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Title: Our Little French Cousin
Author: McManus, Blanche, 1869-
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.

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Our Little French Cousin


Little Cousin Series


    Each volume illustrated with six or more full page plates in
    tint. Cloth, 12mo, with decorative cover
    per volume, $1.00



    =Our Little African Cousin=
    =Our Little Alaskan Cousin=
    =Our Little Arabian Cousin=
    =Our Little Argentine Cousin=
    =Our Little Armenian Cousin=
    =Our Little Australian Cousin=
    =Our Little Austrian Cousin=
    =Our Little Belgian Cousin=
    =Our Little Bohemian Cousin=
    =Our Little Brazilian Cousin=
    =Our Little Bulgarian Cousin=
    =Our Little Canadian Cousin of the Great Northwest=
    =Our Little Canadian Cousin of the Maritime Provinces=
    =Our Little Chinese Cousin=
    =Our Little Cossack Cousin=
    =Our Little Cuban Cousin=
    =Our Little Czecho-Slovac Cousin=
    =Our Little Danish Cousin=
    =Our Little Dutch Cousin=
    =Our Little Egyptian Cousin=
    =Our Little English Cousin=
    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=
    =Our Little Finnish Cousin=
    =Our Little French Cousin=
    =Our Little German Cousin=
    =Our Little Grecian Cousin=
    =Our Little Hawaiian Cousin=
    =Our Little Hindu Cousin=
    =Our Little Hungarian Cousin=
    =Our Little Indian Cousin=
    =Our Little Irish Cousin=
    =Our Little Italian Cousin=
    =Our Little Japanese Cousin=
    =Our Little Jewish Cousin=
    =Our Little Jugoslav Cousin=
    =Our Little Korean Cousin=
    =Our Little Malayan (Brown) Cousin=
    =Our Little Mexican Cousin=
    =Our Little Norwegian Cousin=
    =Our Little Panama Cousin=
    =Our Little Persian Cousin=
    =Our Little Philippine Cousin=
    =Our Little Polish Cousin=
    =Our Little Porto Rican Cousin=
    =Our Little Portuguese Cousin=
    =Our Little Quebec Cousin=
    =Our Little Roumanian Cousin=
    =Our Little Russian Cousin=
    =Our Little Scotch Cousin=
    =Our Little Servian Cousin=
    =Our Little Siamese Cousin=
    =Our Little South African (Boer) Cousin=
    =Our Little Spanish Cousin=
    =Our Little Swedish Cousin=
    =Our Little Swiss Cousin=
    =Our Little Turkish Cousin=
    =Our Little Ukrainian Cousin=
    =Our Little Welsh Cousin=
    =Our Little West Indian Cousin=

    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY (Inc.)
    53 Beacon Street     Boston, Mass.

[Illustration: GERMAINE]

    Our Little
    French Cousin

    Blanche McManus

    _Illustrated by_
    The Author


    The Page Company

    _Copyright, 1905_

    _All rights reserved_

    Made in U. S. A.

    Published May, 1905
    Fourth Impression, May, 1908
    Fifth Impression, October, 1909
    Sixth Impression, June, 1911
    Seventh Impression, February, 1913
    Eighth Impression, October, 1915
    Ninth Impression, March, 1918
    Tenth Impression, May, 1919
    Eleventh Impression, February, 1922
    Twelfth Impression, March, 1926

    BOSTON, MASS., U. S. A.


IF a little girl or boy helps another who is in trouble, they are sure
to be the best of friends. In the early days, before this country
became a great nation, when the Colonies were at war with England,
fighting for the independence and freedom which we now celebrate each
year on the Fourth of July, a French nobleman by the name of Lafayette
came across the sea to help us. We needed his help, and when the brave
Colonial soldiers at last won a great victory, and the Colonies became
one nation, we were very grateful to Lafayette for the help he had
given, and because he was a Frenchman, the people of France and the
people of the United States became fast friends.

This story was written to help us learn more about our wonderful French
cousins. Germaine, "Our Little French Cousin," happened to live in
Normandy, but her every-day life, her parents and her friends were just
like those of other French children. True, she travelled more than most
children, but if she had not, the story would not tell so much about
other parts of her native land.

It was in the early days of August, 1914, that the French people
learned that Germany, her conqueror in the Franco-Prussian war, had
again declared war, and was even then hammering at the forts of Belgium
so she could march her armies right into their beloved France.

The news stirred the French people, but while the brave little army of
Belgians halted the German troops, an army was gathered quickly under
the leadership of Joseph-Jacques-Cesaire Joffre, a man of humble birth
whom every one loved. We all know how the Prussian army defeated the
Belgians and how the French were forced to retreat until they reached
the River Marne, and then how they made a stand which resulted in such
a glorious victory for France.

During these bitter days Germaine, and thousands of other French
children, learned how to suffer and yet smile. She learned that her
beloved France could produce heroes as great as Bayard, Du Guesclin,
Ney, Henry of Navarre, Lafayette and Rochambeau. She never tired of
hearing stories of the great General Petain, a quiet, reserved man who
filled his troops with a new spirit which urged them on to another
great victory at Verdun.

When, in 1917, the American soldiers went to France to help the
French, the English, the Canadians, the Australians, the Belgians and
all the other Allies drive the Germans out of France and Belgium,
General Pershing, commander of the American Army, visited the tomb
of Lafayette. He placed a wreath upon the tomb and made the greatest
speech that was ever made in so few words. He said, "Lafayette, we're
here." So we repaid our debt to France.

Then General Ferdinand Foch was made Commander-in-chief of all the
armies that France and all the other nations had raised to show the
Germans that right is greater than might. Then Germaine became even
more proud of her native land when she was told of Georges Clemenceau,
the "Tiger" premier, who was so brave and so sure, always, of success,
and who played such a great part in making peace again throughout the

As a reward for her many sacrifices during the four years of the most
cruel war the world has ever known, France regained her two lost
provinces, Alsace and Lorraine. In another volume, "Our Little Alsatian
Cousin," is told the story of the home life, the work and the play of
the little folks who live in these provinces which were long a part of
Germany, not because the people wanted it, but because Germany had won
the Franco-Prussian war.


"OUR Little French Cousin" is an attempt to tell, in plain, simple
language, something of the daily life of a little French girl, living
in a Norman village, in one of the most progressive and opulent
sections of France.

The old divisions, or ancient provinces, of France each had its special
characteristics and manners and customs, which to this day have endured
to a remarkable extent.

To American children, no less than to our English cousins, the memories
of the great names of history which have come down to us from ancient
Norman times are very numerous.

Besides the great Norman William who conquered England, and Richard
the Lion-hearted, there are the lesser lights, such as Champlain, La
Salle, and Jean Denys,--the discoverer of Newfoundland; and before them
was the Northman ancestor of Rollo, Lief, the son of Eric, who was
perhaps the real discoverer of America. All these link Normandy with
the New World in a manner that is perhaps not at first remembered.

"Our Little French Cousin" lives in Normandy, simply because she must
live somewhere, and not because any attempt has been made to specialize
or localize the every-day life of Germaine, her parents, and her
friends. Indeed, for a little French girl, it may be thought that she
had remarkable opportunities for acquaintanceship with the outside

But to-day even little French girls live in a progressive world, and
what with tourists and automobilists, to say nothing of a reasonably
large colony of English-speaking folk who had actually settled near her
home, it was but natural that her outlook was somewhat different from
what it might have been had she lived a hundred years ago.

So far as France in general goes, the great world of Paris, and much
that lay beyond, were also brought to her notice in, it is believed,
a perfectly rational and plausible fashion; and thus within the
restricted limits of this little book will be found many references
to the life and history of Old France which, in one way or another,
has linked itself with the early days in the history of America, in a
manner of which little American cousins are in no way ignorant.

Joliet, Champlain, La Salle, Père Marquette, and many others first
pointed the way and mapped out the civilization of America, when it was
but the home of the red man, now so nearly disappeared.

Later came Lafayette and Rochambeau, who were indeed good friends to
the then new nation, and lastly, if it is permissible to think of it
in that light, the great Statue of Liberty, in New York Harbour, is
another witness of the friendliness of the French nation for the people
of the United States. A reciprocal echo of this is found in the recent
erection, in Paris, of a statue of Washington.

To her cousins across the sea little Germaine, "Our Little French
Cousin," holds out a cordial hand of greeting.

_Les Andelys, Eure, January, 1905._


      II. TO ROUEN ON A BARGE              23
     III. THE FÊTES AT ROUEN               41
      IV. GOING HOME BY TRAIN              62
      VI. GERMAINE AND THE ARTIST          83
     VII. THE FÊTE OF ST. SAUVEUR          92

List of Illustrations

    GERMAINE                          _Frontispiece_
    THE FARM OF _LA CHAUMIÈRE_                   8
    THE MARKET-SQUARE                           75
    THE CIRCUS                                 100
    CHÂTEAU GAILLARD                           106


Our Little French Cousin



"OH, mamma!" cried little Germaine, as she jumped out of bed and ran to
the window, "how glad I am it is such a beautiful day."

Germaine was up bright and early on this sunshiny day, for many
pleasant things were going to happen. However, this was not her only
reason for early rising. French people always do so, and little French
children are not allowed to lie in bed and to be lazy.

At the first peep of daylight Germaine's papa and mamma were up, and
soon the "little breakfast," as it is called, was ready in the big
kitchen of the farmhouse. Even the well-to-do farmers, like Germaine's
papa, eat their meals in their kitchens, which are also used as a
general sitting-room.

Everything about a French house is very neat, but especially so is the
kitchen, whose bare wooden or stone floor is waxed and polished every
day until it shines like polished mahogany. On the mantelpiece of
the kitchen of Germaine's home, which was more than twice as tall as
Germaine herself, was a long row of brass candlesticks, a vase or two,
and a little statue of the Madonna with flowers before it.

The fireplace took up nearly all of one side of the room, and was so
large that it held a bench in either side where one could sit and keep
nice and warm in winter. Hanging in the centre, over the fire, was a
big crane,--a chain with a hook on the end of it on which to hang pots
and kettles to boil. There were beautiful blue tiles all around the
fireplace, and a ruffle of cloth along the edge of the mantel-shelf.

Not far from the fireplace was a good cooking-stove, for the better
class farmers do not cook much on the open fire, as do the peasants.

All about the walls were hung row after row of copper cooking utensils
of all kinds and shapes, all highly polished with "_eau de cuivre_."
Madame Lafond, Germaine's mamma, prided herself on having all her pots
and pans shine like mirrors.

"Be quick, my little one," said Madame Lafond, as Germaine seated
herself at the table in the centre of the room. "You have much to do,
for, as you know, we are to see M. Auguste before we go to meet Marie;
and we must finish our work here, so as to be off at an early hour."

Germaine's breakfast was a great bowl of hot milk, with coffee and a
slice from the big loaf lying on the bare table. The French have many
nice kinds of bread, and what they call household bread, made partly
of flour and partly of rye, is the kind generally eaten by the country
people. It is a little dark in colour, but very good.

