Page images

The Broken Pitcher.

took the box, and the "Trinckgeld,"* and went towards the little cottage, under the olives and



Before he got there, he met his master, Herr Hautmarten, who said to him, "What have you there, Jaques?"

"A box, for Mother Manon; but I must not tell you whom from."


Why not?"

"Because Herr Colin will never forgive me, he says."


Well, Jacques, it is right you should be secret, although it is rather late to begin. However, give me the box; I'll take it to Mother Manon in the morning. It will spare you the trouble, and be a nice little job for me.'


Jacques gave the box to his master, with his usual blind obedience. The justice took the box into his own room, and examined it with great care and anxiety. On the lid was a paper; superscribed in red chalk, "To the lovely and beloved Mariette." The justice knew well some of Colin's mischief must be here. He unpacked it, almost expecting to see a mouse or rat jump out; but when the beautiful jug made its appearance, which he himself had seen at the fair, his very heart leaped within him. It is to be confessed, Herr Hautmarten was as well versed in injustice as justice. He saw immediately that Colin wished to bring Mariette into trouble, by making it be supposed that some secretly favoured lover from the city had sent her such a handsome present, and then all rightly-thinking people would despise her; therefore he concluded, no doubt, in order to prevent further mischief, to give the pitcher as a gift from himself. He had always admired Mariette, and had been well pleased to see how much she appreciated Father Jerome's doctrine of "Children, love one another." It is true, Herr Hautmarten was a well-grown child of fiity; and Mariette certainly did not imagine the application of the text quite so extensive. But Mother Manon thought he might reap the

benefit of these charitable instructions: he was rich, and enjoyed respect and consideration from one end of La Napoule to the other. When he turned the conversation towards marriage, and Mariette carefully avoided the subject, Mother Manon always felt her respect wonderfully increased for the worthy man. And it must be fully understood, that no exact objections could be made to him. If Colin was the handsomest

man in the village, at least in two things Herr Hautmarten had the advantage-in his greater age and greater nose. Yes, verily, this nose, which always went some way before him, as avant courier, to announce his approach, was the very elephant of noses! With this elephant, his good intention, and the pitcher, the justice went the next morning to the little cottage under

the olives and acacias.

* Drink-money.


"For you, beautiful Mariette," said he, "is nothing too costly! Yesterday, you admired this pitcher; to-day, allow me to lay it, and my adoring heart, at your feet." Mother Manon was delighted, and Mariette astonished to see the pitcher; but Mariette said, "I can accept neither heart nor pitcher."

Her mother interrupted her angrily, saying, "But I accept for you both heart and pitcher. Foolish child, how long will you throw your happiness away? What do you expect? Are you waiting for the Count of Provence to make you his bride, that you are so scornful towards a magistrate? But I know your interests better. Herr Hautmarten, I shall think myself honoured by your becoming my son-in-law."

Mariette went away in tears, and hated the pretty jug with all her heart; but the justice stroked his proboscis, and spoke soberly:Mother Manon, be not overhasty; the pretty dove will be better pleased the better she knows


months are over I shall have gained an entrance I know what women are, and before three

into Mariette's heart."

"I'm sure your nose is much too large ever to get in," said Mariette to herself, who had overheard the conversation, and could not help laughing through her tears. And, in truth, three months went by, and not even the tip of the justice's nose had found its way into Mariette's



But, however, during these three months Mariette had something else to think of. The pitcher gave her trouble and vexation enough, and soon something else came to add to it. For a whole fortnight nothing was talked of but the "It is a present from pitcher. Everybody said, the Herr Justice, and the wedding will follow soon." But Mariette proudly declared she would rather drown herself than be the Justice's bride, so there was nothing left but to teaze her a bit by saying, "Ah! how happily you might rest under the shadow of such a nose!" This was vexation the first.

Then Mother Manon was cruel enough to force Mariette to carry the pitcher to the Brunnen, to fill it with clear water and fresh flowers, hoping that Mariette might at last feel a little affection for the giver. But it was of no use: she hated both gift and giver, and her daily journey to the Brunnen was indeed a sore pilgrimage to her. Vexation the second.

