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In his sea tales the sea inter-penetrates with life; it

2023-12-01 21:37:25 source:A Spring Dream Netauthor: love click:708Second-rate

"Faith! I have but little love for him myself. But if my cousin likes him, what then, Patience?"

In his sea tales the sea inter-penetrates with life; it

"Your cousin does not like him. She thinks he is a good man; she thinks him genuine. She is mistaken; he deceives her, as he deceives everybody. Yes, I know: he is a man who has not any of this (and Patience put his hand to his heart). He is a man who is always proclaiming: 'In me behold the champion of virtue, the champion of the unfortunate, the champion of all the wise men and friends of the human race, etc., etc.' While I--Patience--I know that he lets poor folk die of hunger at the gates of his chateau. I know that if any one said to him, 'Give up your castle and eat black bread, give up your lands and become a soldier, and then there will be no more misery in the world, the human race--as you call it--will be saved,' his real self would answer, 'Thanks, I am lord of my lands, and I am not yet tired of my castle.' Oh! I know them so well, these sham paragons. How different with Edmee! You do not know that. You love her because she is as beautiful as the daisy in the meadows, while I--I love her because she is good as the moon that sheds light on all. She is a girl who gives away everything that she has; who would not wear a jewel, because with the gold in a ring a man could be kept alive for a year. And if she finds a foot-sore child by the road-side, she takes off her shoes and gives them to him, and goes on her way bare-footed. Then, look you, hers is a heart that never swerves. If to-morrow the village of Saint- Severe were to go to her in a body and say: 'Young lady, you have lived long enough in the lap of wealth, give us what you have, and take your turn at work'--'That is but fair, my good friends,' she would reply, and with a glad heart she would go and tend the flocks in the fields. Her mother was the same. I knew her mother when she was quite young, young as yourself; and I knew yours too. Oh, yes. She was a lady with a noble mind, charitable and just to all. And you take after her, they say."

In his sea tales the sea inter-penetrates with life; it

"Alas, no," I answered, deeply touched by these words of Patience. "I know neither charity nor justice."

In his sea tales the sea inter-penetrates with life; it

"You have not been able to practise them yet, but they are written in your heart. I can read them there. People call me a sorcerer, and so I am in a measure. I know a man directly I see him. Do you remember what you said to me one day on the heath at Valide? You were with Sylvain and I with Marcasse. You told me that an honest man avenges his wrongs himself. And, by-the-bye, Monsieur Mauprat, if you are not satisfied with the apologies I made you at Gazeau Tower, you may say so. See, there is no one near; and, old as I am, I have still a fist as good as yours. We can exchange a few healthy blows--that is Nature's way. And, though I do not approve of it, I never refuse satisfaction to any one who demands it. There are some men, I know, who would die of mortification if they did not have their revenge: and it has taken me --yes, the man you see before you--more than fifty years to forget an insult I once received . . . and even now, whenever I think of it, my hatred of the nobles springs up again, and I hold it as a crime to have let my heart forgive some of them."

"I am fully satisfied, Master Patience; and in truth I now feel nothing but affection for you."

"Ah, that comes of my scratching your back. Youth is ever generous. Come, Mauprat, take courage. Follow the abbe's advice; he is a good man. Try to please your cousin; she is a star in the firmament. Find out truth; love the people; hate those who hate them; be ready to sacrifice yourself for them. . . . Yes, one word more--listen. I know what I am saying--become the people's friend."

"Is the people, then, better than the nobility, Patience? Come now, honestly, since you are a wise man, tell me the truth."

"Ay, we are worth more than the nobles, because they trample us under foot, and we let them. But we shall not always bear this, perhaps. No; you will have to know it sooner or later, and I may as well tell you now. You see yonder stars? They will never change. Ten thousand years hence they will be in the same place and be giving forth as much light as to-day; but within the next hundred years, maybe within less, there will be many a change on this earth. Take the word of a man who has an eye for the truth of things, and does not let himself be led astray by the fine airs of the great. The poor have suffered enough; they will turn upon the rich, and their castles will fail and their lands be carved up. I shall not see it; but you will. There will be ten cottages in the place of this park, and ten families will live on its revenue. There will no longer be servants or masters, or villein or lord. Some nobles will cry aloud and yield only to force, as your uncles would do if they were alive, and as M. de la Marche will do in spite of all his fine talk. Others will sacrifice themselves generously, like Edmee, and like yourself, if you listen to wisdom. And in that hour it will be well for Edmee that her husband is a man and not a mere fop. It will be well for Bernard Mauprat that he knows how to drive a plough or kill the game which the good God has sent to feed his family; for old Patience will then be lying under the grass in the churchyard, unable to return the services which Edmee has done him. Do not laugh at what I say, young man; it is the voice of God that is speaking. Look at the heavens. The stars live in peace, and nothing disturbs their eternal order. The great do not devour the small, and none fling themselves upon their neighbours. Now, a day will come when the same order will reign among men. The wicked will be swept away by the breath of the Lord. Strengthen your legs, Seigneur Mauprat, that you may stand firm to support Edmee. It is Patience that warns you; Patience who wishes you naught but good. But there will come others who wish you ill, and the good must make themselves strong."

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