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Title: Seeing France with Uncle John
Author: Warner, Anne, 1869-1913
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Seeing France with Uncle John" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



  Transcribers note:
                     1. A minor error has been corrected in Chapter V
                        (Section on Beauvais) luuch changed to lunch.
                     2. Ligature [oe] replaced with oe.



  _Seeing France With Uncle John_



  [Illustration: "I held the guide-book and read the explanations, while
  he kept up a running contradiction of everything I read."]


       *       *       *       *       *


  _Seeing France With Uncle John_

  _By_

  _Anne Warner_

  _Author of "Susan Clegg and her friend Mrs. Lathrop," etc._

  _With Illustrations by_

  _May Wilson Preston_

  [Illustration]

  _New York The Century Co. 1906_


         *       *       *       *       *


  Copyright, 1906, by THE CENTURY CO.

  _Published October, 1906_

  THE DE VINNE PRESS



_List of Illustrations_


                                                                  PAGE
  "I held the guide-book and read the explanations,
      while he kept up a running contradiction of
      everything I read"                                _Frontispiece_

  "She lies still and talks to M. Sibilet"                           8

  "While we walk"                                                    9

  Rouen--Maison du XV siècle                                        24

  "'Richard Coeur-de-Lion--petrified, eh?'"                         33

  "'So that's the clock?'"                                          41

  "'There's been no tampering with _this_ ruin'"                    65

  "'This is as good a time as we'll have to study up on Gisors'"    79

  "'Tell her we want dinner for four, and prompt'"                  93

  Beauvais                                                          96

  "'What's that chopped-off creation before us?'"                   99

  "'Look how mad that old lady is'"                                105

  "We found our beloved relative"                                  116

  "She took hold of our hands as if she'd been our long-lost
      mother for years"                                            121

  Dreux                                                            150

  "Elfrida says they are seeing Europe nicely on less than a
      dollar a day, and Uncle said, 'Great Scott!'"                157

  Falaise                                                          160

  "Paid the man at the entrance and let him go"                    163

  "The coming down was awful"                                      168

  "'I'm happy that it will be out of the question for me ever to
      travel again'"                                               177

  "Lee was awfully rude and kept yawning, and  I know she didn't
      like it by the way she looked at him"                        195

  Caen                                                             198

  "He has his meals in his room, for he says he cannot even think
      calmly of a stair-case yet"                                  205

  Bayeux                                                           216

  "And it was Lee"                                                 221

  "We passed Elfrida and her sister to-day, pedaling along for
      dear life"                                                   228

  "Miss Clara Emily is getting very much in earnest"               245

  In Mont-Saint-Michel                                             276

  "Uncle sitting on the ramparts with Miss Clara Emily"            281

  "Mrs. Whalen has just come in to say she is going to Dol"        293

  A Street in Auray                                                301

  "When he went to wash I gave the waiter an extra tip to feed
      us quickly"                                                  303

  "Broke the bell-rope ordering breakfast"                         307

  "He told Mrs. Clary that he had foreseen this finale to our
      trip all along," etc.                                        315



_Seeing France With Uncle John_


       *       *       *       *       *


Seeing France With Uncle John



I

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                              _Second day out at sea._

Dear Mama: We did get off at last, about four in the afternoon, but you
never imagined anything like the day we had with Uncle John. It was
awful, and, as luck would have it, he just happened to go aft or
sou'west, or whatever it is on shipboard, in time to see them drop his
trunk into the hold, and they let it fall from such a height that he
swore for an hour. I don't see why Uncle is so unreasonable; a Russian
gentleman had the locks broken to both his trunks and just smiled, and a
very lovely Italian lady had her trunk caved in by the hoisting-rope and
only shrugged her shoulders; but Uncle turned the whole deck fairly
black and blue on account of a little fall into the hold. If Lee had
only been along to soothe him down! But Lee is in London by this time. I
do think he might have waited and gone with us, but Uncle says he's glad
he didn't, because he says he has more than half an idea that Lee's in
love with me, and that no girl alive could be happy with him. I wish
Uncle liked Lee better. I wish Lee wouldn't slap him on the back and
call him "old boy" the way he does.

Mrs. Clary doesn't like it because she has to sit next to the doctor and
talk English to him, and he can't talk English. She says whenever she
goes on board a liner the doctor always spots her as intelligent-looking,
and has her put next to him for English purposes. She says she's made
seven trips as nursery-governess to a doctor with linguistic aspirations.
The consequence is, she has most of her meals on deck with a man named
Mr. Chopstone. Uncle doesn't like Mr. Chopstone, because he says he has
a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Chopstone admires Edna. He says Edna could
never be happy with a man like Mr. Chopstone.

More later.


                                                     _Fourth day out._

I've been writing Lee; I can mail it at Plymouth. It does seem to me as
if Lee might have waited and gone with us.

We are nicely adjusted now, and Uncle has had his trunk brought to his
room, and has examined the corners and found them intact; so now the
trunk is off his mind. But he has almost had fits over a man named
Monsieur Sibilet, so the situation has been about as brimstony as ever.
M. Sibilet is a Frenchman going back to France, but his chair is next to
Mrs. Clary's, and Uncle says steamer-chairs are never accidents, but
are always premeditated and with intent to kill. He asked Mrs. Clary if
she couldn't see that no woman could ever be happy with a dancing
fan-tan like Sibilet. We didn't know what a "fan-tan" was, but we all
agreed with Uncle's premises as to poor monsieur; and then it developed
that there is a Mme. Sibilet deathly sick down below, and Uncle said
that he had known it all the time and was only joking.

Edna and Harry are very happy, but they have to be awfully careful,
because Uncle says he has a half-fledged notion that Harry is paying
attention to Edna, and that he won't allow anything of the kind--not for
one York second. We don't know what a "York second" is, and we haven't
asked. Uncle plays poker nights, and we make the most of it. There is a
nice Yale man on board, and I walk around with him. His name is Edgar.
Uncle says he looks as if he had his bait out for a fortune, but Mrs.
Clary says to never mind it--to go right on walking. She lies still
while we walk, and talks to M. Sibilet in French.

[Illustration: "She lies still and talks to M. Sibilet"]

Uncle says he is the head of this expedition, and there's to be no
foolishness. He says it's all rot about a man not being able to see
through women, and that Edna and I needn't expect to keep any secrets
from him. I do wish Lee was here to soothe him down. He was so furious
to-day because he shut up his wash-stand and let the tooth-powder slide
to perdition. M. Sibilet offered him an extra box of his own, but Uncle
wasn't a bit grateful. He says he is sure M. Sibilet is in love with
Mrs. Clary now, or why under the sun should he offer him his
tooth-powder? He says he thinks it's disgraceful, considering poor Mme.
Sibilet, and he took mine instead.

More later.

[Illustration: "While we walk"]


                                                      _Sixth day out._

I do wish we were in Havre, or anywhere where Uncle had more room. The
third officer invited him up on the bridge yesterday, and Uncle says you
needn't tell him that any third officer in this world ever would invite
him up to the bridge unless he had his eye on Edna or me. Uncle says for
Edna and me to remember that old uncles have eyes as well as young third
officers, and to bear in mind that it would be a dog's life to be
married to a third officer. I'm beginning to be very glad, indeed, that
Lee took another steamer; I reckon Lee saw how it would be. Uncle says
he'd like to know what we took a slow steamer for, anyhow. He says it
would have been more comfortable to have all been in death agonies and
to have been in Havre by this time. He was terribly upset to-day by Mme.
Sibilet's coming on deck and proving to be an old lady with white hair
and the mother of monsieur instead of the wife. He says you needn't talk
to him about French honor after this. We don't know what the connection
is between poor old Mme. Sibilet and French honor, but we think it best
not to ask. The truth is, Uncle lost all patience with M. Sibilet the
day it rained and pitched--I think it was the third day out. He never
did like him very much, anyhow. Mrs. Clary wanted to sit in the wind
that day, and she and monsieur sat in the wind until the rain grew so
bad that they were absolutely driven to come around and sit by Uncle,
under the lee of the port, or whatever it is on board ship. Monsieur
lugged Mrs. Clary's chair because he couldn't find a steward, and he
brought it around by the smoking-room and the whole length of the deck,
with the steamer pitching so that half the time he was on top of the
chair, and the other half of the time the chair was on top of him. There
was no one on deck but us, on account of the storm, and I thought we
should die laughing, because there were forty empty chairs under shelter
already. Uncle waited until, with a final slip and a slide, the poor man
landed the chair, and then he screamed: "I say, Sibbilly, just take the
cards out and change _them_ another time. That's the way we Americans
do."

You should have seen poor monsieur's face! Uncle said the whole affair
gave him a queer feeling as to what might be in store for us in France.
He said if M. Sibilet was a sample Frenchman, he thought he wouldn't get
off at Havre, after all.

Mrs. Clary is in lots of trouble over the doctor. He comes up on deck
and bothers her half to death, talking English. She can't understand his
English, and M. Sibilet gets tired translating. M. Sibilet speaks seven
languages. Uncle says that's nothing to his credit, however.

More later.


                                                      _Ninth day out._

Uncle is in high spirits to-day, for he won the pool. He has been so
disgusted because Mr. Edgar has won it three times. Uncle says that's no
sign he'd be a good husband, though. I do think Uncle's logic is so very
peculiar. He came into my state-room to-day and asked me if I didn't
think the doctor was absolutely impertinent in the way he was pursuing
Mrs. Clary. You'd have thought the doctor tore after her around the
deck, to hear him. He said he expected to have trouble with Edna and me,
but he never looked for Mrs. Clary to be a care. He said he didn't
suppose she was over forty, but she ought to consider appearances more.
He was quite put out, and I am gladder than ever that Lee isn't with us.

We laughed ourselves half sick to-day over Mr. Chopstone. Uncle's
port-hole doesn't work very easily, and Mr. Chopstone heard him talking
about it to himself as he passed in the corridor, and he went in to help
him. Uncle asked Mr. Chopstone if he had a crow-bar or a monkey-wrench
with him, and Mr. Chopstone didn't have a crow-bar or a monkey-wrench
with him, but said why not ring for the steward. Uncle wouldn't hear to
the steward, and so they climbed on the divan together and tried to pry
it with Uncle's hair-brush.

The hair-brush broke, and Uncle went spinning, but Mr. Chopstone caught
his cuff in the crack, and it tore, and half of his shirt-sleeve with a
diamond cuff-link went to sea. At first we all felt awful about it, but
he was so composed that Edna said he must be a millionaire, and Uncle
said it must be a paste diamond. That is all only preliminary to the
funny part. This afternoon we were lying in our chairs and Uncle was
standing by the rail looking at a ship. All of a sudden he exclaimed,
"Great Scott! Chopstone, if there isn't your cuff!" Mr. Chopstone made
just one bound from his chair to the rail, and looked over so hard that
his cap fell into the sea. Of course the mere idea of the cuff having
sailed as fast as we did all day used us up completely, and Uncle in
particular had to hang to the rail for support while he sort of wove
back and forth in an ecstasy of speechless joy. Even M. Sibilet was
overcome by mirth, although it turned out afterward that he thought the
fun was on account of the lost cap. And then, when we got ourselves
selves under control once more, Mr. Chopstone explained that what he had
thought was that the cuff had caught somewhere on the outside of the
steamer and that Uncle saw it hanging there. Edna says that it all
shows that poor Mr. Chopstone is _not_ a millionaire, and Mrs. Clary
says it proves, too, that it _was_ a real diamond.

It is beginning to seem like a pretty long trip, and Mrs. Clary has
started packing her trunk. The little flag that marks our progress
across the chart is making Europe in great jumps, and we are all glad.
Uncle gets more restless every day, and he says if the doctor don't quit
coming up on deck to talk to Mrs. Clary, something will soon drop. The
doctor is really very amusing; he says the first officer has a pet
"marmadillo," but we cannot see it because it is too anxious. He means
"frightened," it seems. Mr. Edgar is very nice; both he and Mr.
Chopstone are going to Paris. Lee will be in Paris by Wednesday, I
hope, and I most sincerely trust he will keep on the right side of
Uncle.

They say we will land early day after to-morrow. I can mail my letters
in Plymouth to-morrow evening. Uncle says he's going express hereafter;
he says no more dilly-dally voyages for him.


                                                      _Tenth day out._

What do you think! Uncle took me into the parlor after dinner to-night
and told me that he wasn't going to Paris with the rest. He says he
didn't come abroad to scurry around like a wild rabbit, and that he's
going to stop in Havre for a day or two. He says Edna and I had better
stay with him, as he can't think of our traveling with Mr. Edgar and
Mr. Chopstone alone. I said, "But there's Mrs. Clary." And he said,
"Yes; but you forget Sibbilly." I do think Uncle's logic is so
remarkable.


                                                   _Eleventh day out._

Everybody is getting their trunks in from the baggage-room and running
to the rail to look at ships. Uncle won the pool again to-day; he says
this is one of the pleasantest trips he ever made, and he shook hands
with M. Sibilet when he met him on deck this morning.

Mrs. Clary is awfully upset over our staying in Havre, and she says if
Lee is in Paris he won't like it, either. We expect a mail in Plymouth.


                                                              _Later._

The mail came, and I had a letter from Lee. He is going to Russia for a
week, and he folded in an extra piece, saying to give Uncle the letter.
It was a funny kind of letter, but of course it had to be a funny kind
of letter if I was to give it to Uncle. I gave it to Uncle, and he said,
"Hum!" and that was all. He says if Mr. Edgar or Mr. Chopstone stay in
Havre he'll know the reason why. I do think Uncle might be more
reasonable. Edna has been crying. She doesn't want to stay in Havre;
she wants to go to Paris when Harry goes.

                                           Yours with love, as ever,
                                                               YVONNE.



II

UNCLE JOHN IN ROUEN


                                                                9 A.M.

"Well, girls, are you ready to get up and out and set about improving
your minds? I've been reading the guide-book and spilling my coffee with
trying to do two things at once, ever since eight o'clock. But what your
Uncle John doesn't know about Rouen now isn't worth stopping to look up
in the index. Why, I've even got the real French twang to the
pronunciation. It's Rooank; only you stop short of the 'n' and the 'k,'
so to speak. The waiter who brought my breakfast showed me how to do
it--said he never saw a foreigner catch on to the trick so quick before.
I gave him one of those slim little quarters they have here, and he was
so pleased that he taught me how to say 'Joan of Arc' for nothing. It's
Shondark--_Shondark_. I learned it in no time. Well, come on, if you're
ready. I've been waiting almost an hour.

[Illustration: Rouen--Maison du XV siècle]

"I declare, but this fresh, free atmosphere is refreshing! As soon as
you get outside of your bedroom door you begin to get the full benefit
of the Continental climate. I presume, if you're poor, you get it as
soon as you get outside of your bed clothes. Rather a medieval
staircase, eh? And four orange-trees at the bottom to try and fool us
into feeling balmy. However, I don't mind little discomforts: all I mind
is being shut up on a ship with a darned fool like that man Sibbilly. I
shouldn't wonder if his mother was his wife, after all. I could believe
anything of him. I didn't like him.

"We'll go to take in the cathedral first; it isn't far, and I've got it
all by heart. Thirteenth century and unsymmetrical--you must remember
that. There, that's it ahead there--with the scaffolding. They're
bolstering it up somewhat, so as to keep on hooking tourists, I presume.
The biggest tower is the Butter Tower, built out of paid-for permissions
to eat butter in Lent. Rather a rough joke, its being so much the
biggest, isn't it? The whole cathedral's lopsided from eating butter, so
to speak. I believe it's the thing to stop in front and act as if you
were overcome; so we'll just call a halt here and take in the general
effect of the scaffolding.

"Now we'll walk around the whole thing. I haven't come abroad to take
life with a hop, skip, and jump; I've come to be thorough, and I want
you girls to form the habit of being thorough, too. What I didn't like
about that fellow Edgar was his not being thorough. When he went down to
look at the ship's machinery he only stayed an hour. Now, I didn't go at
all; but if I had gone, I should have stayed more than an hour. Good job
of scaffolding, isn't it? You see, they make the scaffolding out of
young trees withed together, and use them over and over. Economical.
Just about what you'd expect of Sibbilly. Those gargoyles and saints
around the top stick their heads out pretty interested-like, don't they?
But their view is for the most part blocked. Now this cheerful old jail
at the back is the palace of the archbishop. I wish, young ladies, that
you would note those little bits of high windows and the good thick bars
across them as illustrating the secure faith that the dead and gone
archbishops had in their loving people. I'll bet there's been plenty of
battering and rioting around under these walls, first and last; plenty
of fists and sticks and stones. It's big, isn't it? Big as half a block,
and things look so much bigger here than they do at home. They slide a
roof up slanting and cock it full of little crooked windows, and you
feel as if you must tip over backward to take in the top. I vow, I don't
just see how it's done; but--oh, here's where we go in. This dark, damp
little stone-paved alley is the celebrated 'Portail des Libraires,' so
called because those arcades used to be full of book-stalls. We go along
on the cobble-stones, throw ourselves hard against this little swinging
door; it creaks, it yields, we enter--hush!

"Great Scott, isn't it big, and _isn't_ it damp? Will you look up in
that roof? I feel solemn in spite of myself; but, then, feeling solemn
is no use: what we want to do is to find some one to open those big iron
gates, for the most of what is to see is in back there. Edna, you ask
that man how we can get hold of some other man. Well, what did he say?
Said to ask the Swiss, did he? What does he mean by that? Is it a joke,
or can't they trust a Frenchman with their old relics? I've been told
that in Japanese banks they always have to have a Chinaman to handle the
money, and maybe it's equally the thing in a French cathedral to have a
Swiss look after the relics. But the guide-book never said a word about
a Swiss: it said '_fee_,' and I've got my pocket full of them.

"Well, where can we get a Swiss? I should think he'd be more handy than
he appears to be. There's another man looking for him, too. He--Great
Scott! if it isn't--no, that is impossible. Yes, it is!

"I beg your pardon, sir, but is your name Porter? Yes? Robert
Porter--Bobby Porter that went to the Washington School? Bob, do you
remember me? Well, of all the larks!

"Girls, this man and I went to school side by side for eight years, and
he's the finest--my nieces, Bob. That's Edna and this is Yvonne,
and--you don't say he's your son? Didn't know you ever married. Oh, I'll
take your word for it, of course; but, I say, Bob, you've got to come
and dine with us to-night. You must; I won't have it any other way. You
and I'll have to just sit down and overhaul all our old memories
together. Do you remember--but how do you come to be in Europe, anyhow;
and what liner did you line up on? We had a beastly trip,--only came
from Havre last night,--and, by the way, how in thunder can we get hold
of the man who opens these iron gates? Everything in the place is back
there.

"Is that a Swiss--that splendid circus-chariot driver? Give you my word,
I thought he was a cardinal! How much of a tip is that much gold lace
going to look forward to getting? I wish he was plainer, somehow. I'll
tell you, Bob; you pay, and I'll settle up later. I certainly am glad to
see the gates open; I felt more like a serpent shut out of paradise than
I ever expected to feel in all my life.

"Well, now we begin. Who's buried here? Henry II of England, eh? I
can't read Latin, so Henry's virtues and dates are all one to me. Which
Henry was he, anyhow--the one with six wives or the one who never shed a
smile? Either way, let's move on.

"What comes next? Richard-Coeur-de-Lion--petrified, eh? Oh, only a statue
of him; that's less interesting. I thought at last I was looking at
Richard when he was himself again. What is our Swiss friend hissing
about? Heart buried underneath? Whose heart?--Richard's? Ask if it's his
bona fide heart or only a death-mask of it? Strikes me as a pretty big
statue to put up to a heart, don't you think, Bob? But come on; I want
to be looking at something else.

[Illustration: "'Richard Coeur-de-Lion--petrified, eh?'"]

"So this is the tomb of the husband of Diana of Poitiers? I didn't know
she ever had a husband--thought she only had a king. I've never been
brought up to think of Diana of Poitiers mourning a husband. But maybe
she did, maybe she did. They say you must check your common sense at the
hotel when you set out to inspect Europe, and I believe it--I believe
it. It's a nice tomb, and if they kneel and mourn in a gown with a
train, she certainly is doing it up brown. However, let's go on.