Then twice every week, when she went to the Brunnen, she found lying, all ready prepared to put into the pitcher, a beautiful bouquet, with a beloved Mariette." Of course they must, both tied to it, on which was written, "To the flowers and superscription, be from Herr Hautmarten. She would not even smell them, fearing lest his breath might have passed over them, and poisoned their sweetness. She thought of the flowers as though they were so many weeds, and strewed them and the paper, which she tore to pieces, all about the spot where they usually lay. But nothing seemed to provoke Herr Haut

marten; his love seemed as great in its kind as fact, was he?-who but Colin, the hard-hearted his nose certainly was. Third vexation.


At last she found out that he was not the giver of the flowers. Now who could it be? However, she was so pleased at the discovery, that she now regularly took the flowers from their place; but who could have laid them there? Mariette was now, what I am sure no one will accuse women of being in general, very, very curious. She thought of every youth in the place, but could come to no conclusion. She sat up late and got up early, to listen and watch, but heard and saw nothing. Twice in every week there lay the flowers in their place; and twice in every week did she sighingly read the direction, "To the beloved Mariette." This would have made the most indifferent curious; but curiosity at last becomes a "carking care." So found Mariette. Fourth vexation.


He it was, then, who out of an old spite had caused the innocent maiden so much trouble, both with the pitcher and Herr Hautmarten; it must have been he who put the flowers there so secretly, for no purpose but to excite her curiosity. For what other reason could he have? he had always hated Mariette. He had fully shown this by his behaviour to her in all companies. To all the other girls of the village he was kind and polite; but as for Mariette, he had never even once invited her to dance, though she was the best dancer in the set.

Now he lay there, betrayed, entrapped. Vengeance woke in Mariette's breast. What trick should she play him? She picked up the nosegay, and scattered its leaves with right goodwill over the sleeper; but the paper she picked up, as she wished to compare the handwriting, did the sly Mariette. Now she thought of going, but her anger was not yet quite satisfied; she could not leave the place without punishing his malice and hard-heartedness a little more. She took the violet ribbon from her hat, and tied his arm fast with three knots to the palm-tree. When he waked how astonished he would be, and wonder who had played him such a prank! He would never find it out. So much the better: it served him right.

Father Jerome again preached from his favourite text, "The ways of heaven are wonderful;" and the innocent Mariette thought "Then perhaps I shall find out the giver of my flowers some time or other, Father Jerome is never wrong."

One summer night it was so hot Mariette could not sleep; as the first sunbeams shone upon her casement she sprang from bed, dressed But, to tell the truth, Mariette was gradually herself, took her hat in her hand, and left the softening a little towards him. Her vengeance cottage, intending to wander towards the sea troubled her, now she had concluded it. Her shore, where she thought she knew of a delight-heart was troubled; I even believe there were ful place for a bath.

tears in her eyes, and she actually looked at him with compassion. Slowly went she home, often looking back at the sleeper, till at last her mother's voice, calling her impatiently, made her run into the cottage.

But, however, to get to this secret place, she must go behind the cottage, through the thickets of pomegranates and palm-trees; but she was stopped in her progress. Precisely under the tallest and handsomest of the palm trees lay a tall and handsome young man, in a sweet sleep; near him lay a beautiful nosegay of the most lovely flowers, and he was not so far off but a strip of paper might be seen tied to their stalks. How could Mariette pass such a sight!

She stood still, and trembled at first from very fear. Then she thought she would go home. Hardly had she returned two steps, when she felt compelled to turn and give another look. The sleeper lay too far off for her to distinguish his features; yet it was not an opportunity to be rashly thrown away She went a little nearer; but he seemed to stir. Then she ran back again towards the cottage; then again she ventured near, until frightened at the thought that perhaps he was only pretending to be asleep, she ran away again; but who could be satisfied with a perhaps? She went boldly towards the palm-tree.


But the very next day did the shameful Colin play her a new trick! What did he do? Surely he wished openly to shame the poor Mariette! She had quite forgotten that her violet hat-ribbon was known to everybody. Colin remembered it only too well; why, he tried openly to shame the poor Mariette! He fastened it proudly on his hat, and carried it so that all the world might see his booty. Everybody said, "Of course he had it from Mariette;" and the girls all called her a coquette, and the young men called Colin a villain!

"Why, Mother Manon," exclaimed the justice, so loudly, that his purple nose seemed to echo again, "what does this mean? It is high time to look after our marriage, I think! Here is my promised bride giving her hat-ribbon to the young farmer Colin! Indeed, I think I have some right to complain."