It was to-day that Germaine was to go with Madame Lafond to the
station at Petit Andelys to meet her sister Marie, who had been away
at a convent school at Evreux, and who was coming home for the summer
holidays. On their way they were to stop at the Hôtel Belle Étoile,
for it was the birthday--the fête-day, as the French call it--of their
good friend the proprietor, M. Auguste, and Madame Lafond was taking
him a little present of some fine _white_ strawberries which are quite
a delicacy, and which are grown only round about. M. Lafond was to meet
them at the station, and all were to take dinner with her Uncle Daboll
at his house in the village, to celebrate Marie's home-coming.

So, as may be imagined, Germaine did not linger over her breakfast, but
set to work at her morning tasks with a will.

"Blanche, you want your breakfast, too," she said, as she stroked her
pet white turtledove, who had been walking over the table trying to
attract her attention with soft, deep "coos," "and you shall have it
here in the sunshine," and, putting her pet on the deep window-ledge,
she sprinkled before it a bountiful supply of crumbs. "That, now, must
last until I get back."

"Now, come, Raton," she called to their big dog. "We must feed the
rabbits," and, taking a basket of green stuff, she ran across the
courtyard into the garden.

In France the farm buildings are often built around an open square,
which is entered by a large gate. This is called a _closed_ farm. In
olden times there were also the fortified farms, which were built
strongly enough to withstand the assaults of marauders, and some of
these can still be seen in various parts of the country.

The gateway was rather a grand affair, with big stone pillars, on top
of which was a stone vase, and in the gate was a smaller one, which
could be used when there was no need to open the large one to allow a
carriage or wagon to enter.

On one side of the yard was the _laiterie_, where the cows were kept
and milked. There were a number of cows, for M. Lafond sold milk and
butter, carrying it into the market at Grand Andelys.

On another side was the stable, where were kept the big
farm-horses,--Norman horses as we know them, one of the three
celebrated breeds of horses in France. Near by were the wire-enclosed
houses for the chickens and geese and the ducks, which ran about the
yard at will and paddled in the little pond in one corner.

In the centre was the pigeon-house, a large, round, stone building,
such as will be seen on all the old farms like this of M. Lafond's. It
was an imposing structure, and looked as if it could shelter hundreds
of pigeon families. Under a low shed stood the farm-wagons and the
farming tools and implements.

_La Chaumière_, as the farm was known, took its name from the
thatch-covered cottage. Many of the houses in this part of the country
have roofs thatched with straw, as had the other buildings on the farm.
Germaine's home, however, had a red tile roof, though it was thatched
in the olden days, for it had been in M. Lafond's family for many

On the opposite side of the house was the garden, surrounded by a
high wall finished off with a sort of roof of red tiles. The square
beds of fine vegetables were bordered by flowers, for in France the
two are usually cultivated together in one garden. Against the wall
were trained peach, pear, and plum trees, as if they were vines;
this to ripen the fruit well. In a corner were piled up the glass
globes,--shaped like a bell or a beehive,--which are used to put over
the young and tender plants to protect them and hasten their growth.

[Illustration: THE FARM OF _LA CHAUMIÈRE_]

Against one corner of the wall were the hutches for the rabbits, built
in tiers, one above the other, and full of dozens of pretty "bunnies,"
white, black and white, and some quite black.

It was Germaine's duty to feed them night and morning, and she liked
nothing better than to give them crisp lettuce and cabbage leaves and
see them nibble them up, wriggling their funny little noses all the
time. "Well, bunnies, you will have to eat your breakfast alone this
morning; I cannot spare you much time," Germaine told them, as she
gave them the contents of her basket. Raton was leaping beside her and
barking, for he was a great pet, and more of a companion than most dogs
in French farms. They are usually kept strictly for watch purposes, the
poor things being tied up in the yard all of the time; but Germaine's
people were very kind to animals, and Raton did much as he pleased.

"I am ready, mamma," said Germaine, running into the kitchen.

"So am I, my dear," and Madame Lafond took from behind a copper
saucepan hanging on the wall a bag of money, from which she took some
coins and put the bag back again in this queer money-box. She then
placed the basket of strawberries on their bed of green leaves on her
arm, and she, Germaine, and Raton set off.

Madame Lafond had on a neat black dress, very short, and gathered full
around the waist, and a blue apron. Her hair was brushed back under
her white cap, and on her feet she wore _sabots_, the wooden shoes all
the working people in the country wear.

Germaine's dress was her mother's in miniature, and her little _sabots_
clacked as she ran down the road, carrying in her hand a pot holding a
flower, carefully wrapped about with white paper for M. Auguste. It was
a beautiful walk through the fields and apple orchards, into the road,
shaded by old trees that led to the top of the hill, and then down the
hillside past the old Château Gaillard; that wonderful castle whose
history Germaine never wearied of hearing.

It seemed to her like a fairy-tale that such things could have happened
so near her papa's farm, though it all took place many hundreds of
years ago, when there was nothing but wild woods where now stands their
farm and those of their neighbours.

The château was built by the great Norman who became an English king.
He was known as Richard the Lion-hearted, because he was so brave and
fearless. Perhaps our little English cousins will remember him best by
this romantic story. Once King Richard was imprisoned by his enemies,
no one knew where; his friends had given him up for lost--all but his
faithful court musician Blondel, who went from castle to castle, the
length and breadth of Europe, singing the favourite songs that he and
his royal master had sung together. One day his devotion was rewarded,
for, while singing under the windows of a castle in Austria, he heard a
voice join with his, and he knew he had found his master.

At that time France was not the big country it is now. Normandy
belonged to the English Crown, and the Kings of France were always
trying to conquer it for their own.

So Richard built this strong fortress on the river Seine, at the most
important point where the dominion of France joined that of Normandy.
He planned it all himself, and, it is said, even helped to put up the
stones with his own hands. It was begun and finished in one year, and
when the last stone was placed in the big central tower, King Richard
cried out: "Behold my beautiful daughter of a year." Then he named it
Château Gaillard, which is the French for "Saucy Castle," and stood on
its high walls and defied the French king, Philippe-Auguste, who was
encamped across the river, to come and take it from him,--just as a
naughty boy puts a chip on his shoulder and dares another boy to knock
it off. Well, the French king took his dare, but he also took care to
wait until the great, brave Richard had been killed by an arrow in
warfare. Then for five months he and his army besieged the castle, and
a desperate fight it was on both sides. At last the French forced an
entrance. After that, for several hundred years, its story was one of
bloody deeds and fierce fights, until another French king, Henri IV.,
practically destroyed it, in order to show his power over the Norman
barons whom he feared; and so it stands to-day only a big ruin--but one
of the most splendid in France.

Germaine often wondered why it was called "Saucy," for it did not look
so to her now. The big central tower with its broken windows seemed
to her like an old face, with half-shut eyes and great yawning mouth,
weary with its struggles, leaning with a tired air against the few
jagged walls that still stood around it.

But it looked very grand for all that, and Germaine was fond of it,
and she with her cousin Jean often played about its crumbling walls.
Jean would stand in the great broken window and play he was one of the
archers of King Richard's time, with a big bow six feet long in his
hand, and arrows at his belt, and that he was watching for the enemy
who always travelled by the river, for in those days there were few
roads, and journeying by boat on the river was the most convenient way
to come and go.

There is no finer outlook in all France than from King Richard's castle
at Petit Andelys, for one can look ten miles up the river on one side
and ten miles down on the other. Thus no one could go from France
into Normandy without being seen by the watchman on the tower of the
Château Gaillard. Three hundred feet below is the tiny village of Petit
Andelys, looking like a lot of toy houses.

As they entered the main street of the village, Madame Lafond stopped
at the _Octroi_, to pay the tax on her strawberries. All towns in
France put a tax on all produce brought into the town, and for this
purpose there is a small building at each entrance to the town where
every one must stop and declare what they have, and pay the small tax

"I hear the '_Appariteur_,'" said Germaine, as they walked down the
narrow cobble-paved street, "I wonder what he is calling out." The
"_Appariteur_" is a sort of town-crier, who makes the announcements of
interest to the neighbourhood by going along the streets beating a drum
and crying out his news, while the people run to the windows and doors
to listen. It takes the place of a daily newspaper to some extent, and
costs nothing to the public.

They were soon at the Hôtel Belle Étoile, and found stout, good-natured
M. Auguste at the entrance, seeing some of his guests off. He was
delighted with the strawberries, and when Germaine gave him the bouquet
of flowers, with a pretty little speech of congratulation for his
birthday, he kissed her, French fashion, on both cheeks, and took them
into the café, where he gave them a sweet fruit-syrup to drink. It
is always the custom among our French cousins to offer some kind of
refreshment on every possible occasion, and especially on a visit of
ceremony such as this. So when M. Auguste asked Madame Lafond what she
would take, she and Germaine chose a "_Sirop de Groseilles_," which
is made of the juice of gooseberries and sweetened. A few spoonfuls
of this in a glass of soda-water makes a delightful cool drink in hot
weather, and one of which French children are very fond. There are also
syrups made in the same way from strawberries, raspberries, peaches,
etc., but this is one of the best liked.

"There is Madeleine making signs to you outside the door. Run and see
what she wants, my little one," said M. Auguste. "I can guess," he
said, laughingly, as Germaine ran to greet the waitress of the hotel,
who always looked so neat and pretty in her white country cap, her
coloured apron over a black dress, and a coloured handkerchief around
her neck, with neat black slippers on her feet.

"Let me show you how we are going to celebrate the fête-day of M.
Auguste," said she, smiling, and, opening a box, she showed Germaine
the sticks of powder, which they would burn when night came, and make
the beautiful red and green light such as all children and many grown
folks like. The first of these sticks was to be burnt at the very
entrance door, that all the village might know that it was M. Auguste's
birthday. Madeleine and the cook and the housemaid and the washerwoman
and the boy that blacked the guests' boots had each given a few
centimes (or cents) to buy these, as well as other things that wriggled
along the ground and went off with a bang, as a surprise for M.
Auguste. Also the American and English visitors at the hotel had bought
"Roman candles" and some "catharine-wheels," which were to be let off
in front of the Belle Étoile; so the hotel would be very gay that night.

M. Auguste's name-day had also been celebrated in another way some time
before. On the fête of St. Auguste it was the custom to carry around a
big anvil and stop with it in front of the house of every one who is
named Auguste or Augustine. A cartridge was placed on the anvil and hit
sharply with a hammer, when of course it made a frightful noise; and
for some unknown reason this was supposed to please good St. Auguste as
well as those who bore his name. Then the person who had this little
attention paid him or her would come out and ask every one into their
house to have a glass of _calvados_, which is a favourite drink in this
part of France, and is made from apples.

The Belle Étoile, like most of the hotels of France, was built with a
courtyard in the centre, and around this were galleries or verandas, on
which the sleeping-rooms opened. Carriages passed through an archway
into this courtyard, on the one side of which were stables, on another
the kitchen and servants' quarters, and the entrance to the big cellar
where were kept the great barrels of cider.

Most of the courtyard was given up to a beautiful garden, set about
with shrubs and flowers. At little tables under big, gay, striped
garden-umbrellas, the guests of the Belle Étoile ate their meals. In
the country, every one who can dines in the garden during the summer
months, which is another pleasant custom of this people.