"Two cardinals of Amboise kind of going in procession on their knees
over their own dead bodies--or maybe it's only hearts again. Well, Bob,
the Reformation was a great thing, after all, wasn't it? Must have felt
fine to straighten up for a while. Stop a bit; the guide-book said
there was something to examine about these two--wait till I find the
place. Oh, well, never mind; I dare say a guide-book's very handy, but I
move we quit this damp old hole, anyway. I wouldn't bother to come
again. That's a sad thing about life, Bob; as soon as you get in front
of anything and get a square look at it, you're ready to move on--at
least I am.

"What's he saying? Well, ask him again. Whose grave? Well, ask him
again. Rollo's! What, Rollo that was 'At Work' and 'At Play' and at
everything else when we were kids? Another? What other? Well, ask him.
Rollo the Norman? I don't see anything very remarkable in a Norman being
buried in Normandy, do you, Bob? When did he die? Well, _ask_ him. What
are we paying him for, anyway? Died about 900, eh! And this church
wasn't built till four hundred years later. Where did he spend the time
while he was waiting to be buried? Well, ask him. I declare, if I could
talk French, I bet I'd know something about things. You are the
_dumbest_ lot! Here's Rollo lying around loose for as long as we've had
America with us, and no one takes any interest in where. Is that the
tomb he finally got into? Clever idea to have it so dark no one can see
it, after all. I suppose he thinks we'll be impressed, but I ain't. I
don't believe Rollo's in there, anyhow.

"Come on; I'm tired of this old church. I move that we go out and look
at the place where they burned Joan of Arc, or something else that is
bright and cheerful. What's he saying? No, I don't want to see any
treasury; I've done enough church-going for one week-day. Give him his
money, Bob, and let's get out. You tell us where to go next; you must
know everything, if you were here all day yesterday. I want to see that
double-faced clock and those carvings of the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
They're all over in the same direction.

"Good to be out in the air, eh? I vow, I never was great on churches.
What boat did you come over on? Did it roll? Ours rolled and pitched,
too. I never saw such a rolling. I tell you, Bob, the man will make a
fortune who invents a level liner. I used to try and figure on how to
hang the passenger department in an open square, so it could swing
free,--do you get the idea?--but I don't know as it could be managed. I
was trying to work it out one morning, and I came up against the
wash-stand so sudden that I thought I was cut in two; the next second I
went backward so quick that the edge of the berth nearly amputated my
legs; and then the whole craft arose on such a swell that I swallowed
half my tooth-brush. You may laugh, Bob, but I'm not telling this to be
funny; I'm telling it for a fact. I had to have the steward in to put
the washing-apparatus to rights, and I asked him what in thunder was up
outside. He was standing at an angle of forty-five degrees, looking up
at me where I sat in the lower berth, and he said, 'If the wind shifts,
we're very likely to have it rough.' Just then he took on an angle of
ninety-five degrees, and my trunk slid out on his feet so quick he had
to hop. I said: 'Have it _rough_, eh? Well, I'm glad to know, so that I
can take advantage of this calm spell.'

[Illustration: "'So that's the clock!'"]

"So that's the clock! Well, it's a big one, surely--almost as wide as
the street, although candor compels us to own that the street is about
the narrowest ever. All right, I'm done; a clock is a clock, and one
look in its face always tells me all I want to know. Come on; we can't
stand dilly-dallying if we're to get through Rouen to-day, and I must
say I consider a day to a town as quite enough in Europe. I know, when
I was young and traveled for wholesale shoes, I used often and often to
do three towns a day and never turn a hair. I tell you, Bob, when I
was--

"Is that the fountain? Hold on; we want to see that! The guide-book has
it in italics. I don't see anything to underline, though; looks foreign
to me. Come on; we've got to be getting somewhere, or I shall feel I was
a fool to stop off at Rouen. Not that I'm not glad to have met you
again, Bob; but that could have happened anywhere else just as well, you
know. When did you come over? Last year! Great Scott, what are you
staying so long for? I bet I get enough in six weeks; I feel as if I'd
got pretty close to enough now. Not that time ever hangs heavy on my
hands, you know. No, not by a long shot. I'm the kind of man that can
always amuse himself. Give me a fair show,--off a ship, of course,--and
I'll defy any one to get on better. Take the day we landed, for
instance, there in Havre,--rainy, not a thing to do, and every one else
off for Paris. You might have looked for me to be a little disgusted,
naturally; but not a bit of it. The day went like the wind. We landed at
noon, I slept all the afternoon, and in the evening I took a bath. I
tell you, Bob, a fellow with brains can get on anywhere. I never know
what it is to feel bored.

"What's our Goddess of Liberty doing up there? What's that Indian
beadwork around her feet for? Who? You don't mean to tell me that's Joan
of Arc? Well, all I can say is, I never imagined her like that. But what
are the beads? French funeral wreaths! Great Scott! do they keep
Charlemagne wreathed, too, or is five hundred years the bead-wreath
limit? Pretty idea, to put up a fountain where they burnt her--keep her
memory damp at all events, eh? What's the moral of her train turning
into a dolphin? Just to bring the mind gradually down to the level of
the fact that it is a fountain, after all, I suppose.

"She wasn't burnt here, anyhow, the book said. The book said she was
burnt farther over. Smart people here--have two places where she was
burnt, so people must trot through the whole market if they try to be
conscientious. Look at that woman, with her bouquet of live
chickens--novel effect in chickens, eh, Bob? Strikes me it was an
enterprising idea to burn Joan in the market, anyhow--good business for
the market. Folks come to see the statue, and incidentally buy some
peanuts.

"Well, where can we go now? I say to set out and have a look at the
tower where she was imprisoned. Pulled down! It isn't, either; it's
starred in the book. What's that? This tower named for her, and hers
pulled down! Well, there's French honor for you again. What do you think
of Sibbilly now, Edna? I don't want to see the tower if it ain't the
real one. I want to see the bas-reliefs of the Field of the Cloth of
Gold, and then I want to go back to the hotel to lunch. I tell you, this
sight-seeing is a great appetizer. The more old ruins and burnings I
look over, the hungrier I get.

"Is this the place? Makes me think of a sort of glorified gate to a
woodyard. What is it, now? Well, ask somebody! A bank, eh? Are those the
famous bas-reliefs? Those! Them! Well, well, I must say the touring
public is easy game. They're all worn off. What's the tin overhead for?
To keep the rain from damaging them, eh? Pretty bit of sarcasm, eh, Bob?
Great pity they didn't think to put it four or five hundred years
sooner. I don't see a man with a head or a horse with a leg from here.
It lacks character, to my idea. Let's go home. Come on. I've racked
around Rouen all I care to for one day."



III

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                              _Rouen._

Dearest Mama: It is midnight, and I must tell you the most astonishing
piece of news. We came here with Uncle last night, and all this morning
we were out with him. When we came home and unlocked our room we found
_Lee_ sitting by the window. But he doesn't want Uncle to know. It was
fortunate that Uncle's room is across the hall, for I screamed. We
couldn't see how he got in, but he says that he has bent a buttonhook
so that he can travel all over Europe. It seems he never meant to go to
Russia at all; but he doesn't want Uncle to know. He says he thinks
Russia is a good place for Uncle to imagine him in. We had such fun! We
told him all about the voyage and all about Uncle. He says M. Sibilet's
mother _is_ his wife--he married her for money. He says he's a painter.
Lee is really going yachting, but he doesn't want Uncle to know. He
isn't going for a while, though; and he doesn't want Uncle to know that,
either. While we were talking, Uncle rapped, and Lee had to get into the
wardrobe while Uncle came in and read us a lecture. When we were in the
cathedral to-day he found a man he used to know in school, and he was
utterly overjoyed until he saw that the man had a son; and then, of
course, he was worried over the son. So he came in to-night to tell us
that it he discovered any skylarking, he should at once give up a
friendship which had always meant more to him than we young things could
possibly imagine. He said we must understand that he'd have no sort of
foolishness going on, and at that the wardrobe creaked so awfully that
Edna had a fit of coughing, and I didn't know what I should have if he
kept on. He didn't go until it was high lunch-time, and I was afraid Lee
would have to stay in the wardrobe until he smothered. When Uncle was
gone, Edna asked Lee how under the sun he kept still, and he said he
nearly died, because so many hooks hooked into his coat and he had
nothing to perch on except shoe-trees. I do think Lee is so clever. I
wish Uncle thought so, too. He went to his room, and we lunched with
Uncle, Mr. Porter, and Mr. Porter, Jr.; and afterward we visited the
church of the Bon-Secours and the monument to Jeanne d'Arc. She stands
on top, her hands manacled, with her big, frightened eyes staring sadly
and steadily out over the town where she met death. Uncle admired her so
much that he tripped on one of the sheep that are carved on the steps,
and after that he didn't admire anything or anybody. We got back about
five, and Lee came in for a visit of an hour. Lee says he had a fine
voyage. It stormed, and he says he never was battened down with such a
lively lot of people. Uncle came in twice while he was there, but Lee
has the wardrobe by heart now, and doesn't take a second. He says the
men he's going yachting with are great sport, and he expects to have the
time of his life. I do wish Uncle liked Lee, so that he could go around
with us these days; he would be so much fun.

We are going to Jumièges to-morrow, Uncle says. Lee says he must take
the early train for Havre. He's just been in to say good-by. He brought
a cherry-tart and his shoe-horn, and we had ours, and so we had no
trouble at all in eating it.

It has raised my spirits lots, seeing Lee. It seemed so terrible for him
to go off to Russia like that. Uncle spoke of it yesterday. He said he
was glad to have one worry off his mind and safe in Russia. The wardrobe
squeaked merrily.

Now good-by.

                                                    Love from
                                                               YVONNE.



IV

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                              _Rouen._

Dear Mama: Lee is gone. I do wish he could have stayed longer, but he
thought it was risky. Uncle John was sure he smelt cigarette smoke in my
room, and although it wasn't true at all, Edna cried and said the
wardrobe was getting on her nerves, and Lee said he reckoned he'd take
his button-hook and move on. We had an awful time bidding him good-by,
for Uncle came in three times, and the second time he had lost his
umbrella and thought it must be in our wardrobe. I never was so
frightened in all my life; for, you know, if Uncle had been hunting for
his umbrella and had found Lee, he wouldn't have liked it at all. Edna
volunteered to look in the wardrobe, and I know I must have looked
queer, for Uncle asked if I'd taken cold. You know how much I think of
Lee, but I couldn't help being relieved when he was gone. It is such a
responsibility to have a man in your wardrobe so much of the time. He
said that I must try to steer Uncle toward Brittany, because he'll be
yachting all around there. He says I must mark places in the Baedeker
with strips of paper. He says that's a fine way to make any one go
anywhere, and that if Edna and I will talk Italy and mark Brittany,
Uncle is almost sure to wind up in the Isle of Jersey. Lee says he
wishes he'd been kinder to Uncle in America, and then he'd like him
better in Europe. He's afraid Uncle will never forgive him for taking
him bobbing that time and dumping him off in the snow. It was too bad.

We went to Jumièges to-day. Uncle found it in the guide-book, and we
took an eleven-o'clock train. Mr. Porter and his son were late, and just
had time to get into the rear third-class coach. Uncle was much
distressed until we came to Yainville, where the train stopped, and they
got out. Uncle wanted them to get in with us, and he talked so forcibly
on the subject that the train nearly started again before Mr. Porter
could make him understand that Yainville is where you get off for
Jumièges.

I do wish it wasn't so hard to turn Uncle's ideas another way when he's
got them all wrong.

Yainville has a red-brick depot on the edge of a pleasant, rolling
prairie, but there is a little green omnibus to hyphenate it with
Jumièges. We were a very tight fit inside, for of course we could only
sit in Uncle's lap, and he didn't suggest it, so I had to hold Edna; and
Mr. Porter and his son knew Uncle well enough not to suggest taking her.
I thought that we should never get there; and it was so tantalizing,
for the country became beautiful, and we could only see it in little
triangular bits between shoulders and hats. Young Mr. Porter wanted to
get out and walk, but Uncle said, "Young man, when you are as old as I
am, you will know as much as I do," so he gave up the idea. I do believe
we were cooped up for a solid hour before we finally rolled down a
little bit of a hill into a little bit of a village, and climbed stiffly
out into the open air.

We all had to cry out with wonder and admiration then, it was really so
wonderful. On one side were the hills, with the Seine winding off toward
Paris; and on the other side was the wood, with the ragged ruins of the
abbey-church walls towering up out of the loftiest foliage. Uncle
thought we had better go and see all there was to be seen directly, so
we walked off down the little road with a funny feeling of being partly
present and partly past, but very well content.

The story goes that one of the ancient French kings took two young
princes of a rival house, crippled them, put them on a boat, and set
them afloat at Paris. They drifted down the current as far as this spot,
and here they were rescued. They founded a monastery in gratitude, and
their tomb was in the church, which is now in ruins. Later we saw the
stone, with their effigies, in the little museum by the gate. They were
called "Les Deux Enervés," in reference to their mutilation. Uncle
thought the word meant "nervous," and we heard him say to Mr. Porter,
"Well, who wouldn't have been, under the circumstances?" The whole of
the abbey is now the private property of a lady who lives in a nice
house up over back beyond somewhere. She built the lodge, and also a
little museum for relics from the ruins, and has stopped the wholesale
carrying off of stones from the beautiful remnants of what must have
once been a truly superb monument. I am sure I shall never in all my
life see anything more grand or impressive than the building as it is
to-day. It is much the same plan as the cathedral at Rouen, only that
that has been preserved, and this has been long abandoned. It is so
curious to think of the choir which we saw yesterday, with its chapels
and stained glass, and then to compare it with this roofless and
windowless one, out of the tops of the walls of which fir-trees--big
ones--are growing. You don't know what a strange sensation it is to see
trees growing out of the tops of ruined walls the foundations of which
were laid by Charlemagne's relatives. Edna and I felt very solemn, and
Uncle was quiet ever so long, and then only said, "I vow!" The grass is
growing in the nave and transept, and the big carved pediments stick up
through the turf here and there, with moss and lichen clinging to the
shadowy sides. The rows of pillars are pretty even, and the set of big
arches above are mostly all there still. There were a third and a fourth
gallery above, and although they are fallen away in places, still you
can see exactly how it used to be. When you look away up to the fourth
tier of columns, the main walls of the nave are still soaring higher
yet; and when you follow the sky-line of their vastness, you see the two
mighty towers rising, rising, straight up toward heaven, with the rooks
whirling and circling about them and screaming in the oddest, most
awfully mournful manner. I'm sure I shall never feel the same way again,
not even if I live to be a thousand years old myself. I felt overcome; I
felt a way that I never felt before. I don't know what I felt.

Uncle was delighted; he sighed with satisfaction. "This is the real
thing," he said to Mr. Porter; "I like this. You can see that there's
been no tampering with _this_ ruin." Mr. Porter looked up at the sky
above and said: "I should say that there had been considerable tampering
with this ruin. I will take my oath that the whole of the little town
yonder was built with the stone taken from these walls and those of the
monastery buildings."

[Illustration: "There's been no tampering with _this_ ruin"]

Uncle is getting very nervous over Mr. Porter, Jr., because he walks
around with Edna so much; so we were not allowed out of his sight during
the visit, and didn't explore half as much as we wanted to. The little
museum was really very interesting, and had the tombstone of one of Joan
of Arc's judges. I feel very sorry for Joan's poor judges. They had
to do as they were bid, and have been execrated for it ever since.

We came home late in the afternoon, and Mr. Porter found a telegram
calling him to Brussels on business, so he and his son said good-by
hurriedly and took a half-past-six train. Uncle said at dinner that it
was a strange thing to see how, after forty-five years of seeing the
world, a man could still be the same as when one had to do all his sums
for him at school. We absorbed this luminous proposition in silence, and
then Uncle looked severely at Edna and said that at the rate that things
were progressing he wouldn't have been surprised to have had a John
Gilpin in the family any day. We were struck dumb at this threat or
prophecy or whatever was intended, and went meekly to bed. Edna had a
letter from Lee and I had one from Harry. Lee didn't dare write me and
Harry didn't dare write Edna because of Uncle. But they each sent the
other their love.

Uncle wants to go to Gisors to-morrow.

P. S. I must add a line to tell you that Mrs. Braytree and the four
girls have arrived. They saw Uncle on the stairs coming up, and all came
straight to our room. They landed yesterday, and had a real good
passage, only Eunice fell out of the berth and sprained her wrist. She
has it in a sling. They had a hard time arranging about the dog, as the
hotel didn't want him in the rooms. He is one of those dogs that look
scratchy and whiny at the first glance. Mrs. Braytree has lost her keys,
so she sat with us while the hotel people got a man to open her trunks.
She says she's in no hurry to unpack, for she had so many bottles she's
almost positive one cork at least must have come out. They entirely
forgot to bring any hairpins and suffered dreadfully on shipboard on
that account. They had trouble with one of their port-holes too, and
Mrs. Braytree and Uncle are both going to carry crowbars at sea
hereafter.

They are going to stay here a week. It's so nice to meet some one from
home!

                                              Always yours lovingly,
                                                               YVONNE.



V

UNCLE JOHN EN ROUTE


                                                              _Rouen._

"Come on, girls, this is quite an expedition. I vow I shook a little
when Mrs. Braytree suggested coming, too. Seven women to one man would
be too many for comfort as a general thing; but your Uncle John never
shows the white feather, so I only drew the line at the dog. Why the
devil five women want to travel with one dog and eight trunks I can't
see; but if I was Mrs. Braytree, I'd probably know more about it.
Curious little creature, the cross-eyed one, isn't she? And that
Pauline--always wanting to be somewhere else. I told her pretty flatly
at dinner that if she couldn't get any more fun out of Rouen than by
wishing it was St. Augustine, she'd better have stayed in New York.
Anything but these fault-finders.

"Well, ain't you ready? I've sent the luggage along, and it seems to me
that we ought to be following its good example. Lord knows, two days is
enough to waste in an old hole like Rouen; I was wondering last night
what we ever came for. I never was so cold anywhere in my life, and
sleeping on a slope with a pillow on your feet isn't my idea of comfort
at night, anyhow. I don't understand the moral of the scheme, and the
pillow keeps sliding, and I keep swearing, all night long. Also, I can't
learn to appreciate the joy of standing on a piece of oil-cloth to wash.
I must say that one needs to wear an overcoat and ear-muffs to wash
here, anyhow. I was dancing under the bell-rope and ringing for hot
water a good half-hour this morning. I'm going to write and have the
asterisk subtracted from this hotel.

"Well, come on, if you're ready. Whose umbrella is that getting left by
the door? Mine? I vow, I didn't remember putting it down. But no one can
think of everything. Edna, is this soap yours? No? Well, I just asked. I
seem to have left mine somewhere, and it's live and learn. Come on! come
on!

"Good morning, Mrs. Braytree--Eunice--Emma--Pauline--Augusta. I reckon
we'd better be hustling along pretty promptly. The train doesn't go
until five minutes after the time, if we don't hurry. It's truly a
pleasure having you join us, Mrs. Braytree. A little excursion like this
makes such a pleasant break in the routine of sight-seeing, I think, and
these quaint old--there, all get out now, I have the money. I'll take
the tickets; we're all full-fare, aren't we? Or--how old is the little
cross-eyed one? I _beg_ your pardon, Mrs. Braytree, but I had to know in
a hurry.

"There, come on! come on! Squeeze through. Se--ven women and one man.
Hurry! we want a compartment, here--no, there. Run, Edna, and get ahead
of that old lady; here's two umbrellas to throw crossways, and then you
can tell her there's no room, and the law will uphold you. You look
surprised, Mrs. Braytree, but I learned that little trick coming from
Havre. I tell you, by the time I get to Paris I'll be on to every kind
of game going. I learn fast--take to Europe as a duck takes to water, so
to speak.