"You have, indeed," said Mother Manon; if the matter is so, we must set about the marriage directly."

"But she has never yet even said Yes," said the justice.

"Never mind, only you prepare for the marriage."

All the runnings here and there had advanced her a little nearer on her way; and at last curiosity quite conquered fear. "And after all," what is it to me?" thought she; "sleep he, or wake he, I will pass him." But, however, she did not actually pass him; she stood still to look at him, for this flower dispenser must be looked at, in order to be recognized. And who, in

The Broken Pitcher.


"But she has never even given me a friendly | them so roughly down that he overset the beaulook; and if I sit down by her, off she scampers tiful pitcher, which broke in the fall. Rejoicing, like a wild thing." no doubt, in the mischief he had caused, he went his way.

"Never mind, only hurry your wedding a little."

"But suppose she should be obstinate?" "We'll conquer her obstinacy. We'll manage it through Father Jerome. Do you get all ready by next Monday morning for the wedding, in secret. I am her mother-you are the most important person in the village. She must obey; and, besides, she will know nothing of it beforehand. On Monday morning I shall send her to Father Jerome, early; then shall the pastor and her rebellious heart have a talk together. Half-an-hour afterwards we will follow her. Then to the altar; and if, when there, she does complain a little, what matters it? the old gentleman is so deaf he won't hear her. But don't hint a word of it to Mariette, or to any one else."

So it was arranged between them, without poor Mariette having an idea of the honour intended her. She thought of nothing but Colin's malicious behaviour, which had made her the talk of the village. Oh! how she blamed herself about her thoughtlessness as to the ribbon, and yet she could hardly find it in her heart to blame him; but Mariette was, in fact, far too kind-hearted. She said to her mother and young companions, "I did not give it to him: he found it. I have always known how evildisposed he has been towards me, always trying to vex and mortify me."

Ah! poor child, she little foresaw what misfortunes this mischievous fellow would cause



She took the jug in one hand, and Mariette by the other, and went immediately to the Justice's room, where he was administering the law; there she made her complaint with great volunewbility, and showed the broken jug and the ruined Paradise. Mariette wept bitterly. When the justice saw the mischief, and his promised bride's tears, he became so angry that his nose rivalled in colour Mariette's far-famed purple ribbon, and he sent the constable immediately for the offender. Colin came in great distress; Mother Manon recapitulated her complaint with great bitterness, but he did not listen to a word she said, but went up to Mariette, and whispered,


Forgive me, dearest Mariette, as I forgive you; I have only broken your pitcher, but you have broken my heart."


Early one morning, Mariette went to the Brunnen; where, however, no flowers lay. Perhaps she was too early, as the sun was only just rising over the sea. She heard steps suddenly, and turning round, beheld Colin with the flowers in his hand. Mariette coloured deeply; Colin stammered out, "Good morning, Mariette." But as it could not be supposed the greeting came from his heart, it is not to be wondered at that it scarcely escaped his lips.

"Why do you wear my ribbon so openly, Colin?" said Mariette; "I never gave it to you."

"You did not give it to me, Mariette!" said he, turning pale from anger.

Mariette felt ashamed of her evasion, and, casting down her eyes, said, "Well, if I did give it you, it was not to wear as a show. Give it back to me directly."

Mother Manon, who had seen and overheard everything, nearly lost her senses when the pitcher broke; she was horror-stricken, and hastily throwing her window open to abuse the mischief-doer, with her too great violence it also broke into pieces, and fell with an aggravating noise upon the ground. So many misfortunes at once would have made any woman lose her temper; but, however, she soon recovered herself. "It's a very good thing I saw him do it," said she; "I'll summon him before the Justice, and he shall pay for jug and window too, and that will be something towards your dowry, Mariette."

But Mariette was picking up the pieces of the jug; and when her mother saw her lost Paradise, and Adam without a head, Eve with broken legs, the snake unbroken, and apparently triumphing, the tiger unharmed, but the poor little lamb with nothing left of him but his tail, then indeed Manon broke out into loud execrations, and said, " Anybody might see it was some of the devil's handiwork."

Sighing, from anger or agitation, he slowly untied the ribbon; "Dear Mariette, let me keep it," said he.

"No," answered Mariette.

