“No money!” blurted Spoon. “Taurieu! An election without money?”
Chamilly, with one quiet glance, turned away to L’Honorable. “Without ’tin,’—St. Christophe, I say!—St. Laurent!”
“Keep quiet—silence, I pray thee,” returned Benoit, and drew his companion aside.
“Why did Benoit call himself Director?” Chrysler asked.
Haviland and the Honorable smiled. Chamilly answered:
“It is a weakness of his ever since he was put on the Board of our Agricultural Society. Do not laugh, unless at the common vanity of mankind.”
THE LOW-COUNTRY SUNRISE.
“Chacun son gout. Moi, j’aime mieux la nature primitive qui n’est pas a la mode du jour mais que l’on ne pourra jamais demoder ... J’aime ce que j’aime, et vous, vous aimez autre chose. Grand bien vous fasse—je vous admire, Monsieur Tout-le-Monde.”
“I am going to rise before the sun to-morrow. Would you like to come out fishing?” remarked Haviland, cheerfully, on the way home. Chrysler signified assent.
At grey dawn, before it was yet quite daybreak, they were on the road. All the houses in the neighbourhood looked asleep. Heavy dews lay upon the grass. The scene was chilly, and a little comfortless and suggestive of turning back to bed.
“Where are we going?” the visitor asked, trying to collect his spirits.
“To find Bonhomme Le Brun, who superintends the boating interest.—’Bonhomme’—’Good Man’—is a kind of jocular name we give to every simple old fellow. ‘Le Brun’ is not quite correct either. His real name—or rather the only one extant among the noms-de-guerre of his predecessors, is Vadeboncoeur—’Go willingly,’ which the Notaries I suppose would write ‘Vadeboncoeur dit Le Brun.’”
Notwithstanding the early hour they were not alone on the road. A wrinkled woman, bent almost double, was toiling slowly along with heavy sighs, under a sack of firewood.
“See here, madame,” Charnilly called out, stepping forward to her, “give me the sack;” which he unloaded from her back and threw over his shoulder.
“You are always so good, monseigneur Chamilly,” the old woman groaned in a plaintive, palsied voice, without straightening her doubled frame.
“Is the Bonhomme at the house?” he enquired.
“I think not, sir; he was preparing to go to Isle of Ducks.”
“Just where I thought,” exclaimed Haviland in English. “This Le Brun is of the oddest class—a secular hermit on the solitudes of the river—a species of mystery to the others. Sometimes he is seen paddling among the islands far down; sometimes seining a little, by methods invented by himself; sometimes carrying home an old gun and more or less loaded with ducks; sometimes his torch is seen far out in the dark, night-fishing; but few meet him face to face besides myself. When a boy I used to think he lived on the water because his legs were crooked, though more probably his legs are crooked because he avoids the land. He keeps my sail-boat for me and I let him use the old windmill we shall come to by those trees.”