"Well, we're off for Gisors. Great pleasure to have you with us, Mrs.
Braytree; no more work to steer seven--Good Lord! there aren't but six
here! Who isn't here? Edna's gone! What is it, Yvonne? I sent her ahead,
did I? Oh, so I did, so I did. And of course she is waiting for us. Poor
child! I hope she's not worried. As soon as we get out of the tunnel
I'll hang out of the window and holler to her. Very convenient method
of talking to your friends aboard, Mrs. Braytree; only I should think a
good many would lose their heads as a consequence. However, as the
majority of the heads would be foreigners', I don't suppose it would
matter much in the long run.

"Speaking of Gisors, Mrs. Braytree, it's really a very interesting
place--according to the guide-book. As far as I'm personally concerned,
I'd be willing to take the time to go there to learn how to pronounce
it. The workings of the mind which laid out the way to speak French
don't at all jibe with the workings of the mind which laid out the way
to spell it--not according to my way of thinking. There's that place
which we've just left, for instance,--'Ruin' as plain as the nose on
your--on anybody's face,--and its own inhabitants can't see
it--pronounce the R in a way that I should think would make their
tongues feel furry, and then end up as if, on second thought, they
wouldn't end at all.

"Yvonne, I wish you'd hang out and see if you see any of Edna hanging
out. I declare, this is a very trying situation to be in. You don't know
what a trip I had, Mrs. Braytree, trying to keep track of these girls;
and since we landed--well, I just had to call a halt in Havre and come
off alone. Curious place, Havre, don't you think? See any one you knew
there? We--who did you say? Why, that can't be, he's in Russia. Yvonne,
didn't that young reprobate write you he was going to Russia? Yes, I
thought so. Well, Mrs. Braytree says she saw him in Havre. Good joke his
not knowing we were in Rouen; he'd have been down there in a jiffy, I'll
bet anything. But your Uncle John is a rather tough customer to handle,
and I expect that young man knows the fact, and so thought it best to
give Rouen a wide berth. Not that I have anything in particular against
young Reynolds, only I don't consider that any girl could be happy with
him. And it's foolish to have a man around unless you can make him
happy--I mean unless he can make you happy. My wife was very happy up to
the time she developed melancholia--a sad disease, Mrs. Braytree.
Yvonne, I wish you'd hang out and see if you can see anything of Edna.

"I presume this is as good a time as we'll have to study up a little on
Gisors. It seems to have been the capital of the Vexin. I shouldn't be
surprised if 'vex' and 'vexing' both come from that country, for the
guide-book gives it as always in hot water. The French and English were
both up against it most of the time, and it was vexin' with a vengeance.
It says here that the old city walls are still standing and that Henry
II built the castle. Isn't he the one we peeked around in Rouen? Yes, I
thought so. It says that there's very little left of the castle, though.
I must say I'm always glad when I read that there's not much left of
anything; it gives me a quiet, rested sort of feeling."


                                                             _Gisors._

[Illustration: "'This is as good a time as we'll have to study up on
Gisors'"]

"Well, here we get out. I'll swing down first. If French trains were
American, they'd have trapezes or elevators to--get--out--by. Here, give
me your hand, Yvonne--oh, there's Edna. Well, I vow, who has she got--if
it isn't--Yvonne, isn't that that young man--how d'ye do, Edgar?
Delighted to see you again. Our friend, Mrs. Braytree, and all the
others are her daughters. Come, Edna; you come with me while I check
this trunk. Where in thunder did you get that fellow from? How does he
come to be in Rouen? Did you know he was in Rouen? Did you see him while
he was there? I declare, I never will travel with any women again
unless I am married to them. This is awful. Don't you know I'm
responsible for you two girls? And I send you ahead to get a
compartment, and you find Edgar--it makes me want to swear. Say, was
there any one else with you? Worse and worse. I was afraid there was
something wrong when we kept hanging out and you never hung out at all.
Well, we'll have to go back and gather them all up. Yes, I'll be polite
to him; but, Edna, I hope you understand distinctly that a man like that
could never make any woman--

"Yes, Mrs. Braytree, here we are again; and now we'll all proceed over
Gisors. Pretty place, don't you think? Picturesque. Did you ever see so
many canals--or smell so many?--and the little cottages out of another
century? Packed roofs--green trees--well-sweeps--I like this; I'm glad I
had the sense to come here. Edgar, will you oblige me by carrying that
cane so that child doesn't come within an ace of catching her mouth on
it every other second? I declare, Mrs. Braytree, I wish we hadn't run on
to that young man. Of course he's a nice fellow and all that, but young
men are a great trial when you have two--

"Let's turn down here. Most of the streets seem to be canal tow-paths. I
vow, this _is_ pretty. I could settle down in a place like this and live
till I died. What do you suppose the people here do to amuse
themselves, anyhow? From the way they look at us with their mouths open
I should imagine that we were regarded in the light of a great event.
And if that's the case, they must be pretty hard up for sport. Oh, well,
I presume it's enough for them to paddle about on the green waters and
stir up the miasma--as much sense as foreigners have.

"And so these are the walls--ramparts, I mean. Well, they're fairly
high. Wonder how high they are, anyhow? Edgar, will you do me the
courtesy not to be pointing to the left with that cane of yours when I
turn suddenly to the right again? I beg your pardon for seeming heated,
Mrs. Braytree; but he really--

"Let's find a gate and go in; seems to be a park inside. I should think
there _was_ 'little left to be seen of the castle!' I don't see anything
at all of it. Maybe they took it down and built the walls higher just to
fool tourists. Well, I didn't come to Gisors to caper about in a park;
let's go out and look at the church--the guide-book says the church is
worth seeing. I think there's something very touching about guide-book
enthusiasm: it keeps up so consistently right through to the end. I feel
as if my own enthusiasm was most run through now. I don't know how Paris
will affect me. Edgar, if I trip on that cane you'll have to pay my
doctor's bill. What makes you handle it as you do, anyway? I like to see
a cane light and alert--not one that drags through the world in the
style of yours. To judge from your cane, I should say you hadn't been in
bed before three for a month. I have to speak sharply to that fellow,
Mrs. Braytree; he is about as wooden-headed as they make. Came across
the ocean with us, and pestered the life out of me. You don't know what
an ocean voyage is with two attractive girls--I _beg_ your pardon; I
forgot your four. Dear me! we were speaking of--yes--of Gisors, of
course. I vow, I'm disappointed in it as a whole. I wish we'd gone to
Les Andelys instead. Les Andelys is marked with an asterisk in the
guide-book, and there's a castle there built by Coeur-de-Lion. By the
way, Mrs. Braytree, the Coeur-de-Lion _itself_ is buried in Rouen. Did
you know that? Nice joke, eh? But, dear, dear, if there's no castle here
when we get here, perhaps there'd be none there when we got there. I'm
beginning to look upon Europe as a confidence-game; I--

"Well is _that_ the castle! Great Scott! but it must have been big. It's
big yet, and the book said there was very little left to see. I'm
beginning to lose faith in that book. Picturesque idea, having the park
hide the ruins till you come right smash on to them. Clever people, the
French; make everything put the best foot foremost. Fine old round
tower; nice tumble-down guard-chamber! I like this. Let's go around the
other side. Great place, eh? Worth a trip to see. Edgar, let me have
your cane to point with. There, do you see that old staircase? Looks
Roman to me; what do you think? I tell you, a man could write an
historical novel out of old ruins if he prowled long enough. Come on
now; let's meander on down town and look at the church. As soon as I
look at anything, I'm always ready to look at something else. Let's go
out on this side and go back to town the other way. Then we'll look at
the church, and then we'll put you and Edgar on the train for Rouen,
Mrs. Braytree. What did you say, Yvonne? He isn't going to Rouen? Where
is he going? To Paris with us! Well, well, well! all I can say is, I do
admire his nerve. I never in all my life went where I wasn't asked, and
took a cane. Now don't you see why no woman could be happy with a man
like that? I never saw the beat. I tell you frankly, Yvonne, I don't
like his ways and I don't like him. If you girls had let him alone on
the boat, he'd have let us alone here. I declare, my day is just about
spoiled. Your mother has trusted you girls to me, and I haven't drawn a
quiet breath since. I did take a little comfort there in Rouen; but if
I'd known that Lee was in Havre, I'd have been on thorns even there.

"Well, where is the church? Ask some one. What did she say? Down here?
Down we go, then. Ah, I suppose that's it under the sidewalk. Nice
commanding situation for a church, to grade a street by its tower! Why
don't they put in the guide-book, 'Street commands a fine view of the
roof?' There isn't time to go inside unless Mrs. Braytree wants to miss
her train, and we don't want her to do that.

"This is the street to the _gare_, and we'll run right along. I expect
we can get something to eat there, and get that 1:30 train for Beauvais.
There isn't anything in Beauvais that would interest you, Mrs. Braytree;
but there's a church there that I want to see. The guide-book says that
Mr. Ruskin says that the roof has got a clear vertical fall that not
many rocks in the Alps can equal; I don't just know what a clear
vertical fall may be, but if there's a church anywhere near as high as
an Alp, I don't want to miss seeing it.

"There's the clock. You just have time to get aboard comfortably. Don't
you want to go with them, Edgar? Well, I thought maybe you might.
Good-by, good-by; delighted to have met you. Good-by. Oh, yes, of
course. In Paris.

"There, they're gone, darn 'em! Now let's get some lunch. Did you ever
see such a collection as those girls? It must have been a bitter pill
when, after managing to assimilate the looks of the three oldest, the
little one appeared with her eyes laid out bias. Come in here; we can
get something to eat here, I don't care what; but I want plenty. Don't
lose your cane, Edgar; life wouldn't be life to you without it, I
expect. I like these country hotel entrances, through a carriage-house
and a duck-yard, fall over a cat, and come in. Tell her we want dinner
for four, and prompt. You put that in good forcible French for me,
Edgar, and I'll be grateful to you till I die. Let's sit down. Let's
eat."


                                                           _Beauvais._

"Now, young people, I call this making a day count. This is my idea of
getting about. Breakfast in Rouen, lunch in Gisors, Beauvais for a
sandwich, and we'll dine in Paris.

"What time is it? Three o'clock. Well, we want to head straight for that
cathedral. Seems as if it ought to show most anywhere over a little, low
town like this, but I don't see it. Ask someone--ask any one. Well, what
did they say? Right across the square. Whose statue is that in the
middle? Joan of Arc? Jeanne Hachette? Who was Jeanne Hachette? Girl who
captured flag from Charles the Bold, eh? Is that why they called him
'the Bold'? Sort of sarcastic on his letting a girl carry off his flag,
I should consider. Well, when did she live? Has she got her year under
her? 1492. Seventy years after Joan. I shouldn't have thought she'd have
inspired other young women in this part of the country to emulate her.

[Illustration: "'Tell her we want dinner for four, and prompt'"]

"Do we go up here? Ugh, how I hate walking over cobble-stones! Clean; of
course they're clean. I didn't say that I thought they were dirty. I
said I hated to walk on 'em.

"What's that chopped-off creation before us? _Not_ the cathedral?
Well--I--vow!

"Is _that_ what I--what we--

[Illustration: Beauvais]

"Where's the front of it? What _did_ happen to it? And what _was_ Mr.
Ruskin thinking of when he compared it to an Alp! I don't want to fall
off of anywhere, but I'd choose the roof of that cathedral to start from
any day in preference to the lowest Alp they make. 'Clear vertical fall'
eh? I wish I knew what that meant.

"Well, let's go in. Where's the door? That little, unpretentious one
looks feasible. Come on. Well, Edgar, are you coming, too, or do you
choose to stay outside with your stick? I can't help it, Edna; I feel
irritated at his being here at all, and then I'm naturally disappointed
over this church. I must say the biggest thing about it is that blank
wall stopping up where they left off. This is the kind of thing I've
come several thousand miles to look at, is it? Well, may as well go in,
I suppose.

"So this is in the inside! Fine lot of carpets hung up to try and cover
the deficiencies, eh?--High roof,--funny sort of shock you get whenever
you look towards the front. Sort of like turning around and hitting your
cane, eh, Edgar? Girls, this cathedral was begun in 1180, time of Henry
II, and they quit in 1555 while Bloody Mary was abroad and never got to
the front end in the four hundred years. Well, well! dear, dear!

[Illustration: "'What's that chopped-off creation before us?'"]

"Come on, girls, we may as well go out; I feel like going to the station
and heading for Paris. I suppose that's the next move in the game. You
can stay here as long as you like, Edgar; we won't hurry you.

"Come, Yvonne, you walk with me. Did you ever see anything like that
young man's gall? Your friend Lee couldn't make any points around him.
Just hooks right on to us, and stays hooked. I declare, if I carried a
cane I bet I'd give him one punch he'd remember long after. I'd
sincerely beg his pardon. I didn't like him on the steamer; I've got no
use for young men of his stamp. I--"


                                                _Gare du Nord, Paris._

"So this is Paris! Now, Edgar, I have one favor to ask of you--will you
kindly allow me to manage my own affairs while you manage yours? I know
just what to do, and I'll take Yvonne with me to do it. You can take
Edna up to the hotel. Looked disappointed, didn't he? Counting on
endearing himself to me forever by his able-bodied assistance, I'll
wager; but I don't want any young man minding my business. Tell that
blue blouse to take these checks and look up five trunks in a hurry.
What did he say? We haven't got to overhaul them again here, have we?
Well, I am--I certainly just _am_. Have we got to hunt 'em up? Where?
Well, ask him? Round back of this crazy mob? Well, tell him to go first.
What's this system of wildly speculating wheat-pits? Baggage-counters,
eh? And will you look at the baggage! Talk about your 'clear vertical
falls!' Those trunks on top will soon know more than Ruskin ever did.

"Where's our man gone? Yvonne, do you know where that fellow went to?
Well, ask some one. Look out--that baggage truck will be Juggernauting
right over you before you know it. Now, where _is_ the porter? I call
this a pretty state of affairs--porter, valises, and trunk-checks all
gone together. I thought you were watching him or I would have done so.
Do you suppose we ought to speak to a policeman? I think we ought to.
But will you look at the trunk-unlocking that's going on--good as a
play--look how mad that old lady is; hear her give it to him in good
English. Guess something got broke in transit. Keep a sharp eye out for
that porter, Yvonne. Here come some more trunks, and more, and more yet.
I wonder if this is regular, or if we've struck a rush. Where _is_ that
porter? I think we ought to be speaking to a policeman, don't you?
Here's a choice new invoice of a couple of thousand more trunks; that
fellow will never be able to find ours, I know. Supposing he has found
them and gone off with them already. Hey, look at that lady jumping up
and down! She sees _her_ trunk, I'll bet a dollar. Well, I'd jump up and
down if I could see mine. Yvonne, I really think we ought to speak to a
policeman. Could you give a description of the man? I only remember that
he wore a blue blouse. Oh, yes; and he had 'Commissionaire' across
the front of his cap. Hello, here are nine trucks all at once, just a
few million more additions to the turmoil. I tell you, we won't get out
of here to-night, I don't believe. I vow, I wish I'd given the checks to
Edgar, as he suggested. I really think we ought to be calling a
policeman. Here are fourteen trucks all loaded to the gunwales, and two
mass-meetings and one convention of tourists all at once. Yvonne, this
is beginning to look serious to me; I think that really we ought to
call--

[Illustration: "'Look how mad that old lady is'"]

"Oh, there he is with the whole of the stuff on one truck. Good idea;
smart chap; and he wasn't so very long either, considering."



VI

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                              _Paris._

Dearest Mama: Well we _are_ arrived! It _is_ Paris at last! But I
thought we should surely die in transit. I don't know what Uncle would
have said if he had known that Lee was in Rouen; he was dreadfully upset
over Mrs. Braytree's telling him that she saw Lee in Havre. He was very
unreasonable, and laid it up against Lee that Mrs. Braytree saw him.
Just as if Lee could help it.

We had a pretty good time coming down, only Mr. Edgar came up and came
down with us, and of course Uncle did not like that. I think that Mr.
Edgar came up to come down with me because we had a lovely time on the
steamer coming over together, but Uncle hardly gave me a chance to speak
to him. Uncle seems just instinctively to know whom Edna and I want to
talk to, and then won't let us. But of course I'm not complaining, for
it was lovely of him to give us this trip, and we're enjoying every
minute.

We arrived last night, and the only drawback is that Mrs. Clary isn't
here. She left a note, and M. Sibilet's wife _is_ his mother, and has a
place out at Neuilly, and they were invited there for three days. She
will be back to-morrow, and she left word for us to go straight to the
Bon Marché and look at the white suits; so we did so. We told Uncle it
was all right for us to go alone, and he had just gotten his mail, so he
only said "Hum!" and we went. Just as we were taking the cab, who should
we see but Mr. Chopstone. It was so lovely to see him again, and he got
into the cab and went with us. We went to the Bon Marché, but it wasn't
much fun with a man, so we came out after a little, and he proposed
taking the Subway and going to the Trocadero. Just then we met a man
that Mr. Chopstone knew, and he had red hair and eye-glasses. Mr.
Chopstone introduced him, and invited him to go along; but he said it
was no use, because it was the wrong day and we couldn't get in when we
got there. By this time we were down in the Subway, and Mr. Chopstone
suggested that we go to the Bois, so as not to have to go back up the
stairs again. While we were talking, the train came and went in a
terrible hurry, and we got aboard in between. After we were off, we
found that Mr. Chopstone wasn't on. We didn't know what to do, because,
of course, it was he that we knew, and not the red-haired man. The
red-haired man said he would do whatever we pleased, and Edna thought we
had better get right off; but I thought we ought to go right on. We
didn't know _what_ to do, and so we kept on to the Bois.

The Bois was just lovely--all automobiles and babies; and who do you
think we met? Betty Burleigh. We were so surprised, for I thought she
was in California for her lungs; but it seems that she's been in Dresden
for her music all winter, and now she's here for her clothes. She was
with an elderly French lady, and I don't think that the elderly French
lady liked to have her stop and talk to us. I thought at first that
perhaps it wasn't proper on account of the red-haired man, but in a
second I saw the real reason. Betty glanced around and said, "Oh,
Madame, où est Fakir?" Whereupon the elderly French lady looked
absolutely terrified and tore madly off. We had quite a long talk
before she came back with the most awful little black dog, which they
evidently had _no_ string to. She put him down and began to look
displeased again, and Betty just glanced about and said calmly, "Oh,
Madame, où es Fakir?" He had absolutely vanished again, and the elderly
French lady sort of threw up her eyes and rushed wildly away. The
red-haired man said, "Why don't you buy a chain for him?" Betty shrugged
the Frenchiest kind of a shrug and said, "I don't have to chase him."
The red-haired man said, "I should think she would buy the chain then!"
and Betty shrugged a much Frenchier shrug, and said: "I wouldn't allow
it. While she is running after him I can do as I please." The
red-haired man laughed. Poor madame came panting up with the creature
just then, and Betty said sweetly, "Laissez-lui courir," so she had to
put him down; but I could see that she meant to keep a sharp eye on him.
Betty wanted us all to come to the Palais and lunch with her; but of
course we refused, because you wouldn't have liked it, and, anyway, we
had to go back to Uncle. She wanted the red-haired man to stay, anyhow,
and was quite put out when he declined. Just then two men in an
automobile came up and asked her to go and see the balloon ascension.
They didn't invite the elderly French lady, and she protested about
"comme il faut"--but Betty said, "Où est Fakir?" and, if you'll believe
me, that little beast was gone again, and poor madame dashed off in
pursuit. Betty made short work of bidding us good-by then, and at once
got into the automobile, and was off.

[Illustration: We found our beloved relative]

We came slowly along back with the red-haired man, and at the Arc de
Triomphe we ran into Mr. Chopstone. It seems he went a station too far
because he met some people he knew in the car behind us, and he says we
must all go to the Châtelet with him to-night to make up. He said
"Uncle, too," so we accepted. Then we took a cab and came back to the
hotel, where we found our beloved relative with his feet on the
center-table, reading the Paris "Herald." He looked over the top at us
and announced that he'd "done the Louvre." I think we must have looked
startled, for he went on to say at once that he knew that it was
something that had got to be done, and that he shouldn't enjoy, and so
he had thought it best to go at it the first thing on the first morning
and get it off his mind at once. He was very pleased with himself,
because he says the "Baedeker" says that it takes two hours and a half
to walk through, and he was only gone from the hotel two hours in all.
Edna asked him if he spent much time looking at the pictures, and he
said: "Young lady, if you'd ever been in the place, you'd never ask that
question. Why, the whole thing is lined with pictures. I bet I dream of
gilt frames for a week."