Then his long-felt anger burst forth; he looked mournfully on Mariette, who was standing with downcast eyes, and hastily winding the violet ribbon round the flowers, he exclaimed, "Take them both together, then!" and threw

"What are you whispering about there?" cried Herr Hautmarten, loudly; "come forward and defend yourself, Herr Colin."

"I have no need to defend myself," said he; "the jug was broken by accident."

"I am sure it was an accident," said Mariette, sobbing; "it was just as much my fault as his, for I vexed him and made him angry, and then he threw the flowers and ribbon carelessly at me."

"Can I believe my ears," said Mother Manon; are you taking up his defence? Pray, Herr Justice, settle the matter at once; he broke the jug-that at least he does not deny-and through him I broke the window; I hope he won't deny that."

[ocr errors]

"You cannot deny it, Herr Colin," said the Justice; "so you must pay the worth of the pitcher, 300 livres, and then for the window-"

"Stop! stop!" interrupted Colin; "the jug

did not cost so much; I only gave 100 livres for it in the fair when I bought it for Mariette." "You bought it, you shameless fellow!” said Herr Hautmarten, his whole face becoming purple with anger. He did not dare to say more, for fear of any light that might be thrown upon the subject; but Colin, getting desperate, answered, "I bought this pitcher myself, on the evening of the fair-day, and sent it by your own servant to Mariette; there is Jacques-ask him. Jacques, speak; did not I give you a box to carry to Mother Manon's?"

Herr Hautmarten would fain have stopped him, but the simple-hearted fellow would not be stopped, and said, "Just recollect, Herr Justice, you took Colin's box from me, and took the jug yourself to Mother Manon's; there is the box lying there now, under that heap of paper." Poor Jacques got roughly thrust out of the room, and Colin was also told to go about his business, till he was again wanted.

"Very well, Herr Hautmarten," said Colin; "but this shall be your last judgment in La Napoule. When you want me you may take the trouble to ride to Grasse, and you'll find me at the High Bailiff's Court." And away went Colin.

Now the justice was in great perplexity, and knew not what to do. Mother Manon shook her head; "Who'll pay now?" said she.

"Oh, I am already overpaid," said Mariette, with a beaming face.


Colin went that very day to the High Bailiff, and returned early the next morning. But the Herr Justice treated the matter very coolly, and told Mother Manon not to fret herself, for that he would wager the very nose on his face, that Colin would assuredly have to pay the 300 livres after all. He went with her to father Jerome about his marriage, and begged him earnestly to bring Mariette to a sense of her duty, as an obedient daughter, which the good old man promised, although he did not hear or understand half the words they screamed into

[blocks in formation]

So Mariette put on her Sunday robe, took the crown without any misgiving, and went towards the priest's house. On the way she met Colin, who greeted her kindly, but timidly; and when she told him where she was carrying the myrtle crown, he said he was going the same way, for that he had the tithe-money to pay the pastor. And as they walked together, Colin took her hand, though they both trembled as though they had been two criminals.


Have you at last forgiven me?" whispered

Colin. "Ah! Mariette, what have I done, that you should set yourself so against me?"

But she only said, "Be easy, Colin; you shall have the ribbon again, and I will always value the broken pitcher. But, tell me, was it really from you?"

"Can you yet doubt it, dear Mariette? Ah! if I might but give you everything! Will you now be friends with me?"

She gave him no answer, but just as they entered the pastor's door she gave him a glance, and whispered, "Dearest Colin." Just as he, overjoyed, kissed her hand, a door opened, and Father Jerome's venerable figure stood before them. The young people seemed as though awaking from a dream, and tremblingly held fast by one another; but whether from the agitation of the kiss, or the sudden appearance of the priest, I am sure I cannot tell.

Then Mariette gave the pastor the myrtle wreath; he put it on her head, and said solemnly, "My children, love one another;" and began speaking earnestly to the listening maiden on the propriety of her loving Colin; for the old man, from his deafness, had either not well heard the name of the bridegroom; or, from old recollections, thought Colin must be the one.

Then Mariette's feelings broke forth, and weeping she sobbed forth, "I have loved Colin a long while, but he has always hated me!"

"Hated you, Mariette!" exclaimed Colin; "my whole soul has been wrapped up in you ever since you came to La Napoule; but how could I hope you would return my love when you might have chosen any one in the whole village?"