M. Auguste was very fond of little Germaine, and often told her of
his boyhood days in the gay little city of Tours, where the purest
French is spoken, with its fine old cathedral and the lovely country
thereabouts all covered with grape-vines; and how in the bright autumn
days the vineyards are full of workers filling the baskets on their
backs with the green and purple grapes; how late in the evening the
big wagons, full of men, women, and children, come rolling home, piled
up with grapes, the pickers all singing and joyous, with great bunches
of wild flowers tied on the front of each wagon. "A very happy, gay
people, my dear," would remark M. Auguste, "not like these cold, stolid
Normans." But to us foreigners all the French people seem as gay as
these good folk of Touraine, the land of vineyards and beautiful white

M. Auguste had also been a great traveller, for his father was
well-to-do, and he thought that his boy should see something of his
own country--though French people as a rule are not great travellers.
They are the most home-loving people in the world, and their greatest
ambition is to have a little house and a garden in which to spend their

So M. Auguste had seen much. He had been to the bustling city of Lyons,
where the finest silks and velvets in the world are made. He had
journeyed along the beautiful coast of France where it borders on the
blue Mediterranean, where palms and oranges and such lovely flowers
grow, especially the sweet purple violets from which the perfumes are
made. From here also come the candied rose-petals and violets, that the
confectioners sell you as the latest thing in sweetmeats.

He had visited the great port of Marseilles, the most important in
France, where are to be seen ships from all over the world, and there
he learned to make their famous dish, the _bouillabaisse_, which is a
luscious stew of all kinds of fish--for M. Auguste prides himself on
the special dishes that he cooks for his guests, and Germaine is often
asked to try them. He had been also to the rich city of Bordeaux,
where the fine wines come from. Oh, M. Auguste is a great traveller,
thought Germaine, as they sat together in the kitchen of the Belle
Étoile, while M. Auguste talked with Mimi, the white cat, sitting on
his shoulder, while Fifine, the black one, was on his knee. They were
great pets of M. Auguste, and as well known and liked as himself by the
guests at the Belle Étoile.



GERMAINE and her parents, and her Uncle Daboll and his wife, and
their little son Jean, just one year younger than Germaine, were all
at the station long before the train was due. The two children were
fairly prancing with glee, while Raton leaped about no less excited.
They were very fond of Marie, as was every one who knew her, for she
was a gentle, kind-hearted girl, and though several years older than
Germaine, they were great companions. This was her first year away from
home, and Germaine had missed her sadly.

"There she is," cried Germaine, as the train pulled slowly in, and a
young girl appeared at the window of one of the third-class carriages,
waving her handkerchief, and throwing them kisses.

Her father lifted her down, and every one kissed her twice, on either
cheek, and amid much laughing and talking they walked toward Uncle
Daboll's house, while Raton danced in circles about them as if he had
gone mad.

"Oh, Marie," cried Germaine and Jean in the same breath, "we have such
a lovely surprise for you! You have heard, of course, of the grand
'Norman Fêtes,' which are to be held at Rouen next week! Well, just
think, we are all going to see them, that is, you and Jean and me and
uncle and aunt, and better still--how do you think we are going?" "Why,
on the train, of course," laughed Marie, "and won't we have a good
time." "No," spoke up Jean, quickly, "we are going a brand-new way.
What do you say to going on a barge on the river?" "A barge," cried
Marie, "but I thought no one was allowed to travel on the barges,
except the people who ran them and lived on them." "That is true," said
Germaine, "but uncle has fixed all that; you know he sends lots of
brick to Rouen by the barges--one is being loaded up now at the quay,
and he has arranged that we go on it to Rouen and stay on the barge
while it is being unloaded, and see the fêtes. Then we will come back
by train. Won't it be glorious?" "And," chimed in Jean, "papa is going
to tell us all about the history of these fêtes after dinner."

M. Daboll's home was a neat little cottage, with its upper part of
black beams and white plaster, and a pretty red-tiled roof, the ground
floor being of stone. M. Daboll owned a large brick-kiln, and was quite

They all gathered for dinner about a round table in an arbour that
overlooked the river. The arbour was ingeniously formed by training
the branches of two trees and interlacing them as if they were vines,
which gave complete shelter from the sun.

Every one was eager to listen to Marie's account of her school life
at the convent. It was a very old convent, with beautiful gardens
surrounding it, built as usual around a courtyard, in the centre of
which was a statue of St. Antoine, who is a favourite patron saint of
schools, and considered the special guardian of children. He also,
according to tradition, helps one find lost articles, and as we all
know how school-children are always losing their belongings, this may
be another reason for having the kind St. Antoine as a protector of
school-children. At six the girls are up, and study an hour before
the "little breakfast" of a roll and butter and chocolate or coffee.
Lessons take up the time until noon, when they have their dinner of
soup, meat, vegetable, and cider, with a _gâteau_, as they call a
cake, on Sundays. After dinner they are taught plain sewing, and when
the sewing hour is over they can play about the gardens until the
study hour comes around again. A plain supper of bread and cheese,
chocolate or milk, follows, and by nine o'clock every one is in bed.
The children dress very simply,--plain cotton frocks, which indoors are
always completely covered with a black apron or _tablier_. On Thursdays
they have a half-holiday, and in the care of the Sisters go on little
excursions or walks in the neighbourhood. A pleasant, simple life, and,
as M. Lafond said, as he pinched Marie's cheek, "It seems to agree with
you, my dear."

"Now, papa, you promised to tell us about these Norman Fêtes," said
Jean, when the table had been cleared away, and the little coffee-cups
brought out.

"So I will, Jean, and first you bring me that big roll which you will
find on the side-table in the dining-room."

Jean was back with it directly, and Uncle Daboll unrolled a big poster,
advertising the fêtes. It showed a fine, strong man in ancient armour,
seated on a prancing horse, carrying on his arm a shield, emblazoned
with two red lions, and holding aloft a spear. Below him on the river
were to be seen three small boats, each with one sail, and also
arranged so that it could be rowed by hand.

"This represents Rollo," went on M. Daboll, as the children clustered
around him, "the leader of a great race of people whose home was in
the cold, far-away North. Tall people they were, with golden hair, and
great sailors, who sailed in tiny ships, like those you see in the
picture, over the bleak, stormy sea which lies between their land and
France, until they came to the river Seine, where it empties into the
Atlantic Ocean.

"They rowed up the river and camped where the fine city of Rouen
now stands, and from these fair-haired Northmen are descended the
present-day Normans. It has been many centuries since all this
happened, so the good people of Rouen thought this a suitable time to
celebrate the founding of their city, and of the great Norman race, at
one time the most powerful in France."

"And at Rouen we shall also see the spot where poor Jeanne d'Arc was
burned," said Marie. "We have just been reading her history at the

"Tell us her story again," said Jean.

"She will on the barge. You will have plenty of time then," said M.
Lafond; "but we must be getting home now. It is quite a walk, and our
little Marie must be tired after her long day."

It was about six o'clock in the morning of the next day when the gay
little party found themselves on the barge bound for Rouen.

"Now here comes our tow that we must tie up to," said the bargeman, as
a tug with five barges in tow came puffing down the river; and taking
a long pole with a hook in the end of it, he began pushing the barge
away from the shore until it moved toward the middle of the river. Then
the tugboat slowed down until the long line of barges was just creeping
along; one could hardly see that they moved at all. Just as the last
one passed that which carried our party, the man in the stern of it
threw them a rope which was quickly caught and fastened to the forward
end, and as it grew taut, the barge began to move and soon took its
place at the tail-end of the long procession.

The children at once began to make themselves at home in their new
surroundings. "Did you ever see anything nicer?" said Germaine, as she
dragged Marie into the little house under the big tiller, where the
bargeman and his wife lived.

"Does it not look like a doll's house?" said Marie, as they went down
the ladder into the tiny living room. Everything was as neat as could
be, and painted white, with lace curtains at each of the small windows.

It was wonderful how much could be stowed away inside, and yet leave
plenty of room. A sewing-machine stood in one corner; a bird-cage was
hanging in the window, and a little stove, a table to dine on, and a
couple of chairs completed the arrangements, save the pictures on the
walls, the china in a neat little cupboard, and the beds which were
built like shelves, one above the other, to allow all the floor space
possible. On deck, one side of the house was given up to a shelf full
of gay flowers in pots, and vines were trained up against the side
of the house. There was also on deck a chest to hold the meat and
vegetables, so as to keep them cool and fresh, and a small cask was
made into a house for the dog. Every barge has its dog and cat, which
usually get on together very well, considering their crowded quarters.
Everything about the house end of the barge was painted white with
green trimmings, and all was very clean and neat.

Jean then came up to tell them that he had found out that every barge
in the tow belonged to a different owner. This he had learned from the
gaudy colours with which they were decorated. "You will see," said
he, "that ours has a big white triangle with a smaller red triangle
inside of that painted on the bow. The one next to us has a broad red
band with two white circles, and there is another yellow with two big
blue stars on either side. These are the distinguishing marks of the
different companies to which they belong."

They were now leaving behind them the great high cliffs of white chalk
that shine like snow, through which the river runs almost all the way
from Mantes to Rouen. Just here it wound through rich green meadows.
Along the water's edge were clumps of willow-trees, whose long, pliable
twigs are used by the country people to weave baskets. They trim off
the branches, but leave the tree standing for more branches to grow,
and so they never use up their basket material. The French take very
good care of their trees, and when they cut one down, always plant
another in its place.

Often the barge passed other long tows, whose barge-people would shout
greetings across to them. For most _bargees_ are acquainted, at least
by sight, and the dogs would bark "How do you do's" as well. Great coal
barges from Belgium passed, having come laden many hundreds of miles
across France; and others with hogsheads of wine from the south, which
have been brought by sea to Rouen.

A merry dinner was served on a table on deck under an awning. The wife
of the bargeman had cooked a good meal on the little stove which stood
on one of the hatches right out in the open. They had a favourite
country soup first, beef and cabbage soup with a crust of bread in it.
(French soups are usually called _potage_, though the real country
soup is often known by the name we call it ourselves--_soupe_.) Then
there was a crisp green salad, big jugs of Normandy cider, which is a
beautiful golden colour, _blanquette de veau_, which is veal with a
nice white egg sauce over it. _Lapin garnne_ followed, which is nothing
more than stewed rabbit, and a dish of which all French people are very
fond, and have nearly every day when it is in season. Fresh Normandy
cream cheese and cherries and little cakes finished the meal, with the
usual coffee and _calvados_ for the older people.

"We will soon see Pont de l'Arche," said the bargeman, and they had
barely finished dinner when the picturesque church of the town was seen
rising above the trees.

"It has no spire nor towers; it looks like half of a church," said Jean.

"Which is true, but it is quite a famous church, nevertheless," said
his father. "It is probably the only church in the world which is
dedicated to 'Art and to the Artists.'"

"Our Lady of the Arts" it is called. Artists are beginning to visit it
more from year to year, and it is a veritable place of pilgrimage now.

The barge soon passed under the old bridge at Pont de l'Arche, and left
behind the church, standing high above the town, a landmark for miles
along the river.

