the evening was reached in a of that mountain climate that its rays rude camp-meeting hymn, which the lov- diffused a kindly warmth over the wintry ers, joining hands, sang with great earn- landscape, as if in regretful commiseraestness and vociferation. I fear that a tion of the past. But it revealed drift on certain defiant tone and Covenanter's drift of snow piled high around the hut, swing to its chorus, rather than any devo- -a hopeless, uncharted, trackless sea of tional quality, caused it speedily to infect white lying below the rocky shores to the others, who at last joined in the re- which the castaways still clung. Through frain:
the marvellously clear air the smoke of
the pastoral village of Poker Flat rose I'm proud to live in the service of the Lord, miles away. Mother Shipton saw it, and And I'm bound to die in His army.
from a remote pinnacle of her rocky fast
ness, hurled in that direction a final maleThe pines rocked, the storm eddied diction. It was her last vituperative and whirled above the miserable group, attempt, and perhaps for that reason was and the flames of their altar leaped heav- invested with a certain degree of sublimenward, as if in token of the vow.
ity. It did her good, she privately inAt midnight the storm abated, the roll- formed the Duchess.
formed the Duchess. “Just you go out ing clouds parted, and the stars glittered there and cuss, and see.” She then set keenly above the sleeping camp. Mr.
Mr. herself to the task of amusing "the child," Oakhurst, whose professional habits had as she and the Duchess were pleased to enabled him to live on the smallest pos- call Piney. Piney was no chicken, but it sible amount of sleep, in dividing the was a soothing and original theory of the watch with Tom Simson, somehow man- pair thus to account for the fact that she aged to take upon himself the greater didn't swear and wasn't improper. part of that duty. He excused himself When night crept up again through the to the Innocent, by saying that he had gorges, the reedy notes of the accordion “often been a week without sleep." "Do- rose and fell in fitful spasms and longing what?" asked Tom. "Poker!" re- drawn gasps by the flickering camp-fire. plied Oakhurst, sententiously; "when a But music failed to fill entirely the achman gets a streak of luck, -nigger-luck, ing void left by insufficient food, and a -he don't get tired. The luck gives in new diversion was proposed by Piney, first. Luck," continued the gambler, story-telling. Neither Mr. Oakhurst nor reflectively, "is a mighty queer thing. All his female companions caring to relate you know about it for certain is that it's their personal experiences, this plan bound to change. And it's finding out would have failed, too, but for the Innowhen it's going to change that makes you. cent. Some months before he had chanced We've had a streak of bad luck since we upon a stray copy of Mr. Pope's ingenleft Poker Flat,—you come along, and ious translation of the Iliad. He now slap you get into it, too. If you can hold proposed to narrate the principal inciyour cards right along, you're all right. dents of that poem-having thoroughly For," added the gambler, with cheerful mastered the argument and fairly forirrelevance,
gotten the words in the current vernacu
lar of Sandy Bar. And so for the rest “I'm proud to live in the service of the Lord, of that night the Homeric demigods again And I'm bound to die in His army."
walked the earth. Trojan bully and wily
Greek wrestled in the winds, and the The third day came, and the sun, look- great pines in the cañon seemed to bow to ing through the white-curtained valley, the wrath of the son of Peleus. Mr. saw the outcasts divide their slowly de- Oakhurst listened with quiet satisfaction.
Most especially was he interested in the two days she's safe." "And you?" asked fate of "Ash-heels," as the Innocent per- Tom Simson. "I'll stay here," was the sisted in denominating the "swift-footed curt reply. Achilles."