Then why did you always avoid me, Colin? and choose any companions always in preference?"

"Oh! Mariette, I was always in fear and trembling when I saw you; I could never summon up courage to speak to you or be near you; and yet, if I was not near you, I was miserable."

As they thus rapidly spoke together, the good priest thought they were quarrelling, and kindly drawing them towards him, and towards one another, said entreatingly, "My children, love one another!"

Mariette sank on Colin's bosom, and he, throwing his arms round her, kissed her with a kiss of the truest affection. They forgot the priest, the whole world, and were quite entranced in each other. So preoccupied were they that they followed the delighted old priest into the church, without even knowing where they were going.


Mariette!" said Colin. "Colin!" said Mariette. There were already some worshippers in the church, who, with dumb astonishment, became witnesses of Mariette's marriage. Many went out before the end of the ceremony, in order to spread the intelligence through the village, that Colin and Mariette were married.

Father Jerome was charmed that all had passed off so well, and that he had met with so

The Midnight Vision.

much less opposition than he had expected. He | I bowed my head, for I could not dare took the newly-married couple back into the To gaze on the splendour reflected there; And this mystic charm had power to bless, rectory with him. As fountains spring in the wilderness!


There came Mother Manon, breathless; she had been waiting for the proper bridegroom; but it was no use, he did not come. At last she got so anxious that she went herself to Herr Hautmarten's; but there she learned something quite new. The High Bailiff had come himself, examined Herr Hautmarten's proceedings, and not finding them very satisfactory, had carried him off to Grasse.


Ah! that's some of Colin's mischief again," thought she; and away she went to the rectory to beg Father Jerome to excuse putting off the ceremony. But out came the good priest smiling, pleased and proud of his handiwork, and leading the newly married couple by the hand.

Now Mother Manon really was dumb with astonishment when she began to comprehend what had happened; but Colin had at last recovered his power of speech, and explained all about his love, the broken pitcher, and the Justice's falsehood, and how he had made his complaint before the High Bailiff, at Grasse. Then he begged for her blessing on them both, as she might well see that Mariette had been guilty of no fault.

Father Jerome, who, for a long time, could not be made to understand how he had married the wrong persons, raised his hands to heaven, and said, reverently, "Wonderful indeed are the ways of Providence!" Colin and Mariette kissed his hand; and, at last, Mother Manon, out of actual fear and wonder, gave the young people her blessing, remarking at the same time, that her head turned round, and she hardly knew what she did.

But, however, she was delighted with her unexpected son-in-law when she found how rich he was, and how badly Herr Hautmarten, of the great nose, fared at Grasse.

The Broken Pitcher was thenceforth considered as a treasure in the family, in whose possession it may be seen at the present day.

[blocks in formation]

But while soft airs around me stole,
As tho' to calm my troubled soul,
And the perfume from a thousand flowers
In sweetness lay round the myrtle bowers;
Whilst the lake, 'neath the spell of the clear moonlight,
Gleamed like a bride-all silvery white,
And the spirit-wind lay calm and still
As Night's fleet step sped o'er the hill,
As from the laurel's lordly bough
I wreathed a crown to grace thy brow,

A thousand thoughts of bygone years
Changed all my bliss to quivering tears-
When thou and I by fairy glade,
Hand locked in hand, together strayed,
Each heart the other's holy shrine,
Filled with the pure and the divine;
Then in my burning agony


longed for a glance of thy mortal eye; But in vain-in vain-my joy is o'er : I know we were parted to meet no more! Dark grief of the warm, confiding heart, To watch all its streams of youth depart― To see them vanish, one by one, And to the world's wide ocean run, Where Envy and Malice pace the decks, And the brighter feelings are battered wrecks. Far best that the friends of youth should die, Kept bright and pure in the memory; For the darkest grief of the human heart Is to watch all its streams of Trust depart. A. E. S.



Why art thou silent now?
Amid the festive throng

But late you wore the lightest brow,
And sang the lightest song;
Thy voice was first in jest or glee,
Thine eye with wit did glow-

What chance hath wrought this change in thee?
Why art thou silent now?

Why art thou silent now?
The lute neglected lies,

And shadow'd is thy beaming brow,
And clouded are thine eyes.

And those who envy thee the gaze, Beneath a lighter show,


Ask, when they speak of other days, Why thou art silent now?

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »