“You ought to let me carry the money to him, father,” she had said. “I shall be pleased to see Marie Gaos. I never have been so far in Ploubazlanec, either, and I shall enjoy the long walk.”
To speak the truth, she was curiously anxious to know Yann’s family, which she might some day enter; and she also wanted to see the house and village.
In one of their last chats, before his departure, Sylvestre had explained to her, in his own way, his friend’s shyness.
“D’ye see, Gaud, he’s like this, he won’t marry anybody, that’s his idea; he only loves the sea, and one day even, in fun, he said he had promised to be wedded to it.”
Whereupon, she forgave him all his peculiar ways, and remembered only his beautiful open smile on the night of the ball, and she hoped on and on.
If she were to meet him in his home, of course she would say nothing; she had no intention of being so bold. But if he saw her closely again, perhaps he might speak.
She had been walking for the last hour, lightly yet oppressed, inhaling the healthy open breeze whistling up the roads to where they crossed and Calvaires were erected, ghastly highway ornaments of our Saviour on His cross, to which Bretons are given.
From time to time she passed through small fishing villages, which are beaten about by the winds the whole year through till of the colour of the rocks. In one of these hamlets, where the path narrows suddenly between dark walls, and between the whitewashed roofs, high and pointed like Celtic huts, a tavern sign-board made her smile. It was “The Chinese Cider Cellars.” On it were painted two grotesque figures, dressed in green and pink robes, with pigtails, drinking cider. No doubt the whim of some old sailor who had been in China. She saw all on her way; people who are greatly engrossed in the object of a journey always find more amusement than others in its thousand details.
The tiny village was far behind her now, and as she advanced in this last promontory of the Breton land, the trees around her became more scarce, and the country more mournful.
The ground was undulating and rocky, and from all the heights the open sea could be seen. No more trees now; nothing but the shorn heaths with their green reeds, and here and there the consecrated crosses rose, their outstretched arms outlined against the sky, giving the whole country the aspect of a cemetery.
At one of the cross-ways, guarded by a colossal image of Christ, she hesitated between two roads running among thorny slopes.
A child happening to pass, came to her rescue: “Good-day, Mademoiselle Gaud!”
It was one of the little Gaoses, one of Yann’s wee sisters. Gaud kissed her and asked her if her parents were at home.
“Father and mother are, yes. But brother Yann,” said the little one, without intent, of course, “has gone to Loguivy; but I don’t think he’ll be very late home again.”