Marie had promised to tell the children the story of Jeanne d'Arc, as
they wanted to have it fresh in their minds when they visited Rouen,
for every part of this old city is full of memories of this wonderful
little peasant girl who saved her country, and, by so doing, made
possible the existence of the great French nation of to-day.

Sitting under the awning, as the barge glided along, Marie told the
story of the little peasant girl, only sixteen years old, who lived in
the far-away village of Domremy. Believing that Heaven had chosen her
to save her country from the hands of the English, she made her way to
the court of Charles VII., then King of France. It was at Chinon in
the valley of the Loire--that other great river of France--that she
finally reached her king, and in one of the great castles, whose ruins
still crown the heights above the city, eloquently pleaded her cause.
Visitors there to-day can see the room with its great fireplace in
which this famous meeting took place.

Her plea convinced the king, and she was made commander-in-chief of the
army, which she led on to Orleans, raised the siege of that city, and
drove the English off. There is to-day no city in France as proud of
the "Maid" as is Orleans; indeed she is known as the "Maid of Orleans."
The house she is supposed to have stayed in is now preserved as a
museum, and every May, on the anniversary of the day on which the siege
was raised, a great celebration takes place in front of the cathedral,
and a procession of priests and people carrying banners marches around
the town chanting hymns in her praise. Jeanne d'Arc did break the power
of the English in France, true to her promise, and finally brought
King Charles to the magnificent cathedral at Reims, where the French
kings were always crowned, and herself, amid great rejoicing, placed
the crown upon his head. But the king forgot what the "Maid" had done
for him and for his country, apparently, and finally she was betrayed
into the hands of her enemies, who took her to Rouen, and, after
a mock trial, poor Jeanne was sentenced to death, and burnt in the
market-place at Rouen.

In later years the French nation recognized the great good she had
done, and the memory of the little peasant girl of Domremy is loved and
venerated throughout the land. There is scarcely a city in France that
has not honoured her in some way, either by erecting a statue to her,
or naming a _place_ or street in her honour.

The children were so much interested in the wonderful story of Jeanne
d'Arc that they had not realized how time was flying. They were drawing
near Rouen, for over the flat fields of the river valley on the left
rose the tall chimneys of the cotton factories at Oissel and Elbeuf.

There is much cotton cloth made in the vicinity of Rouen, and shipped
all over France. On the quays there may be seen the bales of cotton
that is grown on the plantations in the Southern States of America,
and shipped from New Orleans direct to Rouen.

Just here the bargeman pointed out to them the tiny church of St.
Adrien. The "Rock Church," as it is known, is cut out of the chalk
cliff, hanging high above the river. It looks like a bird's house
perched up so high, with its four small windows and tiny bell-tower.

Presently Uncle Daboll said, "Look way down the river, children, and
tell me what you see."

"Oh," cried Jean, "I see three church spires."

"More than that," said Germaine. "I can count seven."

"Both of you are right," said Uncle Daboll. "The three spires are
those of three of the most beautiful churches in France. That tall,
needle-like one belongs to the Cathedral of Notre Dame."


"There is one which looks as if it has a crown on the top," said

"It does look like a crown made of stone, and so it has been called the
'Crown of Normandy.' It is on the central tower of the church of St.

The city began to unfold before them, with its long rows of quays lined
with shops, hotels, and cafés on the one side, and ships from all parts
of the world on the other.

Their barge soon deftly glided into what seemed a perfect tangle
of barges of all kinds, and came to anchor next to a big Belgian
coal-carrier, whose occupants, like themselves, were evidently bent on
getting as much enjoyment out of their visit to Rouen as possible.



IT was growing dark when our little party scrambled over the decks of
several barges, and finally found themselves walking up the quay.

The lights were beginning to twinkle in all directions, and in a few
minutes the river and city were ablaze. It seemed like fairyland to the
children. The bridges were outlined with golden globes and festoons of
tiny lamps of red, white, and blue. Wreaths of lights, in the shape of
flowers of all colours, made innumerable arches of light across the
streets. Everywhere were flags grouped about shields on which were the
letters R. F., which stand for the words "Republic of France."

Walking in any direction was not easy. A mass of people swaying hither
and thither blocked streets, bridges, and quays. Our little Les Andelys
party did not attempt to stem the torrent. "We will just drift along,"
said Uncle Daboll, "and see what we can, and you children hold each
other's hands and keep closely to us."

It was a motley and most good-natured crowd. Ladies in Parisian gowns
mingled with country women in their fanciful white caps, kerchiefs, and
short skirts. There were Breton fisherfolk and dark-skinned people from
the far south; sailors and soldiers in their gay red and blue uniforms,
and every now and then one would hear a clear English voice.

Vendors of toys for the little ones, and souvenirs for everybody,
stood on every corner and did a flourishing trade, and high above
the heads of every one floated masses of the small red, white, and
blue balloons, held captive on a long string, without which no French
fête is complete. On the sidewalk in front of the cafés, people were
sitting at small tables sipping their coffee and the numberless sweet
drinks of which the French are so fond, while at each café a band
was playing for the amusement of its guests, but was also enjoyed
by the passing throngs. It took the combined efforts of many natty
policemen--"_gendarmes_," they are called--to keep an open pathway
through the crowd.

A _gendarme_ looks more like a soldier than a policeman, in his dark
blue uniform and soldier-cap, a short sword by his side, and a cape
over his shoulders, all of which gives him quite a military air.

Presently, at a corner, they were stopped by an even denser throng who
were watching a gaily dressed crowd of people entering a brilliantly
decorated and illuminated building.

"What is this?" asked Uncle Daboll of a man near him.

"It is the grand costume ball at the theatre, where every one is
expected to dress in old Norman costume," was the answer.

"Oh," said Germaine, "that is why the ladies are wearing those funny
tall head-dresses; look, Marie, there is one quite near us."

The costume was both pretty and odd. The lady had on a white head-dress
made of embroidered muslin, very like a sunbonnet in shape, with a high
crown, around which was tied a big bow of ribbon. A bright-coloured
kerchief was about her neck, and she wore a square-necked cloth bodice
neatly laced in front, with sleeves to the elbow; underneath this was a
white _chemisette_, as it is called. Around the neck and sleeves of the
bodice were bands of velvet. A very short skirt, gathered as full as
possible about the waist, a dainty little apron of coloured silk with
lace insertion, wooden _sabots_, prettily carved, and lace mitts on
her hands, completed her unusual costume.

The gentleman with her was also in Norman dress. He had big baggy
trousers, a high velvet waistcoat embroidered in bright colours, a
short round jacket with gold buttons, a high white collar with a big
red silk handkerchief tied in a bow around the neck, enormous _sabots_,
and all topped off with a high silk hat, with a straight brim.

While the children were busy looking at the details of the costumes,
a carriage halted so near Germaine that she could have put out her
hand and touched its occupant, who was a young girl about her own age.
Germaine was at once attracted to her. She had a sweet pretty face,
bright rosy cheeks, and soft blue eyes; her waving, brown hair fell
loosely about her shoulders, and across her white dress was draped a
small silk flag which Germaine recognized as the British flag, known
as the "_Union Jack_." She wore a wreath of red roses and carried in
her hand a bunch of the same flowers in which were stuck two small
silk flags--one French and the other British. Beside her sat a portly
gentleman in a gorgeous robe of black and red trimmed with fur, while
around his neck was a massive golden chain.

As Germaine was watching her, the little girl leaned eagerly out of
the carriage window, and in so doing dropped her bouquet at Germaine's
feet. "Oh, papa, I have lost my flowers," she cried. Meanwhile Germaine
quickly picked them up, and handed them back to her; and not a moment
too soon, for the carriage was moving on again and the bouquet would
have been crushed under its wheels.

"Thank you so much," cried the little girl, looking back and waving
her hand. Germaine did not understand the words, but knew she had been
thanked in English.

Germaine had been so taken up with this little incident that she had
not noticed that the crowd had separated her from her companions. Her
heart gave a bound, and with a startled cry she realized that only
strange faces were about her, and she stood motionless with fright. Her
terror was fortunately short-lived, for through the crowd she saw Uncle
Daboll making his way toward her, and rushing up to him thankfully
clasped his hand, which he made her promise not to loose again until
they were safe back on the barge.

It was not until later, when they were sitting on the deck of the barge
watching the fireworks on the heights around the city leave fiery
streaks and showers of shining stars on the blackness of the summer
sky, that Germaine had the opportunity of telling the family of her
adventure with the "little girl of the roses," as she called her.

Aunt Daboll thought that probably she belonged to one of the parties
of English visitors who had come to Rouen to take part in the Fêtes.

Very early the following morning they finished their coffee and rolls
and began their round of sightseeing, all of which had to be crowded
into the morning, as the afternoon was to be given over to the Water
Tournament, to which the children were looking forward with great

Jean, especially, had been impressed with the posters which showed in
brilliant colours men in unfamiliar dress, tumbling into the water and
being fished out again, with, apparently, great unconcern as to the

"Well, what shall we see first?" asked Uncle Daboll.

"Oh, the big clock," said Jean, "and then let's climb the iron spire of
the cathedral."

Germaine wanted to see where poor Jeanne d'Arc had been put to death;
the others were ready for anything.

"Everywhere one sees the name of Jeanne d'Arc," said Marie. "This
street is named after her, and last night we were in the Boulevard
Jeanne d'Arc."

"And just at the top of this same street," said Uncle Daboll, "we shall
see the Tower of Jeanne d'Arc, where the poor girl was imprisoned
during her mock trial in the great castle, of which only this one tower
is left standing."

They soon turned into a narrow street, and there was the great clock,
built in a tower, under which runs the roadway itself.

Another turning brought them to the Palais de Justice, with its big
dormer windows elaborately carved in stone.

A few steps more, and they were in the old market-place, and little
Germaine with bated breath looked at the stone let into the pavement
at her feet, which marks the spot where poor Jeanne bravely met her
terrible death by fire. All about the place the market people were
peddling their wares, bargaining and calling out the merits of their
various vegetables and fruits and poultry, the scene not unlike what it
may have been in those olden days when the Normans ruled.

Our party could not, however, linger very long over memories of the
"Maid," for Uncle Daboll hurried them away to see the great church of
St. Ouen, with such large windows that it seems to have walls of glass,
and its curious Portal of the Marmosets, all over which are carved
little animals which look like ferrets. They passed the little church
of St. Maclou, set like a gem in a tangle of streets that were little
more than alleys. As Jean said, the tall, old houses seemed to be
leaning over toward one another as if they were trying to knock their
heads together.

At one street corner there had been erected a triumphal arch which was
surmounted by a facsimile of the statue of William the Conqueror, the
original of which stands in the little Norman town of Falaise, where he
was born.

All French children know the history of this great Norman, who was an
unknown boy in an obscure little village, but who in time sailed across
what is now known as the English Channel, conquered England, and made
himself King of England as well as Duke of Normandy.

When they came to the cathedral, our party were glad to enter and rest
awhile within the cool, lofty aisles and say a short prayer.

Marie remembered her favourite St. Antoine and dropped two sous in the
box at the foot of his statue, for the poor.

While Uncle Daboll and Jean climbed up the iron spire, the rest of the
party were taken by the "_suisse_" to see the chapels with their tombs
and tapestries.