The lovers parted with a long embrace. So with small food and much of “You are not going, too?" said the DuchHomer and the accordion, a week passed ess, as she saw Mr. Oakhurst apparently over the heads of the outcasts. The sun waiting to accompany him. “As far as again forsook them, and again from the cañon," he replied. He turned sudleaden skies the snow-flakes were sifted denly, and kissed the Duchess, leaving her over the land. Day by day closer around pallid face aflame, and her trembling lips them drew the snowy circle, until at last rigid with amazement. they looked from their prison over drifted Night came, but not Mr. Oakhurst. walls of dazzling white, that towered It brought the storm again and the whirltwenty feet above their heads. It became ing snow. Then the Duchess, feeding the more and more difficult to replenish their fire, found that some one had quietly fires, even from the fallen trees beside piled beside the hut enough fuel them, now half hidden in the drifts. And to last a few days longer. The tears yet no one complained. The lovers rose to her eyes, but she hid them from turned from the dreary prospect and Piney. looked into each other's eyes, and were The women slept but little. In the happy. Mr. Oakhurst settled himself morning, looking into each other's faces, coolly to the losing game before him. they read their fate. Neither spoke; but The Duchess, more cheerful than she had Piney, accepting
Piney, accepting the position of the been, assumed the care of Piney. Only stronger, drew near and placed her arm Mother Shipton-once the strongest of around the Duchess's waist. They kept the party-seemed to sicken and fade. this attitude for the rest of the day. That At midnight on the tenth day she night the storm reached its greatest fury, called Oakhurst to her side. “I'm go- and, rending asunder the protecting pines, ing,” she said, in a voice of querulous invaded the very hut. weakness, “but don't say anything about Toward morning they found themit. Don't waken the kids. Take the selves unable to feed the fire, which bundle from under my head and open it." gradually died away. As the embers Mr. Oakhurst did It contained slowly blackened, the Duchess crept closer Mother Shipton's rations for the last to Piney, and broke the silence of many week, untouched. “Give 'em to the hours: “Piney, can you pray?" "No, child,” she said, pointing to the sleeping dear,” said Piney, simply. The Duchess, Piney. “You've starved yourself,” said without knowing exactly why, felt rethe gambler. “That's what they call it,” lieved, and, putting her head upon Piney's said the woman, querulously, as she lay shoulder, spoke no more. And so reclindown again, and, turning her face to the ing, the younger and purer pillowing the wall, passed quietly away.
head of her soiled sister upon her virgin The accordion and the bones were put breast, they fell asleep. aside that day, and Homer was forgotten. The wind lulled as if it feared to When the body of Mother Shipton had waken them. Feathery drifts of snow, been committed to the snow, Mr. Oak- shaken from the long pine boughs, flew hurst took the Innocent aside, and showed like white-winged birds, and settled about him a pair of snow-shoes, which he had them as they slept. The moon through fashioned from the old pack-saddle. the rifted clouds looked down upon what “There's one chance in a hundred to save had been the camp. But all human stain, her yet," he said, pointing to Piney; "but all trace of earthly travail, was hidden it's there,” he added, pointing towards beneath the spotless mantle mercifully Poker Flat. “If you can reach there in | Aung from above.
They slept all that day and the next,
BENEATH THIS TREE nor did they waken when voices and foot
LIES THE BODY steps broke the silence of the camp. And
OF when pitying fingers brushed the snow
JOHN OAKHURST, from their wan faces, you could scarcely WHO STRUCK A STREAK OF BAD LUCK have told from the equal peace that dwelt ON THE 23D OF NOVEMBER, 1850, upon them, which was she that had
AND sinned. Even the law of Poker Flat rec
HANDED IN HIS CHECKS ognized this, and turned away, leav- ON THE 7TH DECEMBER, 1850 ing them still locked in each other's arms.
And pulseless and cold, with a Derringer But at the head of the gulch, on one of by his side and a bullet in his heart, the largest pine-trees, they found the though still calm as in life, beneath the deuce of clubs pinned to the bark with a snow lay he who was at once the strongbowie-knife. It bore the following, writ- est and yet the weakest of the outcasts of ten in pencil, in a firm hand:
GUY DE MAUPASSANT Among story writers Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893) is unsurpassed for detachment of manner, complete self-effacement, and inevitability of phrase. Instead of the diffuse naturalness of the Russian, there is a hard simplicity of language, an incisiveness of style, a direct progression of events. The inner life of his characters is closed to him. In “The Necklace" (1885) there is the dispassionate and ironical contemplation of humanity, the fatality of incident typical of the majority of his stories, united with flawless technique.