[Illustration: We found our beloved relative]

We had to go to lunch, and Uncle doesn't like the food very much; he
says it strikes him as "flummery," and he is really very much vexed over
Mrs. Clary's being at Neuilly. Edna is vexed because Harry is there,
too, and I'm very much vexed indeed because she thoughtlessly gave Uncle
the letter at lunch, and when he read about Monsieur Sibilet's wife
being his mother he was more put out than ever. He said we could look
out for ourselves this afternoon, as he had to go to the bank. Edna
suggested that we go to the Louvre, and he said yes, that would be wise,
because then we would all be free to enjoy ourselves. Uncle speaks of
the Louvre exactly as if it were the semiannual siege at the dentist's.
But he was kind enough to offer to leave us there on his way to the
bank, and when we took the cab, he arranged with the cabman and the
hotel-porter exactly what the fare was to be, and held it in his hand
the whole way.

Edna and I were mighty glad to get to the Louvre without Uncle,
especially with the way he feels to-day, and we were wandering along in
a speechless sort of ecstacy when all of a sudden I heard some one
calling my name. I whirled around, and if it wasn't Mrs. Merrilegs, in a
state of collapse on one of the red-velvet benches. We went to her, and
she took hold of our hands as if she'd been our long-lost mother for
years. She looked very white and tired and almost ready to faint, and we
sat down on each side of her in real sincere sympathy, and she held our
hands and told us how it was. It seems that they left home the last of
last month, and they've been all through the British Isles, Denmark,
Holland, and Belgium, and they are going to finish Europe and be home
the first of next month. She could hardly speak for tears. She says Mr.
Merrilegs made out the itinerary before they sailed and that they have
lived up to it every day except just one, when he ate some lobster
crossing the Irish Sea, and they lost a day that night. She says they
drive a great deal, because they can hardly walk any more, and that she
doesn't believe that there will be a museum or palace in Europe that
they won't be able to say that they have driven by when they go home.
She said they had come to the Louvre to see what pictures they wanted
for their new house, and that they never meant to take more than twenty
minutes for the selection, and that they had been there an hour already.
She felt badly because the itinerary had them visit Notre Dame, the
Eiffel Tower as high as the elevator goes, and Versailles this
afternoon. She said they wanted to try and call on the American consul,
too, to ask about a masseur. She said Mr. Merrilegs said he thought if
they could get hold of a good masseur and keep him right with them that
they could manage to rub through to the end.

[Illustration: "She took hold of our hands as if she'd been our
long-lost mother for years"]

Edna and I felt dreadfully sorry for her; but there did not seem to be
anything to do except look sad, and we did that as heartily as we knew
how until in a minute or two Mr. Merrilegs hove in sight with a funny
little Frenchman dancing round and round him. Mr. Merrilegs looked
almost as exhausted as his wife, and called Edna by my name and me by
hers. His wife asked him if he had ordered the pictures, and he said:
"No; I haven't any more time to waste here. I've given Claretie the
paper with the sizes of the spaces marked on it, and he's to go through
and measure till he finds a famous picture to match each space." Mrs.
Merrilegs sort of nodded faintly and said: "But we don't want any
martyrs in the dining-room, you know," and her husband said, "Yes, yes,
he understands; and he says he'll find a Susanna to fit your bath, too."
Mrs. Merrilegs stood up then with a very audible groan, and they both
shook hands with us in a way that quite wrung our hearts. Then they
limped away with the little Frenchman spinning gaily about them, and we
went on alone.

In the very next room we met Mr. Chopstone. He was awfully glad to see
us, and said, with our permission, he'd join us; but as he seemed joined
anyway, we didn't even dream of refusing. He asked if we'd told Uncle
about the Châtelet, and then we remembered that we had forgotten. He
said he was so glad, because he couldn't get any seats except
_baignoirs_, and they looked queer, because no one can see you. He asked
if we would like to go to the opera instead, and we were just discussing
it when we turned a corner and ran right on to Betty Burleigh and the
red-haired man. His name is Potter, and, did you ever! They looked so
upset that it can't have been an accident, their being together. But how
could they have arranged it? If they didn't arrange it, why did they
look upset? Betty had on a bright green cloth dress and a violet hat,
and the red-haired man heightened the general effect so much that we
moved on as quickly as possible. Mr. Chopstone said very roundly: "You'd
better fight shy of her, I think," and Edna said dryly: "Of him, too,
don't you think?" I waited a minute, and then I said it seemed droll to
think that if we were all English we'd be pleased to call poor Betty a
typical American.

We came home when the Louvre closed and found Uncle back with his feet
on the center-table. He had had a big fire built, for he said it gave
him chills to look at the nymph over his bed. He had put in a true
Merrilegian afternoon, having been to the Palais de Justice,
Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame, and driven by the Hôtel de Ville and around
the Opera House--"completely around." He says there won't be a thing
left for him to look at by Monday. He says if he was pressed for time
he'd hire a cab for one whole day and lump the business; but that,
seeing that we have the time, it really doesn't seem necessary.

The mail came while we were talking, and the most unfortunate thing
happened. To keep up the Russian idea, Lee wrote two postals and sent
them to St. Petersburg to be mailed. Uncle saw the Russian stamps and
knew Lee's writing, and he asked me to kindly tell him how Mrs. Braytree
came to see a man who was in Russia in Havre. Edna said weakly that it
must have been a joke, and Uncle shook his watch and held it to his ear
that way he always does when he's dangerous, and said he was in no mood
for any of Lee's jokes. He looked very severely at me and said that Lee
was a scalawag, and that I ought to be ashamed of myself for having him
around.

Mrs. Clary will be back to-morrow, and we're very glad, for Uncle is
awful peppery and tartary, and says "Hum!" when we least expect it. Edna
sent Mr. Chopstone a _petit-bleu_, asking him please not to ask us to
go anywhere to-night. Mr. Edgar sent me some violets, but I had time to
give them to the chambermaid before Uncle came in. If I only get a
chance, I shall ask Mrs. Clary to declare that M. Sibilet's mother _is_
his wife, even if she knows it's a lie. It doesn't seem possible that
Uncle could really care for Mrs. Clary; but he's so cross if she talks
to any one else that I almost wonder if he doesn't. Edna is all tired
out, and says she will cry if Uncle tells her again that any man isn't
the man to make any girl happy. She says she likes men, and she thinks
that they all make her happy. She wanted to go to the Châtelet in a
_baignoir_, and she was wild to go to the opera in anything.

We talk Italy and mark Brittany every chance we get, but Uncle says
"Hum!" to Italy the same as he does to everything else these days. I'm
sure I don't see what we'll do if he takes the rest of Europe as hard as
he does this much. But of course I don't mean that we're not having a
lovely time, and we never forget for a minute how kind he was to bring
us.


                                                           _Next day._

Oh, it has been awful! How can I write it all!

You see, Uncle has a little balcony, and the sun came out, so he did,
too, this morning, on his little balcony. And he saw Mrs. Clary being
brought back in an automobile by M. Sibilet and two French officers. Of
course Harry was there, too, but that didn't mend matters any. In
looking over, Uncle's glasses fell to the ground, and they were his
comfortable ones with the rubber round the nose, and that part broke,
too. Edna was taking a bath, and I had to stand the brunt of the whole.
Uncle told me not to dare to fancy for a minute that he cared who Mrs.
Clary went about with; but he did wish for the credit of America that
she would steer clear of men like Sibilet. He was much put out over the
French officers, too, and said that if he was a French officer he'd go
and walk around Alsace until he came to his senses. While he was talking
he knocked the water-pitcher over, and then Edna was ready to dress; so
he went away while I sopped up the floor.

Mrs. Clary came in right afterward. She has had a splendid time, and she
says she doesn't care what relation the old lady is so long as she can
have them for friends. She has had no end of fun since she came from
Havre, and she says it's a shame about Uncle. She went to a beautiful
lawn-fête at a countess's, and she says I mustn't worry over Lee and
Uncle. She rode horseback, too, and drove with a coach, and she says
Edna must remember that Uncle is always peculiar and doesn't mean half
he says. She went to two dinner-parties, and no one would believe that
she was Harry's mother. She says I ought not to be exasperated over
anything, because nothing in the world can be so exasperating as having
a son with a moustache when you don't look thirty-five, and that she
doesn't let _that_ worry _her_. M. Sibilet is going to give a dinner for
her at the Ritz, and she's going to get a lace dress all in one piece,
and she says it was she who told Mr. Edgar that we were coming from
Rouen, and that Betty Burleigh is considered very fast, and that it
won't take long for her to settle Uncle. I'm sure I hope so with all my
heart; but I don't believe he'll like the idea of the dinner-party much.
Mrs. Clary says Mme. Sibilet's château is a perfect castle, and that one
of the French officers in the automobile was a duke. She says we must be
patient, and Uncle will get used to the Continent, just as all American
men do. She says they never take to it like women, though. The other
French officer was in the ministry once, and counts more than any duke.
Mrs. Clary is always so sweet and comforting, and she is such a nice
chaperon, because she always has men enough herself never to be
spiteful.

Mr. Chopstone sent Edna back a _petit-bleu_ that he had the box at the
opera, and what should he do about it. Mrs. Clary says for us to go. She
says she'll take care of Uncle, for she wants to straighten out her
accounts, and she can just as well straighten him out at the same time.
She gave me a long letter from Lee that he left with her, and she told
Edna to go and have a nice walk with Harry, and she'd tell Uncle they
were both asleep in their rooms. I declare, it's good to have her back.
I feel as if a mountain was lifted off me, and on to her. She says you
never dreamed of such fun as she's had out there at Neuilly, and that
it's quite absurd--my worrying over little things like Lee and Uncle.

She talked so much that I grew quite light-hearted, and had early dinner
and went off to the--

I'll have to write the rest to-morrow. A boy says Uncle wants to speak
to me.


                                                           _Next day._

I do believe Lee knows better how to manage Uncle than all of us put
together!

When Uncle sent for me, I saw right off that Mrs. Clary hadn't gotten
him anywhere near all smoothed out. He looked awfully vexed, and he
told me he was done with Paris and he was going to clear out at once. He
said he knew that Edna and I wanted to go to Italy, but, unfortunately,
he couldn't see it himself in that light. Then he paused and said "Hum!"
and I waited. After a little he said that he'd happened to run across
two or three things lately that had rather interested him in Brittany,
and how would I like to go there. I was almost stunned at the success of
Lee's scheme, and I was so happy that I suddenly felt as if I wanted
Mrs. Clary and Edna to be happy, too, and I threw my arms right around
his neck and said: "Oh, _Uncle_, let's go off together--just you and
me--and have a real good time together, all by ourselves. Will you?"

I must have done it _very_ well, for Uncle's face smoothed out at once,
and he told me that he'd been meaning to give me Aunt Jane's watch ever
since she died, only that it needed a new spring, and he never could
remember to take it to the jeweler's. His face clouded some later, and
he shook his head and said he wished he felt more security as to Mrs.
Clary and Edna; but then he crossed his legs the other way, and said we
only had one life to live, and could I be ready to start by day after
to-morrow. I said that I was sure I could, and he said "Hum!" very
pleasantly, and I went to my own room and told Mrs. Clary. She was so
pleased; she says I am a saint, and that it's too bad for me to miss
the dinner. She is going to wear her pink pearls, and she says that she
will try to telegraph Lee.

I will confess that my heart sinks a little bit from time to time when I
think of trying to bear Uncle all alone for I don't know how long; but I
have great faith in Lee, and I know that he'll be somewhere along the
coast, and that will be a comfort.

Uncle has been out and bought a Gaelic grammar and the history of the
Siege of La Rochelle, for he says he wants to have some intelligent
conception of what he sees. He wants me to learn the grammar, and he
says, where he sees to everything, he should think I could do a little
trifle like that for him once in a while. When he put it that way, I
thought I must try; but, oh, heavens! you ought to see that grammar!

I will write again as soon as I can. Harry is going to take us all to
the Café aux Fleurs for tea.

                                                        Lovingly,
                                                               YVONNE.



VII


My Dearest Mama: We are _en route_! We left Paris at the cheerful hour
of 7 A.M. yesterday morning. No one was up, and there was another train
at half-past nine, but Uncle said that, considering the work that lay
before us, we had better not begin by dawdling. I do think there is a
happy medium between rising at five and "dawdling," but of course I
didn't tell him so.

Edna sat up in bed and kissed me good-by. She and Mrs. Clary looked upon
me as a cross between the saver of the situation, and a burnt offering
on Uncle's altar; but they were all happy, and I didn't care--much.

Uncle mapped out the route, and, as a result, we got down at Chartres
about half-past nine. He put the baggage in _consigne_, and then looked
about with the air of a charger who sniffs the battle afar. I stood
beside him, feeling like Mazeppa just before they let the horse loose.

The outlook from the station is not very attractive, and the first thing
that Uncle said was that he didn't believe it was worth while stopping
at all, and that he had a good mind to go on with the train; but just at
that instant the train went on by itself, so we did not need to discuss
the subject.

You see there is a high ridge that runs in front of the station, and
Chartres is on the other side. Nearly all the towns here seem to be
quite a little ways from the railway stations. Mr. Edgar says it's
because the railroads run after their passengers in Europe instead
of running over them, as they do in America. Uncle says it's very
inconvenient, anyhow, and he pulled his hat down hard and said,
"Well, let's have a look at the cathedral, anyway."

So we stormed the ridge forthwith, and spread down into the flat country
beyond. As we descended the slope, Uncle began to be glad he had come.
Chartres is very modest and mainly one story high, so the Cathedral
towers aloft in a most soul-satisfying manner. Uncle said it was
"Something like." I was ever so glad that he felt so because he said in
Beauvais that something he had read had led him to expect that the
cathedral there would be big enough to hold the Bartholdi Statue of
Liberty in one of its niches, and of course he was horribly
disappointed, as a consequence.

We walked straight to the cathedral, and it was so big that Uncle
thought we had better each take one side and meet behind, "so as to save
time and not miss anything." I acquiesced, because I mean to keep him
good-tempered, if keeping good-tempered myself and acquiescing will do
so.

We started "fair" in front of the middle front door, and I could hardly
keep a straight face as we walked promptly and solemnly off in opposite
directions. The cathedral is enormous and just covered with carving, and
I was only part way down the side when I saw Uncle coming around the
corner, swinging his umbrella in the briskest sort of manner. He looked
absolutely disgusted when he saw me, and said in the most injured tone
imaginable, "You must have been stopping to look!"

He wouldn't hear to my continuing my tour of circumnavigation, so we
went inside at once, and there I held the guide-book and read the
explanation while he kept up a running contradiction of everything I
read. I don't see the good of Uncle's carrying a guide-book, for he
says they needn't suppose he doesn't know better than most of it.

There is a wonderful carved marble screen around the altar, and a sacred
statue with a yellow satin dress on; but being inside made Uncle want to
be outside right away, so we left very quickly, and then he studied the
Baedeker just long enough to let me notice how all the Roman noses on
the kings and saints outside had been turned into Eskimo noses by the
rains of centuries; and then he suddenly shut it, and said we would go
right straight off then and there and see the famous enamels that Diane
de Poitiers gave Henry II. He explained to me that this wasn't the
English Henry II, but the French Henry II, and then he asked me which
of us had the luggage-checks, and if I had noticed whether the train
went at eleven or half-past. I must say it is like doing multiplications
in your head to travel with Uncle, but of course I enjoy it, and the
walk to St. Peter's Church was very pleasant, through quaint streets and
along by little canals like those at Gisors.

The church was open, and open in more ways than one, for they were
tearing up the whole floor to put in a furnace and grave-stones and
pick-axes were leaning up against the columns everywhere. There wasn't a
soul to be seen, and Uncle was so happy to be able to poke about
unconcierged for a while that I sat down and let him desecrate around
with his cane until he came to with a start and asked me what I supposed
we came to Chartres for, anyway. I got up at that, and we went to look
at the enamels, which are in behind a locked balustrade and have
curtains hung in front of them besides. We had to get a woman to unlock
the gate and draw the curtains aside and explain which enamel was which
Apostle; and uncle was very much put out over their being apostles at
all. I don't know what he expected in a church, but he said he never
thought about the church; he only thought about Diane de Poitiers. He
says he doesn't think it was in good taste her having anything to do
with the apostles, and then he read in the book again and found he'd
made a mistake, and it was the king who gave them to her, and not she
who gave them to the king, and that used him all up, and he said he
wished that he had never come.

I saw that we should have to have something to eat right off, so I said
I was hungry and Uncle said that was just like a woman, but to come on.
We found a small restaurant and had a very good lunch, and then Uncle
said if I felt satisfied he would take it as a personal favor if we
could go on to Dreux. I do wish he wouldn't put everything just that way
when I really haven't done anything; but he looked at his watch and
found that the time before when he had looked at it he had looked at it
wrong and that we had barely ten minutes to make the train. As a matter
of fact, the train was going then, but they don't go until ten minutes
after in France, so when you miss a train you always have ten minutes
left to make it. We took a cab, and Uncle made the man understand that
if he hurried it would pay; so we galloped madly over the ridge and just
got aboard in time to learn that Uncle had left his cane in the cab and
that we'd forgotten our luggage in _consigne_.

Of course the ride was rather gloomy, because there was almost no way to
lay the blame on me; but after a while Uncle asked me if I really ever
did see such a rank idiot as M. Sibilet, and he felt better after that.
We reached Dreux about two o'clock, and I telegraphed back about the
luggage while Uncle looked up a train for Argentan and set his watch by
the railway time. He told me that the train that he had decided on left
at 3:04 and that we could make it and see the mausoleum "easy." I never
contradict Uncle, because it doesn't do any good and does upset him
awfully, so I went with him to get the cab, and wondered how long a
mausoleum usually took to examine.

[Illustration: Dreux]

It seems that there are no cabs in Dreux!

I thought that that would end the mausoleum, but Uncle merely swept his
eyes over the prospect and said we'd have to walk, and walk pretty
prompt. It was 2:10, and we walked fast. The mausoleum is on top of a
hill, and Uncle said we could catch our breath after we got to the top.
We never spoke a word going up. I knew that I was too young to die of
heart-disease, so I didn't care, if he didn't.

It was a terrible climb, but we reached there at 2:32. It's the
mausoleum of the Orléans family, and is modern. There is a concierge who
takes you around, and we followed him, Uncle with his watch in his hand
and going on like this: "2:40--tomb of the king's mother, eh? Fine old
lady! 2:41--tomb of the Duc d'Aumale; good face, handsome decorations on
his bosom, stained-glass windows--all made at Sévres, eh? 2:43--" etc.
You can imagine!

But what you can't imagine is the sublime and peaceful beauty of all
those exquisite marble people sleeping there under the slanting rainbow
sun-rays of the magnificent windows. They affected me so deeply that,
in spite of Uncle, I could hardly keep back the tears. They didn't seem
living and they didn't seem dead; I don't know what they were
like--spirits made visible, perhaps. The Duchesse d'Orléans has her arm
stretched across, so that it touches her husband, who was the eldest son
of Louis Philippe. The king himself stands upright in the midst of them
all, and Queen Marie Amélie kneels at his side in a beautiful pose. Two
precious little babies are sculptured together on one tomb, and all the
while we were going about, the place resounded with the echoes of the
chisels that were preparing a place for the Prince Henry who was killed
in Africa.

I could have stayed there hours, wrapped up in the mystery and wonder of
it all, but Uncle fell down some steps while he was looking at his
watch, and we departed forthwith. He said we must walk fast, and so
again we walked fast. Of course it was easier, though, going down-hill,
and I said, when we were near enough not to be anxious any more, "It was
worth seeing, wasn't it?" To which Uncle replied: "Yes, if you enjoy
that kind of thing; but all I could think of was the idea of spending
such a lot of money on statues and then not having any cabs at the
depot."

