Page images

office. The clients were numerous, and Bernard had to wait some time before seeing the lawyer, who gave him a seat, and asked his business.

Why, Mr. Lawyer," said the farmer, twirling his hat, “I have heard so much of you that I have come to Rennes to con

sult you.”

“I thank you, my friend ;--you wish to bring an action, I suppose,” said the lawyer.

“An action! Oh, no. Never has Pierre Bernard had a word of anger with any one."

“Then it is a settlement, or a division of property ? ”

“Excuse me, Mr. Lawyer; my family and I have never had a division, save that we all draw from the well as we please.”

Well, is it to see about a purchase or a sale ? " said the lawyer.

“Oh, no; I am neither rich enough to purchase, nor poor enough to sell!

“Will you tell me, then, what you do want of me?” asked the lawyer in surprise.

"Why, I have already told you, Mr. Lawyer,” replied Bernard, “I want your advice. I am able to pay you."

M. Potier took a pen and paper, and asked the countryman his


“Pierre Bernard,” replied the latter, quite happy that he was understood. “What is your age ?

Thirty years, or very near it.” “ Your vocation?" “My vocation ? (Oh, that means what I do!) I am a farmer.”

The lawyer wrote two lines, folded the paper, and handed it to his strange client.

“Is it finished already ? well and good. What is the price of that advice ? "

“Three francs,” replied M. Potier.

Bernard paid the money, and took his leave, greatly delighted that he had been so successful as to obtain the lawyer's advice.

When he reached home it was four o'clock. He was very tired, and determined to rest the remainder of the day. In the meantime the hay had been two days cut, and was completely cured. One of the hired men came to ask if it should be drawn in.

“What! this evening ?” cried the farmer's wife. “ It would be a pity to commence the work so late, since it can be done tomorrow without injury."

The workman said the weather might change, that the team was already, and the hands idle. But the farmer's wife replied, that the wind was in a good quarter, and that it would be dark before their work could be completed.

Bernard, hearing the argument, was uncertain which way to decide, when he recollected that he had the lawyer's advice in his pocket.

“Wait a minute !” he exclaimed, “I have an advice, and a famous one too, that I paid three francs for; it ought to tell us what to do. Here, wife, see what it says; you can read writing better than I.”

The wife took the paper and read these words : off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.”

His wife offered a few more objections; but he declared that he had not bought a three franc opinion to make no use of it, and that he would follow the lawyer's advice. He himself set the example by taking the lead in the work, and did not return until all the hay was brought in.

The event proved the wisdom of his conduct; for the weather changed during the night; a storm burst over the valley; and the next morning it was found that the river had overflowed, and had carried away all the hay that had been left in his neighbour's fields.

The success of the first trial gave him such faith in the advice of the lawyer, that ever after he adopted it as the rule of his conduct, and became one of the richest farmers in the country.

He never forgot the service done him by M. Potier, to whom lie carried a pair of his finest fowls every year, as a token of his gratitude.

Never put

[ocr errors]


Have you ever walked through the crowded streets of a great city ?

What shoals of people are pouring in from opposite quarters, like torrents meeting in a narrow valley! You would imagine it impossible for them to get through; yet all pass on their way without stop or annoyance.

Were each man to proceed exactly in the line in which he set out, he could not move many paces without encountering another full in his track. They would strike against each other, fall back, push forward again, block up the way, and throw the whole street into confusion.

All this is avoided by every man's yielding a little.

Instead of going along with arms stuck out, every one who knows how to walk the streets, moves with his arms close, in the smallest possible space, his body oblique and flexible, gently yielding, now a few inches on this side, now on that, so as to pass and be passed without touching or being touched.

He pushes no one into the gutter, nor goes into it himself. By mutual accommodation, the path, though narrow, holds them all.

He goes neither much faster nor much slower than those who go in the same direction. In the first case he would elbow; in the second, he would be elbowed.