She was one of those pretty, charming she was born to enjoy all the refinements girls who, as if by a mistake of destiny, and luxuries of life. She suffered beare born into a family of government cause of the poverty of her home, the clerks. She had no dowry, no expecta- bareness of the walls, the dilapidated tions, no means of being known, appreci- state of the chairs, the hideousness of the ated, loved, and married, by any man of materials. All these things, which anwealth and distinction; and she submit- other woman of her caste would not even ted to be married to an under-clerk at have noticed, tortured and angered her. the Department of Public Instruction. The sight of the little Breton maid who
She dressed simply, being unable to took care of her humble establishment adorn herself, but she was as unhappy as
aroused in her mind despairing regrets a woman who has married below her sta- and wild dreams. She dreamed of silent tion; for women have neither caste nor antechambers, hung with Oriental fabrics, race, their beauty, their grace, and their lighted by tall bronze candelabra, and charms taking the place with them of with two tall valets in knee-breeches doznoble birth and family. Their innate re- ing in spacious arm-chairs, made drowzy finement, their instinctive breeding, their by the heavy heat from the stove. She mental adaptability are their only hier- dreamed of long salons furnished in old archy, and make a girl of the common silk, with slender furniture bearing pricepeople the equal of the greatest of grandes less trifles; and of dainty little perdames.
fumed boudoirs, made for five-o'clock She suffered constantly, feeling that chats with one's closest friends, with well
known and much sought-after men whose 1 From Little French Masterpieces, Vol. VI. Courtesy of G. P. Putnam's Sons, Pub
attentions all women envy and desire. lishers, New York and London.
When she sat down to dine at the
round table covered with a cloth that had She looked at him with an irritated eye, been used three days, opposite her hus- and demanded impatiently: band, who, as he removed the lid of the "What do you expect me to put on my soup-tureen, exclaimed with an enchanted back to go there?” air: "Ah! a good old stew! I know He had not thought of that. of nothing better than that!" she dreamed "Why," he faltered, "the dress you of dainty dinners, of gleaming silverware, wear to the theatre. It looks very nice of tapestries peopling the walls with an
to me" tique personages and strange birds in the He paused, stupefied, beside himself, to midst of an enchanted forest; she dreamed see that his wife was weeping. Two' of exquisite dishes served on splendid great tears were rolling slowly down plate, of gallantries whispered and lis- from the corners of her eyes to the cortened to with a sphinxlike smile, while ners of her mouth. you are eating the pink flesh of a trout or "What's the matter? what's the matthe wing of a chicken.
ter?” he stammered. She had no fine dresses, no jewels, noth- But by a violent effort she had coning. And she cared for nothing else; shequered her weakness, and she answered felt that she was made for those things. calmly, wiping her wet cheeks: She would so have liked to be attractive, “Nothing, only I have no dress and so to be fascinating, to be envied and sought I can't go to this ball. Give your card after.
to some colleague whose wife is better She had a wealthy friend, a former equipped than I.” schoolmate at the convent, whom she He was in despair. would not go to see, she suffered so on “Let us see, Mathilde," he replied. returning home. And she wept whole
And she wept whole "How much will it cost, a suitable dress days with disappointment, regret, distress, that you can wear again on other occaand despair.
sions; something very simple ?" One evening her husband came home She reflected a few seconds, making her with the air of a conqueror, holding a big calculations, and also thinking how large envelope in his hand.
a sum she could ask for without bringing "Here is something for you," he said. forth an instant refusal and a horrified
She hastily tore the envelope, and took exclamation from the economical clerk. out a printed card on which were these At last she replied, hesitatingly: words:
"I don't know exactly, but it seems to "The Minister of Public Instruction me that I could make out with four hunand Mme. Georges Ramponneau invite dred francs." M. and Mme. Loisel to pass the evening He turned a little pale, for he had set at the Ministerial palace on Monday, aside just that sum to purchase a rifle and January 18th."
indulge in an occasional hunting-excurInstead of being overjoyed, as her hus- sion, during the summer, on the plain band hoped, she tossed the invitation an- of Nanterre, with some friends who went grily on the table, murmuring:
there on Sundays to shoot larks. "What do you expect me to do with But he said: that?"