There was no time to get anything more to eat at the moment, so I just
held my tongue until we were safely on the train again.

We reached Argentan at 6:15 and I felt as if I'd been running Uncle,
or, rather, running with Uncle, for a month.

The next morning we were called at seven, and I really thought that I
could not get up at first; but, I made it at the third try, and Uncle
and I were out "seeing Argentan" at eight. At half-past he declared that
there was really nothing to see, so we went to the _gare_, and he bought
a Paris "Herald." As we were sitting there waiting for the 8:04 train to
Couliboeuf, in came Elfrida Sanders and her sister with bicycles. I was
_so_ astonished, and Uncle was rather pleased, too. They are doing
Normandy on wheels, and they have their tools and a kodak and a small
set of toilet-things and four clean collars all tied on to them.
Elfrida says they've had a lovely time--only broken glass once, and rain
two days. The sister is going to write a book and call it "Two on a
Trot." I think that's a funny name for a bicycle story. Uncle said to
call it "Two on a Tire"; but you know how stupid Elfrida is, and so she
said, "Oh, but it's not a tandem." They were going to Couliboeuf, too,
but we couldn't go together because they were traveling third-class.
Elfrida says they are seeing Europe nicely on less than a dollar a day,
and Uncle said "Great Scott!"

[Illustration: "Elfrida says they are seeing Europe nicely on less than
a dollar a day, and Uncle said 'Great Scott!'"]

While we were on the train it began to rain and then it poured. Uncle
became very gloomy and said that is just what we might have expected.
I didn't expect rain, and I didn't see why I should have expected it,
so I only nodded. Uncle didn't like my nodding, and said I shouldn't
take such a pessimistic view of life at my age. While he was talking I
suddenly remembered the umbrella and asked him where it was, and he had
left it in Argentan! Then there was no more conversation.

[Illustration: Falaise]

We had to change cars at Couliboeuf, and we reached Falaise about noon.
Elfrida and her sister got right on to their wheels and bumped gaily
away over the cobblestones at once. The rain was over and the sun was
shining, but Uncle said he had lost all faith in France and wanted to
buy another umbrella the very first thing. We went to a store, and he
said to buy a cheap one, as I would be sure to lose it. I asked for a
cheap one, but the woman was quite indignant and said that she did not
keep any cheap umbrellas--that the lowest she had was two francs--forty
cents. I had to translate it to Uncle, and he was so amused that he
bought one for three francs and gave a franc to her baby that was tied
in a high chair by the window.

Then we took a cab to the castle and paid the man at the entrance and
let him go. There is a lovely sloping road that follows the curve of the
outer wall up to the summit of the hill, and we forgot how tired we were
in thinking how pretty it was. These old castle enclosures are all so
big. This one contains a college at one end, and then there is quite a
wood which you must walk through before you come to the castle itself at
the other end.

The castle is wonderful. It is splendid and big and old and strong and
Norman. It is built out of the red rock, and it has oubliettes and wells
and pits and towers and everything of the kind that heart could wish to
see. We saw the room where Prince Arthur was imprisoned for seven years
and the room where William the Conqueror was born. It's a very little
room in which to have had such a wonderful thing happen.

[Illustration: "Paid the man at the entrance and let him go."]

Uncle enjoyed the castle immensely; he took the deepest interest in
every inch of it, and when the concierge showed us the window from which
Robert the Devil first saw Arlette, he planted himself firmly inside it
and I almost thought that he was going to stay there forever. My feet
ached so that I was glad enough to lean up anywhere for a minute, and
I honestly believe that it was ten before he moved. Then he gave himself
a little shake and said: "Well to think of owning this place, and being
able to stand in a window as high up as that one, and then to look down
as far as that well is, and then only to need to say, 'Bring her up!'
and to know she'd got to come! Great Scott! No wonder their son
conquered England. I'm only surprised that he didn't wipe Europe off the
face of the continent!" Then he shook his head for quite a little while,
and we got under way again and went to Talbot's Tower.

[Illustration: "The coming down was awful"]

It's high, and Uncle wanted to climb it. I didn't mind his climbing it,
but he wanted me to climb it, too, and some one was ringing the bell,
so the concierge had to leave us and go back before anything was
settled. Uncle said it was rather hard when he was doing so much to try
and finish me up (he meant "finish me off," I think), for me to be so
lukewarm about being finished so I started in to climb, although my
knees felt like crumpled tissue-paper. [1]The steps were so worn that it
was awful work and Uncle would go up as far as anyone could. He had the
umbrella and I had the candle and often we had to step two and even
three steps at once. When we came to the place where the steps ended,
he stood and peeked out of a window (imagining himself Lord Talbot, I
reckon--) and then we started back. The coming down was awful,--I was
honestly frightened. Uncle went first and I stepped on his coat twice
and spilt candle-grease on his hat. Uncle found it easier coming down
than going up, and it wasn't until we reached the bottom that we
discovered that the reason why was because he had left the umbrella
behind and so had two hands to hold on by. I said, "Never mind, it only
cost sixty cents"; but he was not to be comforted, and said bitterly,
"You forget the franc that I gave her baby." I would have gone back for
it, but I felt so hot and tired.

  [1] The author begs the reader's lenient consideration as to
      this description of Talbot's Tower. The story was written
      from notes taken five years ago, since which time the tower
      has undergone a thorough restoration.

We came to Caen this noon, and went to bed, and I don't believe we shall
ever get up again. Uncle said that with my kind permission he would
suggest that I should not disturb him, and heaven knows that I have no
desire to. I telegraphed Mrs. Clary about mail, and then I went to sleep
and I slept until just now.

I never was so near dead in all my life; but you mustn't think for a
minute that I'm not having a lovely time, for I am, and it was so kind
of Uncle to bring me. Now good-by, and with much love,

                                                            Yours,
                                                               YVONNE.



VIII

UNCLE JOHN PARALYZED


"Come in! Come on! Well, don't you hear? Can't you understand any--Oh,
it's you, child. I thought it was one of those darned waiters.

"Sit down; pull up a chair by the bed. It's so long since I sent for you
that I just about thought that you were not coming. I suppose you were
surprised at my sending for you; but it was the only way to do. It's a
hard thing to break to you, Yvonne; but you'd have to know in the
course of the day, and I always do everything right off that I've not
decided to wait and see about. Now don't look frightened, my dear;
nobody's _dead_--it's only that I'm paralyzed!

"There, what do you think of that? Yes, it's true for a fact. My legs! I
had some premonitory symptoms yesterday going up that cursed old tower,
and I had some very advanced ones coming down from it; and this morning,
when I started to shave, the truth just burst in my face. Now, don't try
to say anything, for I've read too many patent-medicine advertisements
not to recognize paralysis when I feel it up and down the back of my own
legs. I'm not the man not to know my own feelings, and I want to tell
you that when I got up this morning I couldn't stand up, and then, after
I stood up, I couldn't sit down; and if that isn't a clear case of
having completely given out, I don't know what you would call it.

"Now, my dear, the question is, what's to be done? Of course our travels
have come to a full stop, for I shall probably never walk again. The
curious thing is that I don't feel any particular inclination ever to
walk again. You've no conception of the sentiments that I feel in my
legs; but if you roll the fatigue of a lifetime into either the left or
the right, you can get some faint inkling of the first freshness of
paralysis. I tell you, Yvonne, it is awful. Every cobblestone I've gone
over seems to be singing in my calves; but that's neither here nor
there. What I want you to do is to go to the pocket of my valise get out
the cable-code book and look out a word that means 'Both legs paralyzed.
What shall I do with the girls?' You'll find a word that means it, if
you look long enough. They've got forty pages of words that mean every
fool thing on earth from 'It's a boy' to 'Impossible to lend you ten
dollars.' I was reading it over in Paris the other day while I waited
for my money at the bank.

"Well, ain't you going to get the code-book? I don't want to be
impatient, but I want some one to be doing something. You don't know how
restless it makes me to think of lying still for the rest of my life.
While I was waiting for you, I was thinking that probably I shall live
right here in Caen till I die. I'm very glad we got here too late to see
anything, because now I can take it bit by bit and drag it out through
my remaining days. I shall have a wheeling-chair and a man to push me
around, and--well, maybe it's in the little outside pocket. I know I had
it in Paris, anyhow; I remember I was just reading that 'salsify' means
'Your mother-in-law left by the ten o'clock train,' and that 'salsifry'
means that she didn't, when they brought me my money, and I was free to
go.

[Illustration: "'I'm happy that it will be out of the question for me
ever to travel again.'"]

"Well, now you've got it. I thought maybe it would be in the little
valise all the time. Seems to me the sicknesses begin with 'Salt.' I
remember 'Saltfish' means 'have got smallpox; keep away,' and
'Saltpetre' means 'have got a cold; come at once.' You look along there
and find 'paralysis.' I'll just keep quiet while you're looking. I'd
better be learning to keep quiet. Keeping quiet must be the long suit of
the paralyzed, I should fancy. But you see what it is now to be an
optimist. Here's my life practically over all of a sudden, and, instead
of being blue, I'm as cheerful as a cricket. No need of fussing over the
candle-grease on my hat now, for I shall never wear a hat again, I shall
wear a soft felt tied over my ears with a plaid shawl as they always do
in rolling-chairs; as for the umbrella, I'm actually glad I left it. It
would only have been an aggravation to have seen it lying around. But
all the same I can't see why you didn't notice it lying down there. It
must have been in plain sight,--I remember pointing over at Mont Mirat
with it, and saying the rock looked as if it had been dropped there from
above. Yvonne, I tell you when I think of all we did these last two days
I feel perfectly content to be paralyzed. I'm glad to think that I've
got such a good excuse to stay right in bed; I'm happy that it will be
out of the question for me ever to travel again. I feel as if I've
traveled enough to last me forever; I actually don't want to see
anything more. No more catching trains and climbing castles for your
Uncle John--not in his life. You can put the Baedeker in the fire right
now--I never want to see a red cover or a green string or an index
again as long as I live. What's that? No, I sha'n't want it to look over
and recall things by; I can recall more than I want to just by the way I
feel. I don't need any guide-book to remember what I've been through
since I left Paris. I remember too much. I remember so much that I am
rejoiced to think that muscles over which I have no control will prevent
my having to go out to-day and see anything else. It seems a little hard
to think of having sight-seen so hard that you never want to see another
sight, but I'm perfectly content. And I don't want a doctor, either;
I've no faith in French doctors. It would be just like one to hypnotize
me and set me going again, and I don't want to go. I want to lie right
here, and I thank the Lord that I have money enough to allow me to lie
here forever, if I feel like it. I was thinking this morning what a
horrible existence a tramp must lead--always going on to new places.
Thank Heaven, I can just settle down in this old one and stay on
indefinitely. I want you to go down to the office and ask what rate
they'll make for this room by the year. I want this same room right
along. It's the first restful spot I've struck since my trunk went smash
into that ship. Yvonne, did you notice the way they handled those trunks
when we landed--as if they were eggs? I tell you, the baggage system at
home is a burning disgrace. That's one reason I like Europe so--it's
quiet and peaceful. I heard some goats go by this morning; I'd like to
know a hotel in America where you can listen to a goat. And then that
wallpaper, what a tranquil pattern--a basket of sunflowers upside down
alternately with a single palm upside up! What a contrast to the paper
on that room I sailed from! It looked more like snakes doing physical
culture than anything else.

"Yvonne, I was thinking it all over as I lay here this morning waiting
for you, and the truth is, we've been traveling too fast. I wanted you
to see all there was to see, and I overlooked myself completely. Don't
feel badly, child, because I know you never meant it; but it _is_ the
truth, and, as a consequence, here I lie paralyzed. Yes, we've been
traveling too fast. It's the vice of the American abroad; it's the
terrible secret drain upon the strength of our better classes. We come
over to rest, and if we don't do two countries a week we feel we've
wasted our money. The idea of leaving Paris in the morning and doing
Chartres and Dreux and getting to Argentan that night! Why, Hercules
himself would have been used up. And then that castle at Falaise. But
I'm not sorry that I went to Falaise. No, I'm not sorry. Yvonne, there
was something about that castle that I'll never get over. I tell you
those were the days to live in! I was thinking about it while I was
waiting for you this morning. Will you consider what it must have been
to put on a suit that you couldn't be punched through, and then get out
with an ax that faced two ways and have full freedom to hack at people
you hated. I tell you, child, I should have been one of those who
barricaded themselves behind the dead bodies they had killed and kept
right on firing over the top. And to-day my armor would be hanging up
somewhere all full of dents and rusty blood-stains, and I'd be a sight
in some cathedral with your Aunt Jane wearing a funnel and an accordion
beside me. We'd both be in marble, of course, some worn by time and some
chipped by tourists--ah, well!

"Can't you find anything suitable in that code-book? Here, I've been
waiting a quarter of an hour for you to hunt--hand me the book. I
remember 'Shell' is 'have broken my left leg,' and 'Shell-fish' is 'have
broken my right leg,' and 'Shawl' is--wait a bit--keep still, Yvonne; no
one in the wide world can study a code and listen at the--

"Oh, well, I'll leave it till to-night. Not that I'm irritated at your
interruption, for I never let anything ruffle me, and when you write
home the first thing I want you to tell your mother is that being
paralyzed has not changed me one particle. Same even disposition, same
calm outlook on life, same disinclination to ever bother anyone. I want
you to make them understand in particular how cheerful I am. Some men
would turn cynical at waking up paralyzed, but not me. I feel as if I
might get about quite a little in Caen, maybe even get to Falaise again
some time; but you can bank on one thing, and that is that if I ever go
back to Falaise I won't go up that tower again. I was wondering this
morning as I lay here waiting for you how in thunder you were holding
that candle to spill so much grease on my hat. You can't say that you
didn't know I was there, for every second step you took your foot hit me
in the small of the back. You ought to have gone first, anyhow. I know
the rule is for a man to go first going down a staircase, but I don't
call that business we were on any staircase; it was more like a series
of cascades with us forming the merry, leaping, part. I tell you what,
Yvonne, the next time it's up to your Uncle John to play the chamois
that springs from crag to crag over an old middle-aged staircase while
his niece pours candle-grease on his hat, you can excuse me.

"What I like is clean, open-to-the-day-light ruins like that old one at
Jumièges! No peril, no anxiety--all on a level, and time to look up at
what wasn't. I tell you, I wouldn't have missed seeing Jumièges for
anything. I was thinking this morning as I lay here waiting for you that
I have a good mind to write a book about my travels, and that when I do
I shall have the frontispiece, me in front of Jumièges. I could take an
artist down there on purpose, and while he wasn't doing me, I could look
it all over again. Maybe I could go there alone with a kodak and get a
satisfactory frontispiece, only those rocks were so thick that most
people would think it was a defective plate. I shouldn't like to have
them think that, for if I was going to have a book at all, I should have
it in good style--gold edges, bevel-plate, and so forth, don't you know.
I'd like to write a book about Europe, I vow. I haven't been here very
long, but I'll swear I know ten times more than any book ever tells. It
never said a word in Baedeker about there not being any cabs at Dreux,
or about the condition of those steps in Talbot's Tower, and such
things ought to be known. It's all right to make light of perils past,
but those steps were too dark for me to ever make light of in this
world. Up toward the top where we had to sit down and stretch for the
next one--you remember?--I must own that I was honestly sorry I came.

"Well, my child, it must be nearing noon, and I feel like taking a nap
before dinner. Suppose you go in and write to your mother and Mrs.
Clary. After your mother gets the cable, she'll naturally be anxious for
details, and she won't want to wait longer than ten days to know all. I
wish you'd ring and tell them to bring me some hot water before you go;
tell them I want it in a pitcher. Make them understand a pitcher. They
brought it last night in a sort of brass cylinder, and I couldn't get
the thing open anyway--had to use it for a hot-water-bag in bed in the
end. It worked fine for that. Never cooled off all night, in fact, I
couldn't put my feet against it till morning.

"There, now, you go on and leave me to sleep. You haven't the faintest
idea of how used-up I feel. Don't forget to write your mother how
cheerful I am; don't forget the hot water. I'll send for you when I want
you. There--there--I'm all right, child, don't you worry. Just pull the
curtains and let me sleep."



IX

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                               _Caen._

Dearest Mama: We are still there, and I'm so happy Uncle is in bed, and
at first he thought he was paralyzed, but now he says he's only refusing
to take chances. It's so nice having him in bed, because Lee is here,
and Uncle makes it all right without knowing anything about it. It was
yesterday that he thought he was paralyzed; he sent for me before I was
awake to tell me. I was so dreadfully stiff and lame that I thought at
first that I could not get up; but of course I did, and went to him as
soon as I could. He told me that he was paralyzed, really paralyzed; but
I wasn't frightened, because, when he explained his feelings, I knew
every one of them, and of course I knew that I wasn't paralyzed. Only
when he rolled around upon his pillows and said he certainly would end
his days right here in Caen, I couldn't help wishing that he had left me
to enjoy my pillows, also.

But he wanted to talk, so I listened for ever so long; and then he
wanted to sleep, so I came away to write you, and there was a note from
Lee in my room. He was down-stairs waiting, and I went right down, and
my, but it was good to see him! I didn't kiss him, because it was a
hotel parlor, even if we don't know any one in Caen; but I told him
about Uncle, and he said it was fine and that he hoped he would be in
bed a week, but no such luck. The yacht has broken a thumb-screw, or
whatever it is on a yacht, and they have all come here to meet some
automobile people. Lee looks real well; he says he's had no end of fun
lately, and that it is a shame I can't go, too.

While we were talking, Mrs. Catherwood-Chigley came in. I didn't know
that she was in Europe, and Lee was dreadfully put out for she sat right
down and asked all about us. Lee explained that he was here with a yacht
and that I was here with Uncle; but she didn't seem to believe us, and
shook her head, and asked about Mrs. Clary. She said Mr. Chigley was
here, too, and they have seen a monument in the cemetery here that is
just what they want for Mr. Catherwood. She says Mr. Catherwood was so
clear-cut and Doric in his ideas that it has been very hard to find the
right thing. She said Mr. Chigley was out making a sketch of the
monument then. She says Mr. Chigley is devotion itself to Mr.
Catherwood's memory, and cabled a beautiful wreath on his wedding
anniversary and palms tied with purple the day he died. She said she was
very happy, and Mr. Chigley just loves to hear her tell stories about
Mr. Catherwood by the hour. Lee was awfully rude and kept yawning, and I
know she didn't like it by the way she looked at him. It was awfully
trying to have her just then, because, of course, there's no telling how
long Uncle will stay paralyzed. We really thought she would stay until
lunch-time, but Lee yawned so that she went at last.

[Illustration: "Lee was awfully rude and kept yawning, and I know she
didn't like it by the way she looked at him."]

Lee said that we ought to join them in the touring-cars and do Brittany
that way, but he didn't like to tackle Uncle. He says Uncle is a very
tough proposition, because he is so devilish observing, and he never
begged my pardon for saying it, either. Of course Uncle brought me, and
I must do as he wishes, but I do wish that he liked Lee. Lee says he
wishes he liked him, too; he says it would be so devilish convenient
just now, and he didn't beg my pardon that time, either.

[Illustration: Caen]

I ran up, and Uncle was still asleep, so I had lunch with Lee at the
table d'hôte. Mr. Chigley and Mrs. Catherwood-Chigley sat opposite, and
she does look so funny with her wedding-rings and engagement-rings
alternating on the same finger. Mr. Chigley said he should call on
Uncle, and Lee and I were frightened to death until I remembered that
Uncle wouldn't be able to read the card or understand the waiter without
me. After luncheon I ran up again, and Uncle was still asleep, so we
went out to walk. We had a lovely walk, and never looked at a sight, and
when we came back I ran up again, and Uncle was still asleep; so Lee and
I sat down in the parlor, and we were just going to be so happy when
Pinkie and Bunnie Clemens came in. Well, really, I hardly knew either,
they have changed so, and Pinkie has a beard and Bunnie is over six feet
high. They are on a bicycle tour with eight men, and they saw Elfrida
and her sister yesterday, headed for Bayeux. Pinkie says it's been such
bad weather they've had to tie umbrellas and waterproofs to them, too.
He says Elfrida looks half-witted, and her sister looks like a full
idiot. I was so glad that I had on a Paris frock. They wanted me to go
to the theater with them, but of course I couldn't, for I couldn't be
sure about Uncle's staying paralyzed.