The _suisse_ is an imposing person in gorgeous dress of black velvet
and gold lace, a big three-cornered hat covered with gold braid,
white silk stockings, shoes with big buckles, and he carries a tall
gold-headed stock.

It is his duty to guard the church and, for a small fee, to show
visitors the chapels and other parts of the church not generally open.

Marie and Germaine felt quite in awe of him at first. They had never
seen anything so magnificent before, but seeing their great interest in
all that he pointed out to them, he unbent, and when he showed Germaine
the spot where was buried the heart of King Richard, and she told
him that she lived near the great castle the king had built, at Les
Andelys, he smiled in a most friendly way, and patted her on the head.

It was quite a change when, after Uncle Daboll and Jean joined them,
they went out from the dark church into the square blazing with
sunlight, and full of booths with all sorts of things to sell, toys,
souvenirs, and picture post-cards galore.

Jean was full of his experiences in the tower: how they went up a
little winding stairway to the very top, and they could see for miles
around the city, and how the people looked like tiny black dots far
below; and how, when coming down, he got a bit dizzy, and his father
made him shut his eyes and sit still for a minute or two; but that was
doing better than a grown man who was just behind them, and who had to
go back just after they had started.

When Jean had finished telling his experiences, everybody found out
that they were very hungry. Uncle Daboll laughed, and said he had never
known them to be so much of one mind before.

"Well, follow me, little ones, and we shall find something," he said,
and led the way down the street, gay with flags, wreaths, and flowers.

"Just one moment, uncle," cried Marie, "let us stop and buy some
post-cards to send home."

"It will be better," said Uncle Daboll, "to get them after dinner, and
while we are having our coffee at a café we can write them and send
them off. If we stop now, we shall be late for dinner, for it is past

"Here is our place for dinner," he continued, as they entered a small
square surrounded by old-time houses near the river. On one side was a
modest little hotel called the "Three Merchants." Going up an outside
stairway, they entered a small room with a low ceiling and a stone
floor, with a long table down the centre.

It was a typical place for the farmers to come for their dinners when
they brought their produce into the markets. Some of these farmers
were now sitting at the table with blue or black blouses over their
broadcloth suits, with their wives in black dresses and white caps, all
talking and gesticulating away over their dinner.

There were two pleasant-faced curés in their long, tight black gowns
closely buttoned up the front, the brims of their flat black hats
caught up on either side with a cord, who had evidently come in from
some country parish to see the fêtes. There was also a solitary
bicyclist whose costume betrayed the fact that he was a Frenchman, for
no other bicyclists in the world get themselves up in so juvenile a
manner as do the French. A loose black alpaca coat, a broad waistband
in which was sewed his purse, baggy knickerbockers of gray plaid, and
socks with low shoes, leaving the leg bare to the knee, completed his
marvellous costume.

You would think this a little boy's dress in America, would you not?

These were the guests to whom our party nodded, which is a polite and
universal French custom when entering and leaving a room where others
are, even though they may be unknown to you.

After a bountiful middle-class dinner, our party passed out into the
crowded streets again, when the energetic Jean exclaimed: "Now for our

"Now for a place to rest a little while," cried uncle and aunt in the
same breath.

"Here is a pleasant, cool-looking little café across the street; the
one with the green shrubs in boxes before it. We will have our coffee
there while you select your post-cards. You will find them in that
corner shop."

In a few minutes the children were back with the cards. Jean had
selected a view of the cathedral, because he wanted to show his uncle
and aunt the great spire up which he had climbed; Marie sent several
showing the decorations in the streets to various of her school
friends, and Germaine did not forget her friend, M. Auguste, after
sending one each to her father and mother.

Before two o'clock everybody was hurrying toward the river to see the
water sports.

"Oh, aunty," cried Germaine, pulling her aunt by the sleeve, "look,
there is my 'little girl of the roses,' see, walking this way with
those ladies and gentlemen!"

Germaine was quite trembling with excitement as she saw the little girl
recognized her, and came quickly toward them.

"Oh, I am so glad to see you," she cried. "I have wanted to see you
again to thank you. Oh, but isn't it stupid of me?" she went on, with a
sign of vexation. "Of course you don't know English, and I can't speak
French, except to say _merci_ and _bon jour_ and _bon soir_, so how
can we talk to each other?" Then she stopped and laughed, and Germaine
laughed, too, and the two little girls stood smiling at one another,
when the portly gentleman, whom Germaine had seen in the carriage,
hurried up. "Ethel, my dear, why did you run off like this?"

"Oh, papa, this is the little girl who handed me back my roses, when
they fell from the carriage last night. You know my special programme
was tied with the flowers, and I would not have lost it for anything."

Just then some French people came up who also spoke English, and the
little girl explained the situation. Germaine then learned that Ethel
was the daughter of the mayor of the English town of Hastings, and
he had been invited to represent England at the fêtes, for it was at
Hastings that William the Conqueror had landed, and near there that
the great battle of Hastings was fought, which gave England to the

That was so very long ago that everybody in England is now very proud
of it, and the English cousins from Hastings were taking as much
interest in the fêtes as the French themselves.

Germaine blushed while the gentleman was telling her all this, and
Ethel took a little English flag that she had pinned on her dress and
gave it to Germaine. When Ethel's papa heard where Germaine lived, he
said he had been to Les Andelys, he had stayed at the Belle Étoile, and
knew M. Auguste, and perhaps next year he would come there again and
bring Ethel and her mother, and then they should all meet again.

After the French gentleman kindly made all this known to Germaine, the
little girls shook hands and parted, for the Tournament had begun.

Two queer-looking craft, much like gondolas, took up their positions,
one at either end of the course. The crew of one had a white costume
with red sashes and red caps--the other was in similar dress, except
that their caps and sashes were blue. These respective crews were known
as the "Blues" and the "Reds."

On a raised platform at the end of his boat stood a "Red," with a long
lance at rest; opposite was a "Blue" in the same position. At a given
signal, the boats came toward one another, and one lance-man attempted
to push the other off into the water.

Great was the excitement among their partisans on the banks, and cries
of encouragement came from friends on either side. Jean had picked out
the "Blue" as his choice, while Marie and Germaine hoped the "Red"
would win. By this time the children were standing on their chairs,
Jean waving his cap with great enthusiasm. Suddenly "Red" gave a
stronger push, and down went poor "Blue," head foremost in the water.
However, he did not seem to mind it, as he sat dripping in the rescue
boat. Jean felt rather badly over the fall of his hero, but another man
took his place, and this time Jean's man won, to his intense delight.
So the fun went on until late in the afternoon. Another evening's walk
through the illuminated city, and the children were quite ready for
their beds on the barge,--for the men of the party slept on deck while
the rest had the little house to themselves.



IT was with real regret that our little friends parted from the good
barge people and their floating home, as well as from the beautiful
city of Rouen, where they had seen so much, and had such a good time.

Germaine, who had not been before in a big railway station, was
somewhat bewildered at the confusion about her, while Jean, who had
been once to Mantes, was proud to be able to explain things to her. The
tall man in a blue uniform was the station-master, and one could always
tell him from the other blue-uniformed officials, because he wore a
white cap. It was his duty to send off the trains, which he does by
blowing a small whistle, after which some one rings a hand-bell that
sounds like a dinner-bell, and off goes the train.

The men who were pushing luggage around on small hand-trucks were the
porters, in blue blouses like any French working man, except they were
belted in at the waist by a broad band of red and black stripes.

Presently the station-master whistled off their train. "Keep a sharp
lookout," said Uncle Daboll, "and, as soon as we leave this tunnel we
are now going through, look out on the right side and you will have a
fine view of the city."

Sure enough, in a few minutes they were on the bridge, crossing the
river, and before them stretched out a panorama of Rouen, with a jumble
of factory chimneys and church spires, and rising above all the grand
three-towered cathedral.

Perhaps American children might like to know what French trains
are like; they are so different from theirs in every way. To begin
with, there are first, second and third class cars,--carriages, they
are called,--and each carriage is divided into compartments, each
compartment holding six persons in the first class, three on each side,
and eight persons in the second, and in the third class, five on a
side--ten in all. There is a door and two small windows in each end of
a compartment.

The first and second classes have cushioned seats, but there are only
wooden benches in the third. In many of the third class the divisions
between the compartments are not carried up to the roof, and one can
look over and see who his neighbours may be. The people who travel
third class on French railways are a very sociable lot, and every
one soon gets to talking. A French third class carriage under these
conditions is the liveliest place you were ever in, especially when the
train stops at a town on market-day and many people are about, as they
were on this occasion.

Well! Such a hubbub, and such a time as they had getting all their
various baskets and belongings in with them.

The big ruddy-faced women pulled themselves in with great difficulty,
for these trains are high from the ground and hard to get into,
especially when one has huge baskets on one's arm, and innumerable
boxes and bundles are being pushed in after one by friends.

The men come with farming tools, bags of potatoes, and their big
_sabots_, all taking up a lot of room.

One tall stout woman, with a basket in either hand, got stuck in the
doorway until Uncle Daboll gave her a helping hand and her friends
pushed her from the outside. She finally plumped down on a seat quite
out of breath, when from under the cover of one basket two ducks' heads
appeared with a loud "quack, quack, quack." "Ah, my beauties, get
back," and she tapped them playfully and shut the lid down, but out
popped their heads again with another series of "quacks," just like a
double jack-in-the-box. How the children laughed, and that made them
all friends at once.

Germaine offered to hold one of her baskets, for there was not a bit of
room in the overhead racks, or anywhere else. When she took it on her
knee, she thought she saw a gleam of bright eyes through the cracks,
and sure enough it was full of little white rabbits. The old woman,
seeing her interest, let her stroke their sensitive little ears, while
she told how she had bought them at a _bon marché_, a good bargain, and
was taking them home to her grandchild, just Germaine's age.

Next to her were two women who were evidently carrying on some dispute
that had begun early in the day, and each was bent on having the last
word. So their talk went on, an endless stream, while the fat woman sat
by and laughed at them both. Perhaps no wonder one of them was cross.
She looked every little while at a big basket of eggs she carried,
some of which were broken, and with small wonder, it would seem to
inexperienced eyes, for they were packed in the basket without anything
between them. When she found one badly broken, she swallowed it, as
much as to say, "That is safe anyway," and then she would talk faster
than ever.

Uncle Daboll talked to the man next him about market prices, and the
cider crop, and what a fine fruit year it was. One had only to look out
at the orchards they were passing to see the truth of this, for the
apple-trees were so full of fruit that branches had to be propped up
with poles to keep them from breaking down.

In the next compartment a party of four were playing dominoes, one of
the women who was with them having spread out her apron for a table.

Another party was evidently making up for a meal they had lost, while
doing business. The mother took from a basket a part of a big loaf,
from which she cut slices and distributed them, with a bit of cheese,
to her party, at the same time passing around a jug of cider.

There was an exciting time when one of the chickens escaped from a
market-basket and had to be chased all over the carriage. Such a
clattering of tongues, flapping of wings, and distressful clucks from
the poor fowl, which was at last caught just as she was about to fly
out of a window, were never heard before.