If any accidental stop arises, from a carriage crossing, a cask being rolled, a pickpocket detected, or the like, he does not increase the bustle by rushing into the midst of it, but checks his

pace, and patiently waits for its removal. Like this is the march of life.

In our progress through the world, a thousand things stand continually in our way. Some people meet us full in the face with opposite opinions and inclinations. Some stand before us in our pursuit of pleasure or interest, and others follow close upon our heels. Now, we ought in the first place to consider, that the road is as free for one as for another;

and therefore we have no right to expect that persons should go out of their way to let us pass, any more than we out of ours.

[ocr errors]

Then, if both we and they do not yield to each other, it is clear that we must all come to a stand-still, or be thrown into a perpetual confusion of squeezing and jostling. If we are all in a hurry to get on as fast as possible to some point of pleasure or interest which we may have in view, and do not occasionally hold back, when the crowd gathers and angry contentions arise, we shall only increase the tumult without accelerating our own progress.

On the whole, it is our business to move onwards, steadily but quietly, obstructing others as little as possible, and doing everything in our power to make the journey of life easy to all our fellow-travellers as well as to ourselves.

Evenings At Home.

GHOSTS. Dr. FOWLER, Bishop of Gloucester in the early part of the eighteenth century, was a believer in apparitions. The following conversation of the Bishop with Judge Powell is recorded :

“Since I saw you," said the lawyer, “I have had ocular demonstration of the existence of nocturnal apparitions.”

“ I am glad you have become a convert to truth; but do you say actual ocular demonstration ? Let me know the particulars of the story."

“My lord, I will. It was, let me see, last Thursday night, between the hours of eleven and twelve, but nearer the latter than the former, as I lay sleeping in my bed, I was suddenly awakened by an uncommon noise, and heard something coming up stairs, and stalking directly towards my room. The door flying open, I drew back my curtain, and saw a faint glimmering light enter my chamber.”

“Of a blue color, no doubt ?"

“The light was of a pale blue, my lord, and followed by a tall, meagre personage, his locks hoary with age. He was clothed in a long, loose gown; a leathern girdle was about his loins, his beard thick and grisly, a large fur cap on his head, and a long staff in his hand. Struck with astonishment, I remained for some time motionless and silent. The figure advanced, staring me full in the face. I then said, 'Whence and what art thou ?'"

" What was the answer-tell me—what was the answer ?”

“ The following was the answer I received :> I am nightwatchman, an't please your honor, and made bold to come up stairs to inform the family that their street door was open, and that if it was not soon shut, they would probably be robbed before morning.'"

THE ENGLISH DRUMMER. DURING the last war between the English and French, an English drummer went too near the French lines, was taken prisoner, and brought before the French general. The general knew the drummer's uniform, but suspected that he might be a spy, and determined to try him severely. “ Who are you?" asked he.

Drummer, in the service of his Majesty the King of England,” replied the boy, coolly and decidedly.

· Well, then, show us how you can drum." A drum was brought, and the little drummer beat some marches and signals; but the general was not satisfied, and ordered him to beat a retreat. The boy upon this threw down his drum, exclaiming that no English drummer knew that, nor did he wish to learn it. Such an answer pleased the general, who at once set the boy at liberty, and gave him a letter to his commander, in which he greatly praised his conduct.


GESLER AND WILLIAM TELL. More than five hundred years ago, the country of Switzerland was under the Austrian government, and the people were treated little better than slaves. They were made to pay very heavy taxes, and to perform the most menial offices, while the Austrians lived upon the fruits of their labor, and governed them as with a rod of iron.

One of the Austrian governors, by the name of Gesler, was a very great tyrant, and did all he could to break the spirit of the Swiss people; but it was of little use. They were fond of liberty, and were ready to make any sacrifice to obtain the blessings of freedom.

Gesler went so far in his tyranny, as to command his hat to be

« PreviousContinue »