He slept till eight o'clock last night, and then he had dinner and went
right to sleep again, so I could have gone to the theater after all; but
how could I know to dare to risk it?

Lee and the men from the yacht are at another hotel, so he didn't come
very early this morning, and it was fortunate, because Uncle sent for me
about nine to explain Mr. Chigley's card, which they poked under the
door last night. Uncle was so curious to know what it was that he got
out of bed and found he could walk. He said he had never felt sure that
it was paralysis, only he wanted to be on the safe side, and he is in
bed still, only he is so lively that I am half crazy over Lee. If Uncle
concludes he's all right, and comes down and finds Lee, I know he isn't
going to like it at all. Pinkie and Bunnie have gone on to Mont St.
Michel, and the Catherwood-Chigleys took the train for Dol right after
breakfast. Mr. Chigley was very sorry not to see Uncle, and Mrs.
Catherwood-Chigley said she should write you all about how well and
happy I was looking. I know that what she really means to write about
is Lee; but you know all about him, so I don't care.

Lee says if there was time he'd go to Paris and get a nurse and an
electric-battery and have Uncle kept just comfortably paralyzed for a
few more days, but there isn't time, and I am so worried. If Uncle loses
any more patience with Lee, he won't have any patience left at all, and
I'll have to go all of the rest of the trip that way. We took a walk
this afternoon to consult, and we saw Elfrida and her sister. They have
cut off their hair, because it bothered them so, coming down in their
eyes, and Elfrida says she feels all the freedom of a man thrilling
through her--you know how funny she always talks. They have seven
calloused places on the inside of each hand from the handle-bars, and
Elfrida says she's sure their insteps will arch forever after. They were
coming out of St. Stephen's Church, and the only way to get rid of them
was to say that we were just going in; so we said it, and went in.

It was really very interesting, and the tomb of William the Conqueror is
there. He built St. Stephen's, and Mathilde built La Trinité at the
other end of the town, partly as a thank-offering for conquering England
and partly as a penance for being cousins. There was a monastery with
St. Stephen's and a convent with La Trinité until the Revolution changed
everything. William's tomb is just a flat slab in front of the altar,
but he really isn't there any more, for they have dug him up and
scattered him over and over again. The church is tremendously big and
plain, and every word you even whisper echoes so much that Lee and I
thought we'd better come out where we could talk alone.

When we came back to the hotel, I ran up, and the mail had come from
Paris; so Uncle said if I'd fill his fountain-pen, he'd just spend the
afternoon letting a few people in America know what Europe was really
like. I'm a little bit troubled, for I'm all over being stiff and sore
from that climbing, and yet he seems to feel almost as mean as ever. He
has his meals in his room, for, although we're on the first floor, he
says he cannot even think calmly of a stair-case yet. He says that
Talbot's Tower seems to have settled in his calves, and Heaven knows
when he'll get over it. Lee says I ought not to worry, but to make the
most out of the situation; but I do worry, because Uncle is so
uncertain. And I'm perfectly positive that there will be an awful scene
when he finds out that during his paralysis I've been going all over
with Lee.

[Illustration: "He has his meals in his room, for he says he cannot even
think calmly of a stair-case yet."]

Lee and I went to walk this afternoon, and we visited the old, old
church of St. Nicolas. It said in the book that the apse still had its
original stone roof, and Lee said it would be a good chance to learn
what an apse was; so we set out to go there, but we forgot all about
where we set out for, and it was five o'clock before we finally got
back to where it was. It stands in an old cemetery, and it says in the
book that it has been secularized; so we climbed up on gravestones till
we could see in the windows and learn what that meant, also. The
gravestones were all covered with lichen and so slippery that in the end
Lee gave up and just helped me to look. We didn't learn much, though,
for it was only full of hay.

When we got back to the hotel, I ran up, and Uncle was gone! I never was
so frightened in my life, and when I ran back and told Lee, he whistled,
so I saw that he was upset, too. He said I'd better go to my room and
wait, and he'd dine at his hotel to-night; so I went to my room, and
Uncle was there, hunting all through my things for the address-book. I
was so glad and relieved that I didn't mind a bit the way he had churned
everything up, although you ought to see my trunk, and I kissed him and
told him it was just splendid to see him beginning to go about again. He
looked pleased, but he says the backs of his legs are still beyond the
power of description, and so I proposed having dinner with him in his
room, which we did very comfortably, and he told me that he should
remember this trip till the day he died, without any regard for the
grease I spilt on his hat. After dinner he was very fidgety, and I can
see that the confinement is wearing on him; but I don't know what to
do.

More letters came by the evening mail, and Mrs. Clary is so in raptures
over the dinner that when Uncle asked me if I had heard from her I
thought it was wisest to say no, because I knew that if he read how
happy M. Sibilet was making her, he surely wouldn't like it at all.

Lee sent me a note by a messenger about eleven o'clock, with
instructions in French on the outside about their delivering it to me
when I was _not_ with Uncle. They delivered it all right, and I read it.
He just said that the automobiles had come, and that he was going to
cast his die clean over the Rubicon to-morrow morning at eleven. That
means that he is going, of course, and that I am to be left here all
alone. I do feel very badly over it, for Uncle will be almost sure to
find out about Lee whenever he can get downstairs again, and then I'm
sure I don't know what will happen. Of course I've not done anything
that I shouldn't have done; but, dear me! doing right doesn't help if
Uncle chooses to decide that it is wrong. And if he can't walk, to let
us go on traveling, he's going to keep getting more and more difficult
to get along with. I don't like to tell Lee how troubled I am, because
if Lee gets worked up and decides to take a hand in while I'm traveling
with Uncle, I might as well be Mr. Pickwick when he rushed between just
in time to get the tongs on one side and the shovel on the other. I
don't want Lee trying to defend me from Uncle, because I know Uncle
would never forgive him for thinking I needed defending. You know
yourself just how Uncle is, and now that his legs are so stiff he is
more that way than ever. Lee doesn't understand, and I can't make him
understand, and perhaps it's just as well that he should go on
to-morrow. Maybe Uncle will be better in a few days, so that we can
visit Bayeux. He's crazy to go to Bayeux and see the tapestry, and it
isn't so very far. But what shall we do if we come to any town again
where there are no cabs! It would be awful.

However, I shall not worry, for it's no use. Mrs. Catherwood-Chigley
wrote me her address on one of her cards, and Lee took it and sent it
to me with some beautiful flowers. He thought it was such a clever, safe
idea; but just suppose we meet them again! If I didn't think Lee was
just right, I'd think he had almost too many clever ideas; and, anyhow,
I know that I'm sure that he has too many while I'm traveling with
Uncle.

Now, good-night, it's so very late. Don't ever feel troubled over me,
for I'm having a splendid time, and it was so kind of Uncle to bring us.

                                                 Your own loving
                                                               YVONNE.



X

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                               _Vire._

Dear Mama: I am the happiest thing in the whole wide world, and Lee is
the grandest fellow! I must write you everything, and you will see.

The morning after I last wrote, Uncle had me waked up at seven and wrote
on a scrap of paper, "We leave for Bayeux at 8.30." I was just about
sick, for I knew he wasn't able to, and then, besides, if we left so
early, I surely shouldn't see Lee again. But I got up and dressed, of
course, and I was beside myself to find some way of sending Lee a scrap
of a good-by before we took a cab for the _gare_. Uncle was in high
spirits over getting out again, and all went well until it came the
minute to get him on to the train. Well, I do believe he was scared
himself. Getting on to a French train is almost like going up a ladder
that slopes the wrong way, I always think, and it took two
commissionaires to hoist Uncle into the coupé. He was awfully worried
over it, I could see, for he talked about what an outrageous idiot Mr.
Chopstone was all the way to Bayeux. We had to get out there, of course,
and I was beside myself to know how to manage. In the end Uncle came
down so suddenly that he nearly crushed me and a meek, good-hearted
little Frenchman who had kindly offered to help assist.

[Illustration: Bayeux]

The _gare_ at Bayeux is quite a walk from the part of the town where
the sights are and there wasn't a cab or a thing on wheels. I didn't
dare look at Uncle, for there is no train back till four in the
afternoon. He seemed a bit staggered at first, and then he said well, it
was level, and we'd go leisurely along and enjoy the fresh, pure, sweet
air of the country. So we walked along, but I could see he wasn't
enjoying it a bit, and it took us a half-hour to get to where we were
going. We went to the cathedral first, and Uncle sat right down and said
he wanted time enough to enjoy the ground-work of the vaulting and that
I could just leave him and go around alone. It was my first chance to
look at anything as slow as I liked, and I really did enjoy myself very
much.

It's a really wonderful old cathedral, and I found a nice old sacristan
behind the altar, and he took me underneath into the crypt, and the
crypt is the original church where Harold took the oath. It was slowly
buried by the dirt of centuries, and when they started to put a furnace
in a few years ago, they found it and dug it out again. It isn't very
large, and the walls are of stone several feet thick, with little bits
of arched windows set up too high to see from.

When I came back we went to see the tapestry in the museum, and it isn't
really tapestry at all: it's a long, long strip of linen about a foot
wide, with scenes embroidered on it in Kensington, and over and over.
It's really very well done, and it isn't a bit badly worn out--only a
few little holes here and there. The scenes are very interesting, and
some of them are awfully funny. The way they hauled the horses over the
sides of the boats when they landed in England, for example. The Saxons
have beards, and the Normans are shaven. I couldn't help thinking how
funny it was that the Normans, who were regarded as barbarians by the
French, were looked upon as tremendously effete by the English. Uncle
took a deal of pleasure studying the whole thing, and we were there till
it was time for lunch. We had a nice lunch at a clean little place, and
then came the rub. There was nothing to do till train-time, and that
terrible walk to the _gare_. I had brought a book along, so I could
read aloud, but Uncle said only a woman would come to Bayeux and read a
novel, and that I reminded him of Aunt Jane. You know how terrible it is
when any one reminds him of Aunt Jane; so I closed the book at once, and
said I'd do anything he liked. He said that that was more like Aunt Jane
than ever, to just sit back and throw the whole burden on to him; and
then he shook his watch and held it to his ear and said "Hum!" too, one
right after the other. I was almost beside myself to know what to do or
what to suggest, and just then something came puffing up behind us and
stopped right at our side. It was a big automobile, with three men in
it, and one jerked off his mask and jumped out over the wheel and
grabbed Uncle by the hand. And it was Lee!

[Illustration: "And it was Lee."]

You never saw anything like Uncle's face! He seemed reparalyzed for a
few seconds, and Lee kept shaking his hand and telling him how glad he
was to see him, and how he _must_ get right into the automobile and go
on with them to Caen. My heart just about stopped beating, I was so
anxious, but Lee never stopped shaking, and the other men took off their
masks and got out, too, and told Uncle he really must do them the honor
and give them the pleasure, and in the end we got him in, and Lee won
out.

Oh, it was such fun! We had the most glorious trip back to Caen. They
had an extra mask along, and Uncle wore it and sat on the front seat,
and Mr. Peters, the man who owns the automobile, was really lovely to
him. The other man and Lee and I sat behind, and the other man is Mr.
Peters's mother's son by her second husband. His name is Archie Stowell,
and I should judge that Mr. Peters's mother's second husband was a lot
livelier than the first, but not so clever. Mr. Peters is really awfully
clever, and the way he talked to Uncle was wonderful. Uncle said it was
a very smooth-riding automobile, and Mr. Peters said it did him good all
through to meet some one who recognized the good points of a good
machine at once; he said not one man in a thousand had brains enough to
know a good machine when he was in it, and that he was overjoyed to
have accidentally met the one man who did discriminate. And Uncle said
he should judge that automobiling was a very easy way of getting over
the ground when one was traveling in Europe, and Mr. Peters said it was
perfectly bewildering how the breadth and scope of Uncle's mind could
instantaneously seize and weigh every side of an intricate proposition
and as instantaneously solve it completely. By the time we reached Caen
Uncle was so saturated with Mr. Peters that he even smiled on Lee as we
got out and asked them all three to dine with us at eight. They
accepted, and went to their hotel to dress, and Uncle went to his room
without one word of any kind to me.

They came, and we had a very nice dinner in a little separate room, and
the way Mr. Peters talked to Uncle was worth listening to surely. And
when Uncle was talking, he leaned forward and paid attention as if his
life depended on every word. By ten o'clock Uncle was happier than I
have almost ever seen him, and Mr. Peters said it was no use, we just
simply must join their party and go on in the automobile. Lee began to
laugh when he said that, and said: "Now, Peters, you'll learn the
sensation of getting turned down cold." It was an awful second for me,
because I just felt Uncle's terrible battle between not wanting to go on
with Lee and wanting to contradict him; but in the end the wanting to
contradict overpowered everything else, and he said: "Young man, when
you are as old as I am you'll be less ready to speak for other people
than you seem disposed to do now."

[Illustration: "We passed Elfrida and her sister to-day, pedaling along
for dear life"]

And then he accepted Mr. Peters's invitation! So will you only please to
think of it--we are touring with Lee, and to-day we came up through the
lovely valley of the Vire to this little town of the same name. It is
all too nice for words; Uncle sits on the front seat all the time, and
when he gives Mr. Peters advice, Mr. Peters always thanks him and says
that he never met any one before with sense enough to have figured that
out.

We passed Elfrida and her sister to-day, pedaling along for dear life.
They didn't know us, and they are getting to look so awful that I
thought it was just as well. Uncle says he thinks they are seeing Europe
for thirty cents a day now.

It is raining, and I must go to bed.

                                                  Your very happy,
                                                               YVONNE.



XI

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                               _Vire._

Dearest Mama: We are still here in Vire, and we cannot go on for it is
raining awfully. It rained all yesterday, and we had _more_ fun. About
ten in the morning an automobile arrived with a lady Lee knows named
Mrs. Brewer and three men, and about twelve another automobile arrived
with Clara and Emily Kingsley and their aunt Clara Emily and Ellsworth
Grimm and Jim Freeman and a chauffeur, and about half-past one a
runabout automobile came in with the two Tripps. We are like a big
house-party, and Mr. Peters plays poker with Uncle every minute, so we
can all have no end of a good time.

I must explain to you about Mr. Peters, because Lee explained to me. I
was so troubled over Mr. Peters being so devoted to Uncle and never
winning a single jack-pot once himself that Lee told me all about how it
is. It seems that Mr. Peters's mother was married to Mr. Peters's father
for quite a while before he died and that Mr. Peters's father wasn't
very well off and was very hard to live pleasantly with on account of
Mr. Stowell's father, who lived next door and was very well off and very
easy for Mr. Peters's mother to get along with always; Mr. Peters's
father died when Mr. Peters was about twelve years old, and just as soon
as it was perfectly ladylike, Mr. Peters's mother married Mr. Stowell's
father and went next door to live and had Mr. Stowell. Lee says Mr.
Stowell's father never liked Mr. Peters much because he reminded him of
all those years that Mr. Peters's and Mr. Stowell's mother lived next
door instead of living with him; but Lee says Mr. Peters is very clever,
and he saw how much his father lost from not being easy to get along
with, and so he made up his mind to be easy to get along with himself.
He gets along so well with Mr. Stowell that they travel together all the
time, and Lee says he told him that if he could get along well with
Uncle he'd make it well worth his while; so he's getting along
beautifully with Uncle, and Lee is making it ever so well worth his
while.

Clara Kingsley has fallen in love with one of the men who came with Mrs.
Brewer--the tall, dark one, who does not talk much and reads German in
his room most of his time. There are so many that I get names mixed, but
Emily Kingsley is the same as ever, and _such_ a joy to meet again. She
says she doesn't fall in love the way Clara does; she only gets badly
spattered. The two Tripps are both devoted to Emily, and I think they
are all sort of keeping along together. Miss Clara Emily asked after
every one in our family, even Aunt Jane. Of course I told her that Aunt
Jane had been dead two years, and you ought to have seen her jump and
look at Uncle. She asked me if Uncle lived alone in the house, and she
looked so reflective that I felt quite uncomfortable. I told Lee about
it, but he says Uncle must take his chances the same as the rest of the
world when it comes to Miss Clara Emily. I wish Lee wouldn't make light
of anything so serious as the way Miss Clara Emily looked reflective.
You know you wouldn't like her having all Aunt Jane's lace, and I'm sure
that after Uncle was completely married to her, he wouldn't like it at
all, either. I don't know what Mrs. Brewer is, but the men that came in
the automobile with her are just devoted to her, and she makes every one
have a good time. We played cards and Consequences all the afternoon,
and Mrs. Brewer told our fortunes from tea-leaves in the evening. She
told Uncle to beware of a long, pointed nose which she saw in his cup,
and Miss Clara Emily didn't know whether to be mad or glad. She saw a
wedding-ring in Lee's cup, and I blushed terribly and tried to cough,
and sneezed instead; and Lee said it was an automobile tire, and meant a
breakdown. I do think Lee is always so nice. But about eleven we all got
a terrible shock, for the handsome man that Clara has fallen in love
with suddenly came to the door with his German book in his hand and said
to Mrs. Brewer, "Come to bed, Bert. I'm sleepy as the devil."

You never saw anything like poor Clara! I thought that she would faint,
for you know when Clara falls in love how it goes all through her. She
went upstairs a little later, and, as luck would have it, she had the
next room to the Brewers, and she says it just about killed her to hear
him brushing his teeth, and I promised her I'd never tell, but she says
he called her and Emily the "Yellow Kids" and laughed and laughed and
laughed. I do think it was very horrid of him, for they can't help
having Mr. Kingsley's ears, and I comforted Clara all I could, and told
her that the way she puffs her hair is ever so becoming. It isn't a bit,
but I had to be as nice as I knew how, for she was crying so that I was
afraid Mr. Brewer would call her _Cyrano de Bergerac_, if she didn't
stop.

I had the room between Uncle and the two Tripps, and the two Tripps
calculated their money for three solid hours, I do believe, trying to
see whether they'd have to draw on Paris behind them or could wait for
London ahead. The big Tripp said Mr. Peters had a hard row to hoe and
the little Tripp said Lee had a soft snap, and then they added and
subtracted and divided for another hour. I was almost insane when
finally the little Tripp said: "Tell me what fifteen times nine is, and
then I'll go to sleep," and someone across the hall hollered: "In
Heaven's name tell him what fifteen times nine is, and then we'll _all_
go to sleep." There was deadly stillness after that.


(NEXT DAY)

                                                               _Vire._

Dearest Mama:

You see, we are still here and it is still raining. Every one
telegraphed for mail yesterday and every one got it to-day. I had your
letters and one from Edna and one from Mrs. Clary. They are going on a
coaching trip with the man who wasn't a duke, and Edna has bought three
new hats. Mrs. Clary says I am an angel and that she and Edna think it
right out of Heaven the way Lee has turned up. I had three letters from
Mr. Edgar, and he says he is thinking of making a trip into Brittany
and joining us. I told Lee, and Lee says he isn't thinking anything of
the kind, not in his life. I don't really think that Mr. Edgar and Lee
would get on very well together. I feel almost sure that they wouldn't
like each other. Indeed, I feel quite sure.

Poor Clara came to my room while I was reading letters, and she says she
is blighted by Mr. Brewer and knows she can never get over it. She says
she wouldn't have him know that she has the next room and can hear every
word for anything, for she says it's perfectly awful all she's
overhearing. She says he called Mrs. Brewer "Ladybug," and it sounded so
sweet that she cried for fifteen minutes with the pillow around her
head to keep them from hearing her. I'm awfully sorry about Clara,
because she is always so sincere. Don't you remember that time that she
was so sincere that they were afraid that she would commit suicide over
Cleever Wiggins--and that awfully sincere time she had with young Prof.
Cook? She says she could stand anything if she could feel that she was
reciprocated; but she says she can't feel that Mr. Brewer reciprocates
one bit, for he told his wife that he bet Clara would be an older maid
than her aunt before she got through with life, and Clara says that's no
compliment, however you work it.