"Very good. I will give you four "Why, my dear, I thought that you hundred francs. And try to have a would be pleased. You never go out,
pretty dress.” and here is an opportunity-a fine one! The day of the ball drew near, and I had the greatest difficulty in obtaining Madame Loisel seemed sad, disturbed, it. Everybody tries to get them; they are anxious. Her dress was ready, however. very much sought after, and not many Her husband said to her one evening: are given to clerks. You see the whole "What's the matter? Tell me; you official world there."
have been very queer for three days.'
And she replied:
kissed her passionately, then Aled with her "It annoys me to have not a jewel, not treasure. a single stone, nothing to put on. I shall The day of the ball arrived. Madame look as poverty-stricken as can be. I Loisel had a triumph. She was prettier should almost prefer not to go to the than any of the others, stylish, gracious, ball.”
smiling, and mad with joy. All the men "You might wear natural flowers," he stared at her, asked her name, requested rejoined. “They are very stylish at this to be presented. All the clerks in the Deseason. You can get two or three mag- partment wanted to waltz with her. The nificent roses for ten francs.”
minister noticed her. She was not convinced.
She danced madly, in a frenzy, intoxi“No, there is nothing more humiliating cated by pleasure, regardless of everything than to look poor among a lot of rich in the triumph of her beauty, in the pride women.'
of her success, in a sort of cloud of hap“How stupid you are!" cried her hus- piness composed of all that homage, of all band. “Go to your friend Madame For- that admiration, of all those newly kinestier and ask her to lend you some jew- dled desires, of that complete victory els. You are intimate enough with her which is so sweet to a woman's heart. to do that.”
She went away about four in the mornShe uttered a cry of joy.
ing. Her husband had been asleep since “That's so.
I had never thought of midnight in a little, deserted anteroom, that.”
with three other gentlemen whose wives The next day she went to her friend's were enjoying themselves hugely. house, and told her of her trouble.
He threw over her shoulders the wraps Madame Forestier went to a wardrobe he had brought for her to wear homewith a glass door, took out a large jewel-modern garments of every-day life, whose box, brought it to Madame Loisel, opened shabbiness contrasted with the elegance it, and said to her:
of the ball-dress. She felt this and in“Take your choice, my dear."
sisted on hastening away to avoid being She saw first of all bracelets, then a noticed by the other women who were pearl necklace, then a Venetian cross in wrapping themselves in rich furs. gold and precious stones, a beautiful piece Loisel detained her. of work. She tried them on before a "Wait a moment; you'il take cold outmirror, hesitated, could not decide to side. I will go and call a cab." part with them, to replace them. She She would not listen to him, however, kept asking:
but hurried down the stairs. When they "You have nothing else?"
were in the street, they could not find a "Why, yes. Look. I don't know cab; and they set out to look for one, what may take your fancy."
shouting after the driver whom they saw Suddenly she discovered in a black satin passing in the distance. case a superb diamond necklace, and her They walked towards the Seine, in dire heart began to beat with an immoderate discomfort, shivering with cold. At last longing. Her hands trembled as she they found on the quay one of those antook it up. She fastened it about her cient nocturnal coupés which are seen in throat, over her high dress, and stood Paris only after nightfall, as if they were in ecstasy before her own image.
ashamed to show their shabbiness during Then she asked, hesitatingly, in an the day. agony of suspense:
It took them to their door on Rue des "Can you lend me this, just this and Martyrs, and they went sadly up to their nothing else?”
apartment. It was all over, for her. "Why, yes, to be sure.”
And he was thinking that he must be at She sprang upon the neck of her friend, I the office at ten o'clock.