The chattering was increased by elaborate good-byes, as one by one the
passengers dropped off at the small stations. No one grumbled at having
to help sort out the luggage each time, but cheerfully and politely
helped disentangle the belongings of the departing ones, and carefully
helped to lift the baskets on to the platform, amid profuse thanks,
where more friends and relations met them, and there was as much
kissing on both cheeks as if they had been on a long journey instead of
merely to market.

At one of the stops Germaine noticed a woman, holding a horn and a
small red flag, standing by the sliding gates, where the road crossed
the railway. She had seen these women before along the line, and
her uncle explained that the railway is fenced in on either side by
hedges or wire fencing, and wherever a road or street crossed, there
are gates, which must be kept closed while trains are passing. Not
only must the gatekeeper, who is generally a woman, have the gates
tight shut, but she must also stand beside them like a soldier at his
post, with her brass horn in one hand and a red flag, rolled up, in
the other, showing that she is prepared for any emergency. If she
were not there, the engineer of the passing train would report it to
headquarters, and she would doubtless be dismissed. The gatekeeper
lives in a neat cottage adjoining, and some minutes before each train
is due she takes the horn and flag from where they hang on the wall,
and is at her post.

At the station were M. and Madame Lafond to welcome them home, and you
can imagine how everybody talked at once, and how much there was to
tell. The fête at Rouen was the topic of conversation until its glories
paled before Petit Andelys' own special fête, which was held some weeks
after, and which our little friends, with true French patriotism,
thought the finest in the world, not excepting the more elaborate
affair at Rouen.



THERE was always much noise and activity in the farmyard of La
Chaumière on Mondays, for that was market-day at Grand Andelys,--_the_
important event in a country neighbourhood in France.

For miles about, from the farms and small villages, every one meets in
the market-place in the centre of the old town; not only to buy and
sell, but to talk and be sociable, to hear news and tell it.

The French folk are very industrious, and they do not take much time
for idle gossip unless there is some profit connected with it; but on
market-day they combine business with pleasure, and make good bargains
and hear all the happenings of the countryside at the same time.

"Come, Germaine," called out Marie, after dinner on this particular
Monday, "let us see them put the little calves in the cart. Papa is
going to take four of them to market."

"I know it, but I felt so sorry I did not want to see them go," said
Germaine, for she was very tender-hearted. Rather reluctantly she
followed Marie into the farmyard. Marie was also very fond of the
farm animals, but, having been away at school, had naturally not made
such pets of them as had Germaine, who petted everything, from the
big plough-horses to the tiny chickens just out of the shell. They
were to her like friends, and it was really a grief to her when any
of them were taken away to the market. But she tried to conquer the
feeling, for it was part of her papa's business to sell cattle in the
market, and he did so to provide for his two little daughters. All
French parents, of whatever position, will stint and save in order to
accumulate a "dot," as it is called, for their children, and will make
any reasonable sacrifice to start them well in life.

The four little calves had been tied in the cart with many bleatings,
and much protesting on the part of their mothers. "Papa is going to
take them to market, and mamma is to drive you and me," said Marie.

Madame Lafond and the two girls climbed into the cart hung high above
its two great wheels. All three sat together on the one seat, which
was quite wide. These country carts are almost square and also rather
pretty. They are built of small panels of wood arranged in more or less
ornamental patterns, and are usually painted in bright colours, and
have, also, a big hood which can be put up as a protection from the

The back of the cart was filled with baskets of eggs, from a specially
famous variety of fowl, for which the farm was noted.

[Illustration: THE MARKET-SQUARE]

The road to Les Andelys was crowded with their neighbours and friends
bound in the same direction, and all in the same style of high carts,
drawn by a single horse.

They drove beside the river that flows through the two villages, along
which the washerwomen gathered when they washed their clothes. They
knelt by a long plank and gossiped as they beat out the dirt with a
paddle, rinsing the clothes afterward in the running water of the
stream itself.

At the town they drove into the courtyard of the hotel of the "Bon
Laboureur," where there were dozens of country carts like their own,
from which the horses had already been taken. They left the stableman
to take charge of theirs, and walked across to the market-square.

Booths, with awnings, held everything that could be imagined, from
old cast-off pieces of iron, locks, keys and the like, to the newest
kinds of clothing; for everything under the sun is sold at these
markets, and it is here that the people do most of their shopping
rather than in the shops. Laces, crockery, imitation jewelry and
furniture, and most things useful to man or beast are sold here.

Big umbrellas were stuck up for protection against sun and rain. Some
of them were of brilliant colours, reds, blues, and greens, some were
faded to neutral tints by the weathers of many market-days--looking
like a field of big mushrooms.

On one side of the square was the vegetable and fruit market, where
the women in their neat cotton dresses and white caps sat under their
umbrellas, with heaped up baskets of peas, beans, cauliflower, melons,
and crisp green stuff for salads around them. These vegetable and fruit
sellers are known as the "Merchants of the four seasons," because they
sell, at various times, the products of the four seasons of the year.

Near by were the geese, ducks, and chickens packed in big
basket-crates, piled one on top of the other, and all clucking and
restless. Quantities of little rabbits were also there, and when a
buyer wished to know if the rabbit were in prime condition, he would
lift it up by the back of its neck just as one does a kitten, and feel
its backbone. One does not know whether the poor rabbits like it or
not, but they look very frightened, and seem glad when it is over.

Madame Lafond made her way toward the egg-market, where the eggs are
displayed piled up in great baskets, stopping to speak to a friend or
an acquaintance by the way. She was soon in her accustomed place, and
had opened up her eggs for her customers, for eggs from La Chaumière
never went begging.

The two little children of the wagon-maker joined Marie and Germaine,
and the four amused themselves looking at the booths, and planning what
they would buy if they had the money, or amused themselves watching the
crowd that quite filled the big market-place. "There are the English,"
some one said, and, turning, Germaine saw her friend Mr. Carter, and
his wife, the Americans who were spending the summer at the Belle
Étoile, standing at one of the booths, buying a _baton Normand_, a
rough stick of native wood, with a head of plaited leather, and a
leather loop to hold it on the arm, for they are used by the peasants
in driving cattle, and they frequently want to have their hands
otherwise quite free. "This will make me a good walking-stick," said
Mr. Carter, coming up to the little girls and shaking hands with them.
"This is your sister back from school, eh? Well, when are you two going
to take that ride with me?"

It had been a promise of long standing that when Marie was at home,
they were to go for a day's trip in Mr. Carter's big automobile. "Well,
I must fix on a day, and let M. Auguste send word to your mamma so
that you and Marie can come to the Belle Étoile, and we can start from

"Won't it be lovely?" said Marie; "we shall feel as fine as M. Lecoq,
the rich farmer who comes to market in his great auto, wearing his fur
coat over his blouse, with his _sabots_ on just as if he was in the
farm wagon, riding behind his four white oxen."

All French working men wear the blouse. It is almost like a uniform,
and by the colour of his blouse one can generally guess a man's trade.
Painters, masons, grocers, and bakers wear the white blouse; mechanics
and the better class of farmers seem to prefer black, and the ordinary
peasants and labourers wear blue.

The blouse is made like a big full shirt, and reaches nearly to the
knees. You will see men well dressed in black broadcloth, white shirts
and neat ties, and over all the blouse. It is really worn now to
protect the clothes, but is a survival of the olden times when all
trades wore a livery.

At the market at Grand Andelys one could but notice the neatly dressed
hair of the women folk.

All Frenchwomen, of whatsoever class, always dress their hair neatly
and prettily: and as the young girls seldom wear a hat or a bonnet, it
shows off to so much better advantage. This is all very well in summer,
but one wonders that they do not take cold in winter. The women wear
felt slippers, and thrust their feet into their _sabots_, when they go
out, which are not so clumsy as those of the men, dropping them at the
door when they come into the house. You will always see several pairs
of _sabots_ around the entrance to the home of a French working man.

The children by this time had got to where the calves stood in their
little fenced-in enclosure. They were not put in the market by the
church with the big cattle, and Germaine felt much happier when she
heard that they had been sold for farm purposes, and not for veal to
the big butcher in his long white apron, who stood by, jingling his
long knives that hung at his side from a chain around his waist.

As they were near the bakers', Marie suggested they buy a _brioche_,
and take it home to eat with their chocolate. _Brioche_ is a very
delicate bread made with eggs and milk, and is esteemed as a great
delicacy. The bakery looked very tempting filled with bread of all
kinds and shapes,--sticks of bread a yard long, loaves like a big ring
with a hole in the middle, big flat loaves which would nearly cover a
small table, twisted loaves and square loaves.

When they had made their purchases and rejoined their mother, they
found her with Madame Daboll, who told them that poor M. Masson, the
wealthy mill-owner, who had been ill so long, was dead, and there was
to be a grand funeral at the church of St. Sauveur the next day.

In France great respect is paid to the dead, and funerals are conducted
with as much pomp as one's circumstances permit.

M. Masson was connected, in one way or another, with nearly every one
in the neighbourhood, and the little church of St. Sauveur was crowded
with the friends and relatives all in deep black, the men wearing a
band of crape on the arm. Over the church door was a sort of black
lambrequin with the letter M. embroidered in silver. As the funeral
passed through the streets, the "_suisse_," the clergy, and the
mourners, following the hearse on foot, made an impressive and solemn
sight. As the cortège passed, all who met it bowed their heads or
removed their hats, as is the custom all over Europe.

The only thing out of place seemed to be the ugly wreaths made of
black, white, and purple beads, with which the hearse was covered. To
our taste they seem hideous, but Germaine thought the white bead lilies
with black jet leaves very beautiful, for she was used to seeing the
graves in the small cemetery covered with such tributes.



ALL artists are fond of painting French country life, and there is no
part that they like better than the picturesque old villages, farms,
and apple-orchards of Normandy, while perhaps Les Andelys is one of
their favourite stopping-places.

Germaine had made many friends among them, for they often came to draw
or paint the quaint jumble of old buildings at La Chaumière.

Germaine and the English artist who was staying at the Belle Étoile
were great friends. He was painting near the farm, and he often dropped
in to sit in their garden and drink a glass of cider.

This warm bright morning Germaine could see his white umbrella under
the apple-trees, whereupon she ran into the _laiterie_ where her mamma
was putting away butter in stone jars for winter use.

"Mamma, I see that Mr. Thomson is painting again in the field. It is so
hot. May I not take him a glass of cider?"

"Yes, truly, my little one, but do not stay too long, for I shall need
you later to help me." Madame Lafond knew that when her little daughter
was watching the painting of a picture, she would forget all about how
time flies.

Germaine went into the dark cellar where the large casks of cider
were kept cool, and drawing off a jug full, took a glass, and holding
an umbrella over her, carefully carried it down the hillside to Mr.
Thomson, who was lying full length on the grass, smoking vigorously and
scowling at his picture.

"Oh, Germaine," he called out, when he caught sight of her, "you are a
jewel, a good little girl to bring me a cold drink. It was just what I
wanted, and I was too lazy to walk up to the farm and ask for it. I am
stuck and can't do a bit of work. I don't believe this picture is good
for anything, after all."

