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"Sunshine of Saint Eulalie" was she called; for that was the sunshine
Which, as the farmers believed, would load their orchards with apples;
She too would bring to her husband's house delight and abundance,
Filling it full of love and the ruddy faces of children.
Now had the season returned, when the nights grow colder and longer,
And the retreating sun the sign of the Scorpion enters.
Birds of passage sailed through the leaden air, from the icebound,
155 Bees, with prophetic instinct of want, had hoarded their honey
Desolate northern bays to the shores of tropical islands.
Harvests were gathered in; and wild with the winds of September Wrestled the trees of the forest, as Jacob of old with the angel. All the signs foretold a winter long and inclement.
Called by the pious Acadian peasants the Summer of All-Saints! Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood.
Peace seemed to reign upon earth, and the restless heart of the
Was for a moment consoled. All sounds were in harmony blended. Voices of children at play, the crowing of cocks in the farm-yards, 165 Whir of wings in the drowsy air, and the cooing of pigeons,
All were subdued and low as the murmurs of love, and the great
Looked with the eye of love through the golden vapors around him;
While arrayed in its robes of russet and scarlet and yellow, Bright with the sheen of the dew, each glittering tree of the forest
Flashed like the plane-tree the Persian adorned with mantles and jewels.
Now recommenced the reign of rest and affection and stillness. Day with its burden and heat had departed, and twilight
Brought back the evening star to the sky, and the herds to the homestead.
Pawing the ground they came, and resting their necks on each other,
And with their nostrils distended inhaling the freshness of evening.
Foremost, bearing the bell, Evangeline's beautiful heifer, Proud of her snow-white hide, and the ribbon that waved from her collar,
Quietly paced and slow, as if conscious of human affection. Then came the shepherd back with his bleating flocks from the seaside,
Where was their favorite pasture. Behind them followed the
Patient, full of importance, and grand in the pride of his instinct,
Late, with the rising moon, returned the wains from the marshes,
While aloft on their shoulders the wooden and ponderous
Echoed back by the barns. Anon they sank into stillness; Heavily closed, with a jarring sound, the valves of the barn-doors, Rattled the wooden bars, and all for a season was silent.
In-doors, warm by the wide-mouthed fireplace, idly the farmer
Painted with brilliant dyes, and adorned with tassels of crimson, 190
Sat in his elbow-chair, and watched how the flames and the smoke-wreaths
Struggled together like foes in a burning city. Behind him, Nodding and mocking along the wall with gestures fantastic, Darted his own huge shadow, and vanished away into darkness. Faces, clumsily carved in oak, on the back of his arm-chair Laughed in the flickering light, and the pewter plates on the dresser
Caught and reflected the flame, as shields of armies the sunshine.
210 Close at her father's side was the gentle Evangeline seated, Spinning flax for the loom that stood in the corner behind her. Silent awhile were its treadles, at rest was its diligent shuttle, While the monotonous drone of the wheel, like the drone of a bagpipe,
Followed the old man's song, and united the fragments together. 215 As in a church, when the chant of the choir at intervals ceases, Footfalls are heard in the aisles, or words of the priest at the altar,
So, in each pause of the song, with measured motion the clock clicked.
Thus as they sat, there were footsteps heard, and, suddenly lifted,
Sounded the wooden latch, and the door swung back on its hinges. 220 Benedict knew by the hob-nailed shoes it was Basil the blacksmith, And by her beating heart Evangeline knew who was with him. "Welcome!" the farmer exclaimed, as their footsteps paused on
"Welcome, Basil, my friend! Come, take thy place on the settle Close by the chimney-side, which is always empty without thee; 225 Take from the shelf overhead thy pipe and the box of tobacco; Never so much thyself art thou as when, through the curling Smoke of the pipe or the forge, thy friendly and jovial face
Round and red as the harvest moon through the mist of the marshes.
Then, with a smile of content, thus answered Basil the blacksmith,
Taking with easy air the accustomed seat by the fireside :"Benedict Bellefontaine, thou hast ever thy jest and thy ballad! Ever in cheerfullest mood art thou, when others are filled with Gloomy forebodings of ill, and see only ruin before them. Happy art thou, as if every day thou hadst picked up a horseshoe.
Pausing a moment, to take the pipe that Evangeline brought him, 235 And with a coal from the embers had lighted, he slowly continued::
"Four days now are passed since the English ships at their
Ride in the Gaspereau's mouth, with their cannon pointed against
What their design may be is unknown; but all are commanded On the morrow to meet in the church, where his Majesty's mandate
Will be proclaimed as law in the land. Alas! in the mea time Many surmises of evil alarm the hearts of the people."
Then made answer the farmer:-"Perhaps some friendlier
Brings these ships to our shores. Perhaps the harvests in England
"Not so thinketh the folk in the village," said warmly the
Shaking his head as in doubt; then, heaving a sigh, he continued:
Then with a pleasant smile made answer the jovial farmer :"Safer are we unarmed, in the midst of our flocks and our cornfields,
Safer within these peaceful dikes besieged by the ocean,
"Louisburg is not forgotten, nor Beau Séjour, nor Port Royal.
260 Built are the house and the barn. The merry lads of the village Strongly have built them and well; and, breaking the glebe round
Filled the barn with hay, and the house with food for a twelvemonth.
René Leblanc will be here anon, with his papers and inkhorn. Shall we not then be glad, and rejoice in the joy of our children?" 265 As apart by the window she stood, with her hand in her lover's, Blushing Evangeline heard the words that her father had spoken, And, as they died on his lips, the worthy notary entered.
Bent like a laboring oar, that toils in the surf of the ocean, Bent, but not broken, by age was the form of the notary public; 270 Shocks of yellow hair, like the silken floss of the maize, hung Over his shoulders; his forehead was high; and glasses with horn bows
Four long years in the times of the war had he languished a captive,
Suffering much in an old French fort as the friend of the English. Now, though warier grown, without all guile or suspicion, Ripe in wisdom was he, but patient, and simple, and childlike. He was beloved by all, and most of all by the children; 280 For he told them tales of the Loup-garou in the forest,
And of the goblin that came in the night to water the horses, And of the white Létiche, the ghost of a child who unchristened Died, and was doomed to haunt unseen the chambers of children; And how on Christmas eve the oxen talked in the stable, 285 And how the fever was cured by a spider shut up in a nutshell, And of the marvellous powers of four-leaved clover and horseshoes,
Sat astride on his nose, with a look of wisdom supernal.
With whatsoever else was writ in the lore of the village.
Then up rose from his seat by the fireside Basil the blacksmith, Knocked from his pipe the ashes, and slowly extended his right hand,
"Father Leblanc," he exclaimed, "thou hast heard the talk in the village,