But Zotique himself was not to escape quite scot-free, for when Chrysler stopped next day at his office, as he was getting accustomed to do, he found him in one of his excitements.
[F]"Ac-re-ye!” he was ejaculating.
[Footnote F: NOTE—An evasive form of “Sacre,” analogous to “Sapre,” “Sacristie,” “Sac,” “St. Christophe,” &c.]
“Ah, good day, sir. Come in and take a seat Aa-a-creye, how they enrage us!”—and he cast an impatient glance on the floor at a large envelope deeply marked with his heel.
“What is the matter?” Chrysler queried.
“The matter, sir, is that!”—spurning the envelope.
“An official notification?”
“Not official!—No, sir, unofficial! ultra-official, contra-official, pseud-official! See, read it!”
He picked up and handed over the objectionable letter, which was headed with the stamp of the Attorney-General’s Office:—“Dear Sir,—You are requested to grant Mr. Cletus Libergent the use of the Circuit Court edifice and rooms, which are in your charge, for whatever purpose he may desire, for the space of three weeks from the present date.”
Chrysler smiled to Zotique. Could a Government that openly granted the public buildings to partisans pretend to a sense of right or dignity?
As to the effects of the Cure’s second vow, they remain matter for narration to come.
“Bonjour le maitre et la maitresse
Et tous les gens de la maison.”
—THE GUIGNOLEE CAROL.
The crimson and gold of sunset were stained richly across the west. Chrysler was walking leisurely out in the country. A mile from Dormilliere, a white stone farm-house stood forward near the road. In front, across the highway, the low cliff swelled out into the stump of a headland, which bore spreading on its grassy top three mighty and venerable oaks.
Chrysler, pondering as was his wont upon this and everything, noting the surges of color in the sky, the clear view, the procession of odd-looking homesteads down the road; their narrow fields running back indefinitely; the resting flocks and herds; here a group of thatched-roof barns, and there a wayside cross; passed along and mused on the peace of life in this prairie country, and the goodness of the Almighty to His children of every tongue.
The strains of a violin in the farm-house struck his ear. Someone was fiddling the well-known sprightly air, “Vive la Canadienne:”
“Long live the fair Canadian
With her sweet, tender eyes.”
The house was a large cottage, having around its door a slender gallery, at whose side went down a stair. Its chimnies were stout, and walls thick, its roof pitched very steep and clipped off short at the eaves; a garden of lilac-bushes and shrubs, some of which pressed their dark green against its spotless white-wash, surrounding it in front and on one side, while on the other lay the barn-yard, with a large wooden cross in its centre, protected by a railing. Two hundred years ago such houses were built in Brittany.