Germaine could not believe this, for had she not heard Mr. Carter tell
of pictures that Mr. Thomson had sold for so many thousands of francs
that it took away her breath. Besides, did it not look just like her
papa's wheat-field, with a bit of the river showing between the trees?

She shook her head. "I think it is a most beautiful picture," she said
as she looked at it admiringly.

"Oh! if all the folk who buy pictures had your good taste, Germaine,
how lucky we artist chaps would be," he said, draining the cider jug.
"I feel much refreshed and must get to work again, for the light is
changing fast. Sit there in the shade, child, and tell me what you are
going to do at the fête of St. Sauveur next week."

There was nothing Germaine liked better than to watch the picture
grow under the quickly moving brushes; and Mr. Thomson talked to her
so pleasantly in his queer French that it amused her. Germaine never
smiled, even when he made mistakes in grammar that a French child of
eight would not have made.

The French are a proverbially polite people, and at no time is their
politeness so apparent as when a foreigner is speaking their language.
They never laugh nor take the slightest notice of the worst blunders,
but with the greatest pains try to understand them, and even go out of
their way to set them right.

But to-day it was not the fête that Germaine wanted to talk about.
"Tell me more about Paris," she said, shyly.

"Oh, Germaine, you are just like all the world--wild about Paris,"
laughed Mr. Thomson. He lived in Paris during the winter, and his big
studio looked out on the fine old gardens of the Luxembourg, and from
the windows could be seen the gilded dome of the Hôtel des Invalides,
under which is the tomb of the great Napoleon.

It was the dream of Germaine's life to see this wonderful city of Paris
that she had heard so much about. So she listened eagerly when Mr.
Thomson told her of the broad boulevards shaded by chestnut-trees, with
fine shops on either side, and the great avenue of the Champs Élysées,
at the end of which stands the Arch of Triumph, erected by Napoleon in
memory of his victories.

Along this avenue passes the gay world of Paris in carriages,
automobiles, and on foot, bound for the Bois de Boulogne. A part of
this great park is set aside for the special use of the children. No
noisy automobile is allowed in this special enclosure, and carriages
can only drive at a moderate pace. Here the Parisian mothers bring
their children for a good time. They can romp over the grass and
play among the pretty flower-beds; have games of tennis, croquet, or
battledore and shuttlecock (which is a favourite game with them), while
their older relatives sit around on little camp-stools, which every one
carries with them to the parks, and talk or do fancy work.

There are ornamental refreshment houses where cakes and milk and sweet
drinks can be had: thus it is a veritable children's paradise!

"But there is even more fun to be had in the gardens of the Tuileries;
_there_ is where I would like to take you, Germaine," said Mr. Thomson.

"There among bright flower-beds and shady alleys the little children
play games around the feet of the marble statues; roll their hoops;
run after their toy balloons; and trundle their dolls about, or sail
toy boats with red, blue, or white sails, on the little pond, while
their _bonnes_, or nurses we would call them, in their long cloaks and
big caps with streamers of bright ribbons, sit gossiping on the benches.

"We would walk along until we found Guignol, which English and American
girls and boys call 'Punch and Judy;' but they would enjoy it just as
much as do the French children, for even though Mr. Punch and Mrs. Judy
speak French, the show is just the same.

"And then we would go on a little farther and join the crowd standing
around a man with birds flying all about him. He is the 'bird charmer,'
who seems to draw the birds to him by some magic. He whistles, and they
perch on his head, shoulders, and hands, eat out of his mouth, and
perform tricks on the stick he holds in his hand. This greatly amuses
the children, and they are always ready to give the man a few sous, so
it is a profit to him as well as an amusement."

Then there is the great Cathedral of Notre Dame, which is probably the
best known church in all the world. It stands on the river bank, for
Paris is built on either side of that same Seine that Germaine sees
through the trees in the distance as she sits under the apple-trees on
her father's farm.

Mr. Thomson tells her also of the new Palace of Art, where, among
many thousands of others, he hopes to exhibit this picture he is now
painting; and of the beautiful Alexander III. bridge near it, with its
lofty white columns crowned by the great golden-winged horses, named
after a Czar of Russia, for the French and Russian people are very

"Ah, yes! Paris is a great city," Mr. Thomson would always say when he
had finished.

"Papa said when I was older perhaps he would take Marie and me there,"
said Germaine. "But now I must go," she added, jumping up; "mamma will
be waiting for me to help her with the chickens," and saying good-bye
to her friend, Germaine ran toward the farmyard gate.



ST. SAUVEUR is the patron saint of Petit Andelys, and its little church
is the church of St. Sauveur.

Each year Petit Andelys, as do most of the towns of France, celebrates
the fête-day of its patron, and does it so well that the lustre of the
fête has spread far and wide, bringing many visitors, which pleases the
good folk of the little town, for they are proud of it and everything
connected therewith.

The fête-day of St. Sauveur has no connection whatever with Petit
Andelys' big twin town of Grand Andelys, which has its own fête, but
nothing like so grand. There is some little jealousy between the two
Andelys. The size and importance of Grand Andelys throws the other
quite in the shade, but Petit Andelys has the river, and the people of
Grand Andelys have to walk a dusty mile before they reach it, and that
is one reason that visitors like the Belle Étoile.

So Petit Andelys arranges its own fête. The mayor and its leading
citizens organize committees, and great preparations go on for weeks

One day the children running out of school at the noon hour saw, in the
square in front of the church, many wagons with poles, and flapping
canvas strewn about. These were the booths for the fair, which were
being put up.

The great attraction of every fête is its fair, and these _foires_, as
the French also call them, move about the country from town to town in
wagons like an old-fashioned circus, planning to reach an important
town for some special occasion--such as its fête-day.

The participants in these fairs live in their lumbering wagons very
much as do gipsies, selling all sorts of knickknacks, and performing
little plays, or feats of agility or strength.

In a few days the little town was dressed out with flags and wreaths,
gay streamers and paper lanterns.

Marie and Germaine, who were staying at their Uncle Daboll's for the
fête, were awakened at five o'clock on the opening day by a succession
of terrific noises, which were set forth on the official programme as a
"Salvo of Artillery."

They were soon dressed and out, but even at that early hour the whole
town was astir. Later on the booths in the square opened up for

There was a merry-go-round, "flying horses" the children call them,
with big pink pigs to ride on, and swings in the shape of boats, and a
marvellous "wheel of fortune" for those who wanted to try their luck.

Germaine never tired of admiring what seemed to her the most beautiful
things set out for sale.

Jean's great ambition was to hit some of the pipes in the
shooting-gallery, and win a wonderful knife that contained everything
from a corkscrew to a file.

The real gaiety, however, only began in the evening, when a torchlight
procession marched up and down the main streets.

First came the "Salvo of Artillery" again, which, after all, was a very
simple affair. A cartridge was placed on a paving-stone and struck
with a big hammer. It made a tremendous noise, however, and everybody
jumped, and Germaine put her fingers in her ears when she saw the
hammer coming down.

Behind came men and boys carrying lighted paper lanterns, and then
the band of the _pompiers_ (the village fire department), and then
more people, while all along the route was burned red and green fire.
Lanterns and fairy lamps in front of the houses and around the square
were lighted, and the band played on a platform near the booths for the
young people to dance.

Jean rode on one of the pink pigs on the merry-go-round, but Marie and
Germaine preferred the chairs shaped like swans, for they were afraid
of slipping off the round pigs. The only trouble was that the man who
had charge of these wonderful beasts cut the rides rather short.

Uncle Daboll and M. Lafond broke several of the pipes in the
shooting-gallery, and Germaine's papa even hit one of the funny paper
ducks that kept bobbing up, and got a walking-stick for his pains, but
no one succeeded in hitting the white ball that swung at the end of a

Germaine's mamma bought her a little toy _laiterie_, which looked just
like the one at their farm. There was a little cow on one side, and in
the other the milk-pans and churn--all true to life.

Perhaps the booth which had the most custom was the one with the
gingerbread, which is a very popular variety of cake throughout France.
Our little friends were soon there buying quite a menagerie of animals
made of gingerbread. Jean chose a horse, Marie an elephant, and
Germaine a cat, which, strange to say, was as big as Marie's elephant.

Then they all crowded into the little theatre; the funniest one you
ever saw. The stage was made up out of a wagon, and the audience sat
under an awning in front. There was no scenery, but a piece of cloth
with a queer-looking picture painted on it, and the actors never
changed their costumes once, but every one laughed and enjoyed it as
much as if it had been the big theatre in Grand Andelys.

It was late when everybody got home, that is, it was ten o'clock, which
is a very late hour for a French village, where every one is usually
sound asleep by half-past eight or nine. The fête was to last a week,
and every day had something new to offer.

The next day Jean announced, "There is a circus down on the quay," as
he burst into the kitchen where the family were gathered for breakfast.
"The baker's boy told me he could see them from the bakery. They came
late last night, and are waiting to get permission from the mayor to
put up their tents in the town."

"Oh, let's go and see them at once!" said Marie and Germaine in the
same breath. Jean quickly disposed of his breakfast by taking a slice
of bread and eating it as he went.

The quay presented a lively appearance indeed. There were nearly a
dozen gaudily painted wagons, while near by were tethered the horses.
The women were preparing the morning meal outside the wagons, which
served for houses, while the men fed the horses or fished in the
river, and the children played about, or followed the visitors with
outstretched hands asking for pennies.

"I should like to give them something," said Marie, "but you know they
are not allowed to beg while they are in the village, and we should not
encourage them to break the law. I will go back, though, and ask aunty
to give me some cakes for them," and the kind-hearted girl ran back to
Madame Daboll's.

Meanwhile Jean was wondering what was inside the wagons with CIRQUE
painted in big black letters on their sides. Near a bright yellow van
were tethered two goats which were carried for their milk. Goat's milk
is much used in France among the poorer classes, especially in the
southern part of the country, and the white goat's milk cheeses are
rather good, when one gets used to the peculiar flavour.

[Illustration: THE CIRCUS]

Germaine was getting acquainted with a lot of dark-skinned little
children, who looked chubby and well taken care of in their neat cotton

Their mother was a gipsy-like woman who had fancy baskets for sale,
and she told Germaine she had nine children, which set Germaine to
wondering how they all stowed themselves away in the one wagon. It was
a big one, to be sure, divided into two rooms, and wonderfully compact,
and as they sat and eat out-of-doors on the ground or the steps of
their wagons, they could easily get on without tables and chairs.

Here Marie came running up with her cakes, which she divided among the
little ones who gathered about her.

By this time they had got the desired permission to open up the circus
on the square, and that afternoon our three little friends had the
pleasure of seeing the horse that could find a hidden handkerchief, the
performing dogs, and all the other wonders of the show.

The grand events of the fête were saved up for the last day. There were
to be the sports in the afternoon, and a grand illumination and display
of fireworks in the evening. The sports, in which the young boys were
to take part, were held in the square. Jean was to participate in one
of these, and was one of the first to be at the roped-in enclosure in
the middle of which stood two high poles. Between these poles were hung
a dozen or more tin buckets all filled with water, except the middle
one. In this was a new five-franc piece. To each bucket was attached
a string, and when a boy was blindfolded, and an enormous grotesque
mask put over his head, it was a somewhat difficult task to walk up
and to pull the string of the bucket which held the five-franc piece.
Should he pull any of the others, down would tumble a pail full of
water all over him, amid the laughter and jeers of the bystanders. Jean
had talked for weeks beforehand how he would spend the five francs if
he were fortunate enough to win it. He had in imagination bought most
of the things in M. Carré's shop. Five francs, which is equal to one
American dollar, was a big sum to a little French boy such as Jean.