When we went down-stairs, Mr. Peters and Uncle were playing poker and
Miss Clara Emily was sitting by them looking rapt. Heavens! I do hope
it will stop raining and let us get away soon, for Uncle told me this
noon that she was more unlike Aunt Jane than any woman that he had seen
in years. Lee says he hopes we can get away very soon, too; he does not
like Ellsworth Grimm. It is a pity, because Ellsworth has grown so nice,
and with his pointed beard he is really very handsome. He has done a
beautiful sketch of me that every one but Lee thinks is splendid, and
I'm going to send it to you when it is finished. Uncle is very
good-tempered, and has won over a hundred and fifty francs from Mr.
Peters at poker. Mr. Peters says he's played poker for years without
meeting such a rattling winner as Uncle, and Uncle believes him. The
two Tripps want to go on, too, because they decided to wait for their
money at London, and they are afraid they are going to run short. Mr.
Brewer wants to go, too, because he has finished his German book. I
think we all want to go, because two days is a long while to spend in
Vire. Clara says if they cannot go on in the automobile, she must take a
train, for she is getting more and more sincere the more she is hearing
Mr. Brewer talking to his wife through the wall. Clara says he said that
he was going to snip her nose off when they were dressing this morning,
and she says he calls her "Puss" till Clara feels as if she should
expire in agony. She doesn't get any sympathy from Emily, because Emily
has another room, and Emily isn't sincere, anyhow. Emily has thrown
over the two Tripps and taken Mr. Stowell, and thrown over Mr. Stowell
and gone back to the big Tripp, all in just these two days. Emily asked
me if I ever saw such a fool as Clara; she says it almost kills her to
have such a sister and such an aunt. She asked me if I'd noticed her
aunt looking at my Uncle, and I had to say yes. Then she said she did
hope that it would stop raining pretty soon, for she wants to get to
Granville and meet a man and get letters from three more.

[Illustration: "Miss Clara Emily is getting very much in earnest"]

Uncle came into my room this afternoon noon and said the more he saw of
Europe the better he liked it, and that Mr. Peters was the sort of
friend that was worth making. He said he had decided to go on with
them to Mont St. Michel, because they were so urgent that he couldn't
well get out of it. He says he hopes I won't consider that he has
changed his opinion of Lee because he hasn't, but that he will say this
much, and that is, that the fact that a man like Mr. Peters will call
Lee his friend proves that he must have some good in him somewhere.
Uncle said the Kingsleys seem to be nice girls, and then he coughed, but
I didn't say anything, so he dropped the subject. I must tell you,
though, that Miss Clara Emily is getting very much in earnest, and every
one is noticing it, and Uncle seems pleased.

We all played cards to-day and wrote letters and Lee told Ellsworth
Grimm he was a blank idiot under his breath. I don't know what was the
trouble, and Lee says it isn't any of my business, but I think we are
all getting cross from being shut up so much in this little country
hotel. Elfrida and her sister arrived about noon, but there wasn't any
spare room under two francs, and so they went to the other hotel.
Ellsworth Grimm has gone to the other hotel, too. He says it rains in
his ceiling and he's afraid he'll get pneumonia.

It's getting awful about poor Clara and Mr. Brewer, for he said
something about her to-day that almost killed her, and that is so bad
that she won't repeat it to me. She says Mrs. Brewer just shrieked with
laughter over it, and told him he was the dearest, horridest thing
alive. Clara says I cannot possibly guess the torture of being sincere
over a married man who howls with laughter over you in the next room.
She says she can't help hearing, and she's taken an awful cold standing
with her ear to the wall, too. Poor Clara!

Emily and the big Tripp went out and walked in the rain most all the
afternoon, and I thought she must be very fond of him to be willing to
get so wet; but she says all she's done here she's done to make Jim
Freeman jealous. I was so surprised when she told me that, for Jim has
spent the entire two days with the chauffeur under the automobile. They
have only come out to eat and sleep, and if he is in love with Emily,
he is certainly taking it easy.


                                            _Vire_ (_12 M. next day_).

Oh, Mama, we are so tired of this place! Clara has cried herself sick,
and her aunt sent for the doctor. Mr. and Mrs. Brewer heard through the
wall when he came, and heard that it was Clara, and of course they knew
that Clara must have heard them just as well as they could hear the
doctor, and they nearly went crazy. Mrs. Brewer came to me in a sort of
mad despair and said Mr. Brewer was almost wild. She says she has
mimicked Clara and Emily and their aunt over and over, and she never
dreamed that the wall was so thin. She says Mr. Brewer talks all the
time he dresses and undresses and says anything that comes into his
head. They felt perfectly unable to face Clara again, and it was raining
so hard that they couldn't go on, so they moved over to the other hotel.


                                           _Vire_ (_2 P.M. same day_).

It's very funny, but it seems that the little Tripp was dreadfully taken
with Mrs. Brewer, so the two Tripps have moved over to the other hotel,
too. Mr. Stowell and Emily want to go, too, but they are with parties,
and cannot do as they please. The big Tripp came back for his soap, and
said he had a fireplace and now Uncle wants to move, too.


                                           _Vire_ (_4 P.M. same day_).

We did move, and Lee said if we went, he was going. So he and Mr. Peters
and Mr. Stowell have come over. So we are all here except the Kingsleys
and Jim Freeman. I had to go back for Uncle's soap, and the little Tripp
left his pajamas, so we went back together to get both, and poor Clara
is delirious, screaming, "Yellow kids, yellow kids!" every minute. Every
one thinks she is thinking of shopping in Paris, and I didn't explain;
but while we were there, Mr. Brewer came back for their soap and heard
Clara, and, as a result, he and his wife went on in their automobile,
rain or no rain. They left one of their men named Scott McCarthy, and
took Ellsworth Grimm. Ellsworth wanted to go, and Scott wanted to stay,
so it happened very nicely.


                                           _Vire_ (6 P.M. _same day_).

They have just moved Clara over here. She had a fresh fit when she heard
Mr. Brewer getting the soap, and Miss Clara Emily thought that a change
of scene would benefit her; so they all moved over. Emily told me (I
walked over with Emily when she went back to get their soap) that it
really wasn't Clara at all: it was that her aunt wanted to keep close to
my Uncle. Isn't it awful? And Uncle is so flattered, too! I do hope that
it will stop raining to-morrow. Lee doesn't like Scott McCarthy, and it
is a pity, for he seems to be such a nice man. It's terribly dull
without Mrs. Brewer, she was so lively. Mr. Peters is beginning to look
real pale, and Lee says he ought to have a monument to patience erected
to him. Jim Freeman is worried over the automobiles; he's afraid
something will happen to them on account of our all changing hotels.
Wouldn't that be terrible?

                                                  Lovingly,
                                                               YVONNE.


                                           _Vire_ (_8 A.M. next day_).

P. S. Just a line to say that the sun has come out, and that we are
all going on by train, except Jim Freeman and the chauffeur. Some one
slashed all the automobile tires last night. Isn't that awful?



XII

UNCLE JOHN AND MONT-SAINT-MICHEL


"Well, this is a great change from the automobile--eh, Peters? Of all
the outrageous, heathenish actions, that cutting of automobile tires was
the worst. Every man at that hotel ought to be hung up and high-strung
and quartered--make an example of the whole outfit. I must say, though,
that I blame Freeman a good deal myself. He says he felt anxious, and
yet he never had that chauffeur set up to watch. Foolish, very foolish;
but he'll pay the penalty, having to stay there and wait for the tires
from Caen.

"Lee, if you could withdraw yourself somewhat from the window, perhaps I
could form some faint conception of what the country looks like to the
north. If you and Yvonne want to compare maps, I should suggest that you
sit side by side instead of holding the map so that it completely covers
my horizon.

"Well, Peters, and so here we are off for Dol. Dol seems to be the only
way to get in or out of Brittany and it must have been so always, for in
Matilda's tapestry she's got William and Harold on their way to Dol as a
beginning to making things hot for the Lord of Brittany. Very
interesting study, that tapestry, Peters. I wouldn't have--

"Stowell, I beg your pardon, but those are my feet, and not valises,
that you are going to sleep against. I didn't say anything as long as
you took them as they lay, but now that you want my left foot slanting
to the right, I must protest. Suppose you end yourself the other way for
a change, anyhow.

"Well, Peters, and so we are off for Mont-Saint-Michel, bless her old
heart--or is Michel a him? I must say, I'm deeply interested in to-day's
expedition. Wasn't some English Henry shut up on Mont-Saint-Michel and
fed by ravens there, or something like that? Yes; I know there's some
such legend, and now we're going to see the spot. How do we get from
Dol to the mont? By Pontorson, eh? And then diligence the rest. Well, I
must say it sounds like quite an undertaking; but then, if you leave the
beaten path, you must always pay the price, and I must say I enjoy these
little jaunts with a congenial party. Too bad the Kingsleys couldn't
have continued with us. Nice people, the Kingsleys--very interesting
girls. What did you say? Oh, yes, of course the aunt was interesting,
too; but--what did you say? Nonsense, nonsense! But I will say one
thing, Peters, and that is that it pays to travel around when it brings
one in contact with people such as yourself and Miss Kingsley.

"So this is Pontorson! Do we get down here? Is that the diligence? Do
we get up there? Great Scott! how can we? And it looks to be about full
already. Do you mean that we have got to climb that little ladder? I
don't believe Yvonne can. I don't believe she ought to, even if she can.
Can't we go to Mont-Saint-Michel some other way? Peters, I'd like to
slay with my own hands that wretch that slashed our automobile. Will you
think of the difference he is making in our comfort these days?

"Well, Stowell, let's see you skin up there first. Looks easy, don't it,
Peters? Lee, you go next. Now, Peters, it's your turn. And now, Yvonne,
my child, steady, and start and keep right on to the end.
There--there--catch her on top anywhere, Peters. Got her? Are you all
right, child? And now for your Uncle John!

"Ask him if this is a new ladder. I don't want to take any chances with
an old ladder, you know. Well, what did he say? Ask him if people ever
do fall or meet with any sort of accidents going up. Well, what did he
say? Peters, this looks more serious every minute. What do they have the
thing so high for, anyhow? I must say I don't like going up there at
all. Ask him if he has ever known anyone to miss their footing? Well,
tell him to keep a good grip on the ladder. Now then, one, two,--oh,
this is--confound him! tell him to steady it--Great Scott! Landed!

"And now that I am up, tell me how in all creation I'm ever to get down
again.

"Well, why don't we start? That's the worst of Europe, Peters--no push,
no energy. Perfectly content to sit on a diligence and stagnate. Let me
look at my watch. Eleven. Well, I'm not at all surprised. I wouldn't be
surprised at anything that might occur in this vicinity. I tell you,
Peters, it will be a glad day for me when I set my foot down hard on a
New York steamer pier once more. I can't but feel--

"Ah, so we are to get under way at last! Lumbering old concern--eh,
Peters? Great contrast to the automobile--Lee, as there may be some one
speaking English within a mile of us, I would suggest that you lower
your voice a trifle and give the other fellow a chance. What? I don't
catch what you say? Speaking to _me_? Who's speaking to me? _You?_ Well,
what do you want to say to me? I'm right here to be spoken to, and from
the outlook I should fancy that I was going to be right here for an
indefinite length of time. Well, what is it? The Brewers! Where? Ahead
there? How do you know? Are you sure? What do you think, Peters? Yes,
that's them. Brewer seems to be underneath the machine. Well, what shall
we do? Wave and holler? We can't do anything else if we want to. But
they are going to be a good deal surprised to see us perched aloft like
this. Yes; there's Mrs. Brewer sitting on the bank with McCarthy and
the other man. I'd rather be the guests than the owner when it comes to
an automobile any day.

"Well, why don't you holler, Lee? That's it--make a trumpet out of your
hands and just give it to them. Gee! but they are surprised! Holler that
we are going to Mme. Poulard Ainé. I suppose that they're going there,
too, anyway; no one ever goes anywhere else. Dear me! but they're happy
to have that automobile. Lucky for them that they went on just when they
did. There's Brewer crawling out from under. Well, I can't stay twisted
any longer, so we'll turn our eyes once more to the future.

"What's that ant-hill out at sea? It isn't the sea, though, is it? It's
land; gray sand, I vow. And so that is Mont-Saint-Michel? Curious. Used
to be on land, eh, and then got to be on sea? It appears to me that we
have quite a drive before us yet. Looks to me to be three or four miles.
What do you say, Peters? Of course I don't know, how big the mont is, so
I have nothing to judge the distance by; but I should say three miles at
least.

"Stowell, I've heard that story you are telling ever since I was born;
who ever told you that it was new ought to be shot. This tendency to
tell old stories is a perfect vice with some people, Peters, and that
brother of yours is forever doing it. I've heard him tell about calling
the cabman a pig in France and asking him if he was engaged in Germany
until I'm about to the end of my patience. Great Scott! how hot the sun
is, and no matter how gaily we lumber along, the mont looks to be
equally distant. What is this road we're on, anyway? Seems to be a
highway in the most literal sense of the word. Dike, eh? Built on
purpose for tourists, I suppose--the American tourists before all, I'll
bet.

"Well, so that is the mont close to. Appears to just comfortably cover
up the whole island. Curious collection of houses and staircases topped
off by a church. However, my main care at this moment isn't what we've
come to see, but how in thunder we're to get down to see it. Well, the
people line up pretty thick, and they have the additional joy of knowing
that every last one of us is a tourist. That's one good thing about
America, Peters, you can travel there without being a tourist. You pay a
stiff price for very little, but that little's good, and the game ends
with it. Europe's entirely different: what turns on the light over the
wash-stand turns it off over the bed, and then, with all that, they mark
light extra in the bill. There don't seem to be any legitimate hotel
comforts here: they're all extra. I vow, I hate to take that hard-wood
bolster out from under my head nights, for it's the one thing I get for
nothing in every hotel.

"Well, Yvonne, I think you'd better go down first. You go next,
Stowell, and then you, Lee. You and I, Peters, will wait and take our
time. I vow, I'm not very keen on this descent. Just hold my hat, will
you? Here, you, down there, hold this ladder steady. Peters, I--where's
the next step? Peters, you--where's the bottom? I vow I--

"Safe at last! quaint old place--old wall with a gate in it, eh!
Fishing-rods and oars all about; when does the tide come in? Faster than
a horse can gallop, eh? Well, that must be sad for the horse. Anyhow, I
didn't ask how fast it came in; I asked when it would come in next.
Well, ask some one. An hour after we leave, eh? Interesting. But come
on; let's go up to Mme. Poulard Ainé and eat the omelet, and then we
can climb around some. You walk on, Yvonne, and order the luncheon, and
Mr. Peters and I will come leisurely after. Yes, my niece is a pretty
girl, Peters, but nothing but a child--nothing but a child. No more idea
of worldliness than a cat has of a cactus; a great responsibility to
travel with--a great responsibility. Between you and me, I used to
suspect young Reynolds of paying her attention; but when he took another
ship over, and then left Paris before we arrived, I saw my suspicions
had been wrong. I said a thing or two about him to Yvonne, and she took
it perfectly placidly, so then I saw that it was all off. I don't like
to run down a friend of yours, Peters,--and I suppose he must be a
friend of yours or you wouldn't have him along with you,--but you're old
enough to see that he hasn't got the stuff in him to make any girl
happy. He's too--too--well, I can't just express it, but I know that you
understand. It takes peculiar attributes to make a woman happy. Now,
take me for example. My wife and I were very happy; she always knew just
what was expected of her, and she always did it. It followed naturally
that--

"And so this is the famous omelet-place. Well, in we go. Quaint--very
quaint. Look at the chickens turning on the spit and dripping in a
trough. My, but they look good! Mme. Poulard herself, isn't it? Good
day, ma'am; bon jour--bon jour. Glory, what a smile, stereoscoped and
illuminated! Makes me think of the china cat's head that we used to put
a candle inside of when I was a kid. Do we go upstairs? Eat up there,
eh? Quaint--very quaint. Every fellow did what he pleased to these
walls, evidently. Well, Peters, let's sit down."

"And so we now set out to climb Mont-Saint-Michel. Picturesque flight of
steps. No, I don't mind climbing--good exercise. Curious little winding
walk; old woman with baskets to sell. No, we don't want any; go 'way, go
'way. Terrible nuisance such people. Here's another with yellow flowers.
No, no, go 'way, you--and another with matches. No, no, go 'way. Well,
that's a pretty tall flight of steps, isn't it, Peters? But I guess we
can make it. Where's Yvonne? Ahead, eh? Well, I presume those two
fellows can look out for her. Curious about the Brewers not turning up;
suppose he's under the automobile yet? Wonder how Freeman is getting on
in Vire. Let's stop and look at the view. Fine view! As I was saying,
Peters, it was too bad the way we broke up at Vire. I really felt mean
over leaving as we did. What did you say? Nonsense; none of that,
Peters, none of that. But I will say one thing for her: she certainly
was a woman of great perception--always thoughtful for others. Did you
notice how she used to push the ash-receiver toward me? It's things
like that that make a man comfortable. Astonishing that such a woman
should never marry. Well, let's go on. Not more than ninety more steps
and two flower women to get over. Peters, have you observed how many
stairs there are in Europe? It fairly bristles with them. We go pretty
nearly stair-free with us, and over here it's stairs from dawn till--

"Great Scott, will you look at them! Oh, I never can go up there, never!
We may as well go back. If you want to, you can go up; but I couldn't
possibly see anything that would compensate me for those steps. I'll bet
there are ten thousand, and like as not there are more beyond. I'm
going back and sit with Mme. Poulard Ainé till it's time to go. You go
on alone. Just tell him we don't want any of those oyster-shell
pincushions first, will you? Then you go on by yourself, Peters, I've
had enough."



XIII

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                           _St. Malo._

Dearest Mama: We are all here together again except the Brewers and the
two Tripps and Ellsworth Grimm. It is very jolly, only I am so worried
over Uncle and Miss Clara Emily. Even Mr. Peters cannot keep them apart.
Lee took Mr. Peters to his room and talked to him seriously, and offered
to make Uncle still more worth his while; but Mr. Peters has been
agreeable so long that he doesn't do it well any more. He just looks
silly, and Lee says if he was us he'd let Uncle go rip. But of course
Lee isn't us, and I know that he can't be expected to know just how we
feel. If Uncle John marries Miss Clara Emily, I know no one is going to
like it at all.

[Illustration: In Mont-Saint-Michel]

We went to Mont-Saint-Michel, and every one but Uncle went up, and he
went seven flights up--he _says_ twenty, but I don't believe that there
are more than sixteen or seventeen in all. We were ahead, and never knew
that he had stopped being behind, and it was so interesting on top that
I forgot I had an uncle. There are beautiful halls and cloisters, and
then one goes down through all sorts of horrors while the guide tells
who lived five years in this hole and who lived twelve years under
those steps. You get to have such a contempt for people who were in
prison only one or two years over here--as if they ought to be ashamed
of only having been in such a short time. There is a ghostly, ghastly
museum in Mont-Saint-Michel where the visitors walk through an unlighted
gallery and look in at wax victims doing different things in a very
thoughtful manner--all but one man who walked on the sand and was
overtaken by the tide, and _he_ looks anything but thoughtful. The best
was the battle, which was very realistic and must have been very trying
to the leaders; for how could they get absorbed in a fight when the tide
would drown them if they kept on a minute too long? There was a man who
thought he would escape, and dug a way out with his nails, taking a
short life-time to the task; and then he found he'd dug in instead of
out, and, after letting himself down with a rope, he came to a bottom
all covered with skeletons. I can assure you that I was glad we were all
together and that Lee had my arm tight, for the scenes were awful, and I
grew so sick toward the last that when we came down at the end and found
Uncle sitting on the ramparts with Miss Clara Emily, I nearly screamed.
They had all come while we were above, and Emily and some men were out
walking on the sand. Clara is somewhat better; but I think she is even
more sincere than usual this time. In her locket she has some plaster
from the wall that she heard through, and she says she sleeps with it
pressed to her lips. And I _know_ that Miss Clara Emily is going to do
everything in the world to get Uncle, for Emily says she was traveling
just with a little hand-satchel, and now she insists on a suit-case. Oh,
dear, I don't know what to do; and Lee is tired of the situation, and
wants to go yachting, and I want to go with him. It would be so lovely
off yachting with Lee; and the yacht is anchored where we can see her
from the city walls. Lee is forever pointing to her. He says Mr. Stowell
would let him have her for a month, any day.