"I do hope you will get it, Jean!" whispered Germaine; "remember to
try and walk straight." Jean was so excited as he groped his way along
he could not have told whether he was going backwards or forwards.
"Oh, he will get it! Keep where you are! You're in the right place!"
shouted Jean's friends, as they watched his hand touch the strings with
indecision. Little Germaine held her breath. "Oh, he has done it!" she
cried, jumping up and down and clapping her hands. "Marie, he has it!"
as the bag with the five franc piece tumbled on top of his head.

Jean was the hero of the hour among the children, and some of his prize
was soon spent at one of the booths on _sucre du pomme_, which was
distributed lavishly among his admiring friends. _Sucre du pomme_, by
the by, is a very nice candy made in sticks of various sizes from sugar
and the drippings of the cider apples. Each stick is carefully wrapped
in a pretty paper, and tied together, in bundles of six or a dozen,
with bright ribbons.

Jean's father and M. Lafond took part in the men's sports on the
river-front, but neither had Jean's luck. One feat was quite difficult.
It was something like what children elsewhere know as "climbing the
greasy pole," but in this case it was a bar that extended over the
river, in which at regular intervals were placed, hanging downward,
wooden pegs. These pegs were well greased, and one had to swing
himself by his hands from one of these pegs to another in order to
reach the extreme end of the bar, where was fastened a small bag of
money. Well, you may imagine this was not easy to do, and generally
about the third or fourth peg the participant would drop into the water
with a splash, and be picked up by a waiting boat, to the intense
amusement of the lookers-on, who thronged the banks of the river. After
many trials, one venturesome fellow grabbed the bag just before he
slipped off, taking it with him, however, into the water.

After this came the diving matches and the swimming contests, and then
everybody got ready for the evening's grand wind-up. In the Belle
Étoile all was bustle and confusion; the maids were flying about, for
there were many visitors who had come in for the usual _apéritif_.
The café was full, the gardens were filled up with extra tables, and
M. Auguste was quite distracted in his endeavours to be polite and
attentive to every one, besides stopping to take a glass with his
friends, as was his custom. He had barely a moment to pat Germaine on
the cheek, and to hear the story of Jean's success.

Mr. Carter, with the help of the young lady artists, was hanging
lanterns in the front windows, and getting ready a big lot of Roman
candles as the contribution of the visitors of the Belle Étoile to
the evening's gaieties, while Mimi, the white cat, sat in the doorway
regarding things with her usual lofty air of superiority.

As it grew dark, our two parties found themselves once more on the
quay, amid a great throng of tourists, country folk, visitors in
automobiles and farm carts, on bicycles, and in lumbering buses from
out-of-the-way villages.

The prosaic little neighbourhood was changed for the night into a
gorgeous panorama of light and colour. The river banks burned with
red, green, and white Bengal fires. Queer boats rigged with golden
lamps, and sails of coloured lanterns, floated down the stream, and
into the sky burst showers of gold and silver stars.

[Illustration: CHÂTEAU GAILLARD]

Suddenly there was heard a great boom, and from the top of Château
Gaillard rose a red cloud of fire, and the old walls and turrets stood
out red against the dark blue sky, a beacon for miles of country
roundabout. It was a mimic reproduction of the destruction of the grand
old castle many hundreds of years ago.

Germaine caught Marie's hand, it seemed so real. It seemed as if her
cherished playground were crumbling away, and that never again could
she picture the great king and his knights riding out of its massive
gateway to do battle against its foes.

"Ah! _Messieurs_ and _Mesdames_, is it not a wonderful sight; a grand
occasion for our city?" The voice brought Germaine back to earth
again. It was the indefatigable little _sous-Commissaire_, the one
policeman of the village, speaking to them. The little man had come
unwearied and triumphant through the excitements of the great day. Ah!
it was he who had managed it all so successfully! It was he who had
kept order among the vast throng. No other _sous-Commissaire_ in all
France could have done better, and the little man swelled with pride.

The light had faded off the château; the last rocket had been fired;
the band of the _pompiers_ played the "Marseillaise,"--the national
air,--and the great event of the year for Petit Andelys was over.



EARLY one morning three of the happiest children in France were stowed
away in the back of Mr. Carter's big automobile. They were still more
delighted when Pierre, Mr. Carter's fine, black French poodle, jumped
up on the seat beside him, looking very jaunty with his fore-locks tied
up with a blue ribbon, and as complacent as if he was driving the auto

"I thought we would go by way of La Roche-Guyon to Mantes and have
lunch there, and then come back by way of Vernon; that ought to show
you children a bit of the country," said Mr. Carter.

The children were ready for anything, and off they went at a pace that
nearly took away their breath.

They were soon flying through rolling farmlands, where the various
crops were planted in such regular fields that they looked like a
great patchwork quilt, with squares of green, yellow, and brown spread
out for miles. There were no divisions by fences or hedges, except
sometimes at each corner of a farm a small white stone marked the
boundary. Suddenly, they slowed down.

"Here is something which always stops me," said Mr. Carter. "It is like
running into a big spider's web."

A woman coming up the road was driving eight or nine cows, each
attached to a long rope, which she held in her hand. It seemed like a
maze to an outsider, but she drew in first one rope, and then twisted
another, and pulled back another, until she finally got her charges to
one side of the road.

The cows are taken out to pasture, where there are no regular fields
where they may run loose. So they must be guarded in this manner, and
when they have eaten one spot up clean, they are taken on to another.

Farther up the road two children were watching some goats on the side
of the road, but in this case each goat's rope was tied to an iron
stake which was driven in the ground, so the children could amuse
themselves until it was time to move the animals on to a fresh bit of

"Your horses wear gay clothes," said Mr. Carter, as they passed a great
lumbering wagon, swung between two big wheels, drawn tandem-wise,--that
is, one horse in front of the other,--by five heavy-limbed Norman

Around their big clumsy wooden collars, which are usually painted in
bright colours, was draped a dark blue sheepskin blanket. On their
heads bobbed big tassels of blue and red, or blue, red, and yellow,
which so dangled in their eyes that one wonders how they could see at

The leader was more finely dressed than the others. His neck-blanket
had long stole-like ends, that hung almost to the ground, and an extra
high collar with more tassels. All this may not be comfortable for the
horses, but they looked so very picturesque, one hopes that they did
not mind it.

The automobile now whizzed by a team of slow-moving cream-coloured
oxen,--beautiful beasts with yokes twisted around their horns instead
of around their necks. They never so much as lifted their sleepy eyes
to look at our party.

"This is another frequent obstacle in the way of the automobilist,"
said Mr. Carter, as they came in sight of a flock of sheep with their
shepherd, which completely blocked up the road. "But I do not object
to stopping in this case, for it is worth one's while to watch the
sheep-dogs do their work."

The children stood up in the auto and watched the amusing performance
with much interest, and Pierre barked his appreciation. The dogs
knew perfectly well which side of the road must be left open for the
automobile, and they began to drive the sheep toward the other side,
pushing them and barking at them; the slow ones they would catch by the
wool, give them a little shake, as much as to say "you had better move
quickly," and then pull them out of the way, looking back every few
minutes to see how near to them was the automobile.

"They act with as much judgment as human beings," said Mr. Carter, as
he carefully steered through the flock. The shepherd, who had let the
dogs do the work, was a fine-looking fellow, in a long grayish white
cloak, striped with colour, which made him look like a shepherd of
Bible times. In the field near by stood his house, a kind of big box on
wheels, just large enough for him and his dogs to sleep in, which he
could move about where he liked.

They were now running down a long, steep hill into La Roche-Guyon.

"Look!" cried Germaine, "there are chimneys and stovepipes coming up
out of the ground; is it not funny?"

"Those are the cave-dwellings," explained Mr. Carter. "These people
have cut their houses in the side of the cliff; you can see the
openings to them, often in tiers one above the other, and those
chimneys you see come from the houses. There are many such dwellings
all over the country, especially along the other great river of France,
the Loire."

"Are people living in them?" asked Jean, "and how can they see in them?
Are they not dark and gloomy?"

"Well, as you can see, there is always a door and often one or two
windows. The poorer people do sometimes live in them, though not so
much as they used to many years ago when the French peasant was much
worse off than he is now. The working people are now building and
owning their own little homes, and these caves are being used more for
storehouses and, in the grape districts, for cellars in which to store
the wine-crop."

"I should not like to live in the ground like that," declared Jean.

They only stopped long enough in the town to look at the big château,
which to-day belongs to the noble French family in whose possession it
has been for hundreds of years. This splendid building was very odd,
for the back had been built into the high chalk-cliff which towers
above it.

"I can see the towers of a big church in the distance," said Germaine,

"That is the church of Mantes, and we shall soon be in the town,"
replied Mr. Carter. "It is said that this church was built by William
the Conqueror to replace one that was destroyed while he was besieging
the town, and it was at this same siege that he was mortally wounded."

After lunch and a walk around the town, they started for home over a
fine broad road shaded with trees.

"This is a 'National Road,'" said Jean. "Papa told me about these great
highways laid out all over France by the great Napoleon, so that
soldiers could be moved easily from one part of the country to another."

"Oh, look! What is that big gray thing in the sky just above that clump
of trees? It looks like a fish," suddenly cried Marie, as they were
passing a small village lying just off the highroad.

"Why, bless me if it is not an air-ship!" ejaculated Mr. Carter. "I
remember now that the big sugar manufacturer lives near here, who is so
much interested in flying-machines, and every now and again he sends
one up to find out how his experiments are getting on. Well, children,
that is a sight for you that I did not anticipate. Who knows, however,
but what you will live yet to see a flying-machine express going
between Rouen and Paris, stopping at Les Andelys to take up passengers."

This was sufficient to give the party something to talk about until
they reached Vernon, where they stopped at a pretty riverside café to
have a _sirop de groseille_, and, as Mr. Carter jokingly said, to rest
the horses.

It was still early when they again came in sight of Château Gaillard,
and so ended a blissful day for our young people, who had something to
talk about for many a long winter evening.


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This time the Sandman comes in person, and takes little Joyce, who
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child."--_Common Sense, Chicago._


Another volume of Mr. Frees' inimitable stories for tiny tots, this
time about the "doggie mothers who lived with their puppies" on the
other side of Kitty-way lane in Animal Land. The illustrations are
from photographs posed by the author with the same appeal which has
characterized his previous pictures.




The Indian tales for this Celebrated Series of Children's Bedtime
Stories have been written by a man who has Indian blood, who spent
years of his life among the Redmen, in one of the tribes of which he
is an honored member, and who is an expert interpreter of the Indian
viewpoint and a practised authority on Indians as well as a master
teller of tales.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page xiii, "107" changed to "108" to reflect actual start of chapter

Page 81, "nother" changed to "another" (another, with nearly every)

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