We passed the Brewers on our way to Mont-Saint-Michel, but they must
have seen the Kingsleys and gone back. Mrs. Brewer told me in Vire that
they could never meet the Kingsleys again; she said that Mr. Brewer said
if he should meet Clara he knew he should explode. I don't think that
Mr. Brewer has much heart or he never would have called poor Clara a
Yellow Kid; I've known Clara ever since I was a baby, and it never
struck me that she looked like that till she told me that Mr. Brewer
said so.

[Illustration: "Uncle sitting on the ramparts with Miss Clara Emily"]

We all took the tram-ride to Rocabey yesterday, but one is so afraid
that a wave will wash over the car and drench every one with spray that
it isn't much fun. The tide is so funny all along this coast, because
the coast is so level that a foot of water covers a mile or so, and when
a wave starts to come in there's nothing to stop it at all. I don't
think that St. Malo is very interesting, but perhaps that is just Uncle
and Miss Clara Emily. He sends her violets, and I know it is he, for
it couldn't be Mr. Peters or Mr. Stowell, and it wouldn't be Jim Freeman
or Scott McCarthy. She wears them pinned on in such a funny way.


(NEXT DAY)

                                                           _St. Malo._

Dearest Mama: Edna has sent me the letter about your coming over, and I
am so relieved. Perhaps you will get here in time to save Uncle from
Miss Clara Emily; I do hope so. Edna's things must be lovely, and I read
her letter to Lee. He says if I'm good I will have some things of my own
some day, and I do hope so; but Uncle is so heavy on my mind that I
cannot realize that I shall ever have any life except trying to keep
him from Miss Clara Emily. Mr. Peters is no good at all any more, and
has a bad cold besides. He and Clara sit on the ramparts and gaze at the
sea, and look as if they were two consolation prizes that the people who
won didn't care enough about to take home with them. Lee says he never
realized that Mr. Peters could peter out quite so completely. Lee wants
to go yachting, and wants me to go, too, and I can't leave Uncle, and
Uncle won't leave Miss Clara Emily. It's quite stupid here at St. Malo,
and we want to go on; but Lee won't go on, and I'd rather stay in a
stupid place with Lee than go anywhere without him. He's mad over the
Kingsleys tagging along, because he likes Scott McCarthy less and less
all the time. Scott walks on the other side of me sometimes, and Lee
doesn't like it. I think land is getting on Lee's nerves, and he ought
to go yachting; but life is such a tangle just now that I don't know
what to do about anything. Miss Clara Emily is hemstitching a
handkerchief, and I just know that it is for Uncle. Oh, dear.


(NEXT DAY)

                                                           _St. Malo._

Dearest Mama: Such an awful thing almost happened! Clara had a
nightmare, and came near choking to death on Mr. Brewer's plaster--the
locket, you know. Uncle says only a prompt, efficient, quick-witted,
thoroughly capable nature like Miss Clara Emily's could have saved her.
Oh, I just know he's becoming serious, and Lee says it's just tommy-rot
about the efficiency, because all in the world that Miss Clara Emily did
was to jerk the locket up by the chain; and she did that in such an
awfully quick way that poor Clara says she's cured of Mr. Brewer
forever. She will have to eat soup through a china straw for several
days.

Uncle wants to go to Carnac and see the ruins of the Stone Age, and he
and Miss Clara Emily are mapping out a trip. I'm sure I don't know what
I'll do, for Scott McCarthy has bet Mr. Stowell ten dollars that Uncle
gets "hooked" in Carnac. Lee told me, and Lee himself is provisioning
the yacht, and says he's cock-sure that he eats some of those
provisions aboard of her himself. Emily doesn't want to go to Carnac,
and Jim Freeman says it isn't any automobile country, on account of the
relics of the Stone Age being so thick in the roads.


(NEXT DAY)

                                                           _St. Malo._

Dearest Mama: Why didn't you write me that Mrs. Whalen was coming
abroad? She arrived last night on the Jersey boat, and saw Uncle and
Miss Clara Emily on the ramparts through her marine glasses. She hunted
us up at once, for she says that affair must stop right where it is. She
asked if you approved of Lee, and when I told her that you did, she said
then she had nothing to say. Lee introduced her to Mr. Peters, and she
sent him straight to bed and had them poultice his chest and
mustard-plaster his back, for she says his cold may run into anything. I
took her up to Clara, and she sent out for sweet oil, and stopped the
china straw, and set her to gargling. She says it's awful the amount she
finds to do everywhere she goes, and she was in a train accident before
she came to the steamer, and you ought to hear how she chopped people
out. The shade in my room didn't work, and she put a chair on a
wash-stand, and fixed it with a screw-driver that she carries in her
pocket. Jim Freeman wants her to go under the automobile with him; but
she says since she's a widow she never goes anywhere alone with one
man. Uncle and Miss Clara Emily came in just then, and the effect was
paralyzing. Uncle turned red, and poor Miss Clara Emily nearly sank to
the floor. Mrs. Whalen advanced toward them as if she were a general
leading a cavalry charge afoot, and said: "Well, so the old folks have
been out sunning themselves!" Did you ever hear of anything more cruel?
Miss Clara Emily looked blue with rage, and said she must go to Clara,
and Mrs. Whalen said: "John, come with me," and took Uncle off behind
some palms, and Lee and I went away so as not to be anywhere when he
came out.

We didn't come back until nearly six, and Lee said he supposed we'd
find Uncle and Mr. Peters learning to play "old maid"; but when we came
in, Uncle was reading a New York paper about a month old, and Mrs.
Whalen had gone out with Scott McCarthy to buy Clara a hot-water bag.
Miss Clara Emily was upstairs packing, to take Clara to a specialist
somewhere else. Mrs. Whalen came to my room after dinner, and said I
must rub kerosene or vaseline into my hair every night for a month. I
don't want to, but I'm so grateful about Uncle that I'll pour a lamp
over myself if she wants me to. Uncle came to my room a while later and
said: "Hum!" and shook his watch, and held it to his ear. I don't think
he liked being broken up with Miss Clara Emily, but he only said that
he was going out on the yacht to-morrow (that's to-day), and for me to
consider myself in Mrs. Whalen's charge for the time being.

He went away early this morning with Mr. Peters and Jim Freeman and Lee,
and Mrs. Whalen and I saw the Kingsleys off for Rennes at noon. I'm sure
Miss Clara Emily felt dreadfully over Uncle, and Emily says she's more
than ever ashamed of having such an aunt. Emily told me that if an
Englishman came on this afternoon's boat from Jersey, to tell him they'd
gone to Dol. She didn't want him in Rennes, because she knows two French
officers in Rennes. It was not a very nice day for traveling, for there
is such a wind they won't be able to have the windows down at all, and
you know it's only fun when you have the windows down. Mrs. Whalen says
she'd have the windows down anyway; she says she'd like to see the
Frenchman that she wouldn't put a window down in his face, if she felt
like it. I asked her where she was going next, and she said she had no
idea, but she thought to Dol and Mont-Saint-Michel, as long as she is so
near. She says it was a stroke of luck her happening here just in time
to save Uncle; she's positive he was holding her hand through the marine
glasses. She says it's good she came about Mr. Peters, too, not to speak
of Clara.

[Illustration: "Mrs. Whalen has just come in to say she's going to Dol"]

It keeps blowing more, and Scott McCarthy says that they'll be out all
night. Lee will like that, and Uncle won't, and Uncle will see that Lee
likes it and then he won't like Lee. Oh, dear! But I mustn't mind
anything as long as Miss Clara Emily is gone.

Mrs. Whalen has just come in to say that she's going to Dol, so as to
see the tide come in at Mont-Saint-Michel, and to measure out the ginger
so I can make Mr. Peters the tea. I'm sure I'm glad she is going, for
she makes me so tired and nervous, always hopping up to fix something
with her screw-driver, and I want to wash the petroleum out of my hair
before Lee comes back. He doesn't like the smell of petroleum at all. I
offered to help her pack, but she doesn't pack. She wears a sort of
night-gown for underwaist and petticoat together, and the front of her
blouse has pockets inside for all her toilet things. She says she washes
one garment every night, and buys a clean handkerchief each Saturday and
Wednesday, and has a pocket for her letter of credit sewed to her
corset. I think it is awful to be so very convenient.


                                                              _Later._

She went and never said a thing about me, for it left me all alone with
Scott McCarthy, and I know Lee won't like that at all. The mail came,
and I thought I'd better say I had a headache and come up here to stay
alone till Uncle comes back. I had all your letters and Edna's. Edna is
so happy, and everything goes so smooth for her and Harry that I'm
almost sorry some days that I'm Uncle's favorite. Lee wants to tell
Uncle right out and be done with it; but I want to wait for a favorable
time, and every time that things begin to look favorable something
unexpected happens to make him say "Hum." It is so trying. Edna says
she's getting a lot of things twice over so that I can have half, and
she says she thinks we ought to be coming back so as to meet you. I
can't make her understand how helpless I am, for I can't do anything
with Uncle unless I'm alone with him enough to make him think that I
want to do something else. And Lee thinks it is an outrage and says he
has rights, too. I do think that if I didn't love Lee I would be really
glad to have the world all women, men are so difficult to get along
with.

But, you know, no matter what I say, I'm having a lovely time after all,
and I _am_ grateful to Uncle for having brought us.

                                                        Lovingly,
                                                               YVONNE.

P. S. It is ten o'clock, and the yacht never came in. If Uncle gets
seasick in a storm, he'll never want to lay eyes on Lee again, and he'll
_never_ forgive me.



XIV

YVONNE TO HER MOTHER


                                                             _Carnac._

Dear Mama: I'm just about in despair, and Lee doesn't know where I am.
We reached Carnac last night, and Uncle is "hum-ming" like a top, so to
speak. But I must tell you all about it.

The yacht got too far out, and the new thumb-screw, or whatever it is on
a yacht, stuck, and they blew and pitched until they pitched on to the
Island of Jersey, where Lee and Uncle went ashore for Lee to send a
machinist aboard. While Lee was busy, Uncle just quietly went aboard the
Jersey boat and came back to St. Malo without saying please or thank you
to a soul. He walked in on me and told me we were to leave for Dol the
next day, and for Heaven's sake not to remind him of Aunt Jane by asking
questions. I was dreadfully upset, but of course I never thought for a
minute of reminding him of Aunt Jane, so I packed that evening and left
a letter for Lee telling him please not to be vexed. We took an early
train for Dol (it's always Dol in Brittany), and in Dol we changed for
Rennes. Of course I thought that Uncle was chasing Miss Clara Emily when
I saw the train marked Rennes, but I didn't dare say a word, for he
never spoke but once between Dol and Rennes, and that time all he said
was "Hum."

[Illustration: A Street in Auray]

We reached Rennes, and I thought we would go to a hotel; but we changed
cars again--this time for Redon. Uncle spoke again, and asked me if I
had the Gaelic grammar handy. I said no, and he said "Hum." Then we
reached Redon and changed cars again for Auray. Going to Auray, Uncle
asked me what became of Mrs. Whalen, and when I told him that she went
to Mont-Saint-Michel, he said her husband was a lucky man to be dead.
Then we came to Auray and changed cars for Plouharnel, and I began to
wonder why we didn't run off the end of Brittany into the sea. We
reached Plouharnel about four in the afternoon, and took a tram for
Carnac at once, and when we reached Carnac Uncle said to pardon the
personality of the statement, but that he never again would try to keep
up with the eternal activity of a young person. I thought that that was
pretty hard when I didn't even know where we were going, but I didn't
say anything, and when he went to wash, I gave the waiter an extra tip
to feed us quickly. After Uncle ate, we went out and walked around
Carnac a very little and saw all the people in their black velvet
hat-ribbons and short jackets; but when I said they looked picturesque,
Uncle said that they looked like darned fools, so we came home, and now
we are going to bed. I have written Lee, but I don't know when he will
get it, because of course it will have to go backward through all these
changes.

[Illustration: "When he went to wash I gave the waiter an extra tip to
feed us quickly"]


(NEXT DAY)

                                                             _Carnac._

Dearest Mama: Uncle woke up ever so much better this morning, and told
me that he pitied any poor wretch who has ever been sicker than he was
on "that d----d yacht." He said, too, that any one who could suppose for
a minute that he should have any serious intentions toward such a woman
as Miss Clara Emily would be even more of an utter idiot than Mrs.
Whalen appeared to be. He said, too, that the ticket-agent who told him
that Carnac was an easy place to go to, ought to be strangled by the
first traveler who got back alive from the effects of believing him to
be telling the truth. He said, too, that if he survived Europe and
reached home again, he'd get in a bathtub and know when he was well off
for one while. He said, too, that when he had once looked around the
Stone Age he was going to head for Paris with a speed which he rather
guessed would cause the natives to open their eyes.

[Illustration: "Broke the bell-rope ordering breakfast"]

Then he went to his room and broke the bell-rope ordering breakfast.

After breakfast we went to walk and saw more stone walls than I ever saw
before. There isn't a wooden house or fence in the whole of Brittany, I
believe. We walked to a tiny village called St. Columban's, and climbed
the tower of the little church. There was a fine view, but Uncle said he
could smell the oysters for miles around, so we came down right off and
walked back. There was a girl who said she would drive us all over in
the afternoon, and let us take the night train from Auray; so we
returned to the hotel and had an early lunch, and then she came to the
door with a shaky old thing like a carry-all and a fat little horse, and
we started.

Mama, you never saw anything like Uncle. Everything was wrong at
first--every living thing, and the one saving grace of the situation was
that the girl who drove couldn't speak English. But after a while we
came to the first menhirs, and Uncle just about went into a fit. They
are the most curious things I ever saw, for they stand in parallel rows
miles long and every one is resting on its little end and has been
resting on its little end for thousands of years. At the first glance
Uncle said they were arranged so just for tourists; but he got out and
walked around them and tried to shake one or two, and then he said he
wouldn't have missed seeing them for the world and that he should never
regret coming to Europe as long as he might live hereafter. He was
perfectly lovely for a while after that, and we looked at dolmens and
cromlechs the whole afternoon, and sometimes we thought they were
hay-mows when we saw them far ahead and sometimes we thought they were
houses. We only had one unfortunate time, and that was when we had to
ferry over the Crach. The ferry was on the other side, and that upset
Uncle right away and he asked me if my experience had ever led me to a
ferry that was _not_ on the other side. They took nearly half an hour to
bring it across, and Uncle said that it would be a great day for Europe
if she ever learned what t-i-m-e spelt, and he looked at me as if I were
Europe while he said it. They are building a bridge over the Crach, and
as soon as we embarked on the rickety old ferry, it blew in between two
of the piers and wedged tight, with us on it. Uncle asked me if I was
going to have the face to tell him that we were not stuck and were not
going to be stuck there indefinitely, and I really didn't know _what_ to
answer. The men in the boat hollered and hauled and swore in Gaelic, and
finally we were free for fifty feet, and then the tide blew us in
between two other piers. Uncle said he could but feel that being stuck
twice on the same ferry was a poor reward for a kind-hearted man who was
trying to the best of his ability to give some species of instructive
amusement to an innocent girl, and then he looked severely at the
setting sun while we came loose again and progressed fifty feet more. A
great, thick wave came then and broke over the horse and smashed us in
so hard and fast that I was honestly scared. Uncle was too mad for
words. He said that he would just make one remark, and that was that if
he ever gave me a chance to beguile him away from civilization again he
would cheerfully and contentedly and silently end his days on any ferry
which I would choose to designate to him. It was getting cold, and I was
so tired from yesterday that I just shut my eyes and did not speak at
all, and when we came loose, Uncle spoke to me quite gently and was very
nice all the rest of the way.

We were too late for the train and have come back to Carnac. I feel
about done up.


(NEXT DAY)

                                                             _Carnac._

Dearest Mama: Lee and Edna and Mrs. Clary are all here. Just listen. Lee
looks like a ghost, and it seems that no one noticed Uncle go aboard
that Jersey boat because Uncle went aboard by a gang-plank that's
forbidden, and he thought that he was drowned, and they dragged the dock
and sent down divers, and finally came over to St. Malo to break the
news to me, having telegraphed Mrs. Clary and Edna to come at once. He
reached St. Malo only to find us gone, and they have been tracing us
with the automobile ever since. Lee is so glad Uncle is alive that he
keeps grabbing his hand and shaking it and shaking it, and Uncle says I
must not mention it to Lee, for it might go to his head, but that he is
one of the few young men who have a heart in the right place, and that
he has always had a special fondness for him ever since he was a baby.
Lee thinks that under the circumstances we had better tell Uncle
to-night, and we are going to. I feel rather nervous, but Lee says he
can never stand anything like these three days again.

[Illustration: "He told Mrs. Clary that he had foreseen this finale to
our trip all along," etc.]


                                           _Midnight of the same day._

My Own Dearest Mama: Uncle says yes! He says he has been carefully
scheming and planning to bring Lee and me together for years. He says
there are traits in Lee which are so like his own that he cannot but
admit that Lee is one of the very few men in this world calculated to
make a woman happy. He told Mrs. Clary that he had foreseen this finale
to our trip all along, and I do believe that he really believes himself.

The Brewers arrived about nine o'clock to-night, and they are so
delighted. Mr. Brewer is so kind; he says Uncle must go to Locmariaquer
and around that way with them. I reckon he thinks I need a rest. We told
them about Clara and the locket, and I thought that they would die. Mr.
Brewer says that never a day passes without their remembering something
fresh which she must have overheard.

I am so happy over Uncle that I hardly know what to do. He says it has
been the pleasantest trip of his life, this little tour with me, and
that Lee must never cease to treat me with the tender care which he has
given me all along. He says Lee must remember what a sensitive
organization a woman has and never indulge in temper or impatience or
strong language or sarcasm. Lee is very nice and says "Yes, sir," and
nods every time. I do think Lee gets nicer and nicer all the time.

We start toward Paris to-morrow.

                                                Your awfully happy,
                                                               YVONNE.



XV

UNCLE JOHN WELL CONTENT


"Well, Mrs. Brewer, this is certainly the only way to travel, after all.
Comfortable, clean,--for if there is a smell, some other fellow gets
it,--and no jolting. And now that I have that dear child established and
off my mind, I feel that I can conscientiously give myself a few days of
free and easy pleasure. I've done nothing up to now but consider Yvonne
and her needs, mental and material, and although I love the child like
my own, still I cannot but admit that a young girl is a great care. And
of course you never can be positive that the right man will turn up.
However, all's well that ends well, and I'm happy to say that I'm ending
this little trip extremely well content. Some men might regret not
having seen more, but never me. You see, Brewer, I am one of the
easy-going, placid, serene type, and whatever turns up suits me
perfectly. I guess if you ask my family far and wide you won't find one
member to deny that statement, or if you do, you will just have the
kindness to let me know who it is and I'll take steps to prevent their
ever expressing such an opinion a second time.

"Fine view here. Good road. Believe I'll have a machine of my own when
I get back to America. What's that island off at sea? Belle-Isle, eh?
Dumas' Belle-Isle? Very interesting. We might make a little excursion
out there, calling ourselves the Three Mousquetaires, eh? I'll be
d'Artagnan; I always fancy d'Artagnan. I tell you, Brewer, something
martial gets up and stirs around in my bosom as a result of this trip--a
sort of dare-devil, Robert-the-Devil, piratical, Crusader sort of a
thrill. I shall never be sorry that I came. The trip has not been one of
unmitigated joy. We have borne our crosses,--many crosses,--and yet I
will remark--and I'll swear it, too, if you like,--that I'm glad I came.

"I've seen thoroughly every place I've been in. I've made my niece
enjoy life, and I've made every one else with whom I came in contact
enjoy life. I've won for her just the one man calculated to make her
happy, and now I am headed for the one land calculated to make me happy.

"I'm glad that I came, I'm glad that I came."


THE END





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