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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Ink-stain (tache D'encre: A Spot Of Ink) - BOOK III - Chapter XX. A HAPPY FAMILY
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The Ink-stain (tache D'encre: A Spot Of Ink) - BOOK III - Chapter XX. A HAPPY FAMILY Post by :redbird Category :Long Stories Author :Rene Bazin Date :April 2012 Read :2947

Click below to download : The Ink-stain (tache D'encre: A Spot Of Ink) - BOOK III - Chapter XX. A HAPPY FAMILY (Format : PDF)

The Ink-stain (tache D'encre: A Spot Of Ink) - BOOK III - Chapter XX. A HAPPY FAMILY

PARIS, September 18th.

We are married. We are just back from the church. We have said good-by to all our friends, not without a quick touch or two of sadness, as quickly swallowed up in the joy which for the first time in the history of my heart is surging there at full tide, and widening to a limitless horizon. In the two hours I have to spare before starting for Italy, I am writing the last words in this brown diary, which I do not intend to take with me.

Jeanne, my own Jeanne, is leaning upon me and reading over my shoulder, which distracts the flow of my recollections.

There were crowds at the church. The papers had put us down among the fashionable marriages of the week. The Institute, the army, men of letters, public officials, had come out of respect for M. Charnot; lawyers of Bourges and Paris had come out of respect for my uncle. But the happiest, the most radiant, next to ourselves, were the people who came only for Jeanne's sake and mine; Sylvestre Lampron, painter-in-ordinary to Mademoiselle Charnot, bringing his pretty sketch as a wedding-present; M. Flamaran and Sidonie; Jupille, who wept as he used to "thirty years ago;" and M. and Madame Plumet, who took it in turns to carry their white-robed infant.

Jeanne and I certainly shook hands with a good many persons, but not with nearly as many as M. Mouillard. Clean-shaven, his cravat tied with exquisite care, he spun round in the crowd like a top, always dragging with him some one who was to introduce him to some one else. "One should make acquaintances immediately on arrival," he kept saying.

Yes, Uncle Mouillard has just arrived in Paris; he has settled down near us on the Quai Malaquais, in a pretty set of rooms which Jeanne chose for him. He thinks them perfect because she thought they would do. The tastes and interests of old student days have suddenly reawakened within him, and will not be put to sleep again. He already knows the omnibus and tramway lines better than I; he talks of Bourges as if it were twenty years since he left it: "When I used to live in the country, Fabien--"

My father-in-law has found in him a whole-hearted admirer, perhaps even a future pupil in numismatics. Their friendship makes me think of that--

("You don't mind, Jeanne?"

"Of course not, my dear; the brown diary is for our two selves alone." J.)

--of that of the town mouse and the country mouse. Just now, on their way back to the house, they had a conversation, by turns pathetic and jovial, in which their different temperaments met in the same feeling, but at opposite ends of the scale of its shades.

I caught this fragment of their talk:

"My dear Charnot, can you guess what I'm thinking about?"

"No, I haven't the least idea."

"I think it is very queer."

"What is queer?"

"To see a librarian begin his career with a blot of ink. For you can not deny that Fabien's marriage and situation, and my return to the capital, are all due to that. It must have been sympathetic ink--eh?"

"'Felix culpa', as you say, Monsieur Mouillard. There are some blunders that are lucky; but you can't tell which they are, and that's never any excuse for committing them."

I could hardly get hold of Lampron for a moment in the crowd he so dislikes. He was more uncouth and more devoted than ever.

"Well, are you happy?" he said.

"Quite."

"When you're less happy, come and see me."

"We shall always be just as happy as we are now," said Jeanne.

And I think she is right.

Lampron smiled.

"Yes, I am quite happy, Sylvestre, and I owe my happiness to you, to her, and to others. I have done nothing myself to deserve happiness beyond letting myself drift on the current of life. Whenever I tried to row a stroke the boat nearly upset. Everything that others tried to do for me succeeded. I can't get over it. Just think of it yourself. I owed my introduction to Jeanne to Monsieur Flamaran, who drove me to call on her father; his friend; you courted her for me by painting her portrait; Madame Plumet told her you had done so, and also removed the obstacle in my path. I met her in Italy, thanks entirely to you; and you clinched the proposal which had been begun by Flamaran. To crown all, the very situation I desired has been obtained for me by my father-in-law. What have I had to do? I have loved, sorrowed, and suffered, nothing more; and now I tremble at the thought that I owe my happiness to every one I know except myself."

"Cease to tremble, my friend; don't be surprised at it, and don't alter your system in the least. Your happiness is your due; what matter how God chooses to grant it? Suppose it is an income for life paid to you by your relatives, your friends, the world in general, and the natural order of things? Well, draw your dividends, and don't bother about where they come from."

Since Lampron said so, and he is a philosopher, I think I had better follow his advice. If you don't mind, Jeanne, I will cherish no ambition beyond your love, and refrain from running after any increase in wealth or reputation which might prove a decrease in happiness. If you agree, Jeanne, we shall see little of society, and much of our friends; we shall not open our windows wide enough for Love, who is winged, to fly out of them. If such is your pleasure, Jeanne, you shall direct the household of your own sweet will--I should say, of your sweet wisdom; you shall be queen in all matters of domestic economy, you shall rule our goings-out and our comings-in, our visits, our travels. I shall leave you to guide me, as a child, along the joyous path in which I follow your footsteps. I am looking up at Jeanne. She has not said "No."

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

All that a name is to a street--its honor, its spouse
Distrust first impulse
Felix culpa
Hard that one can not live one's life over twice
He always loved to pass for being overwhelmed with work
I don't call that fishing
If trouble awaits us, hope will steal us a happy hour or two
Obstacles are the salt of all our joys
People meeting to "have it out" usually say nothing at first
The very smell of books is improving
There are some blunders that are lucky; but you can't tell
You ask Life for certainties, as if she had any to give you

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS FOR THE ENTIRE INK STAIN:

All that a name is to a street--its honor, its spouse
Came not in single spies, but in battalions
Distrust first impulse
Felix culpa
Happy men don't need company
Hard that one can not live one's life over twice
He always loved to pass for being overwhelmed with work
I don't call that fishing
If trouble awaits us, hope will steal us a happy hour or two
Lends--I should say gives
Men forget sooner
Natural only when alone, and talk well only to themselves
Obstacles are the salt of all our joys
One doesn't offer apologies to a man in his wrath
People meeting to "have it out" usually say nothing at first
Silence, alas! is not the reproof of kings alone
Skilful actor, who apes all the emotions while feeling none
Sorrows shrink into insignificance as the horizon broadens
Surprise goes for so much in what we admire
The very smell of books is improving
The looks of the young are always full of the future
There are some blunders that are lucky; but you can't tell
To be your own guide doubles your pleasure
You a law student, while our farmers are in want of hands
You must always first get the tobacco to burn evenly
You ask Life for certainties, as if she had any to give you


(THE END)
Rene Bazin's novel: Ink-Stain (Tache D'encre: A Spot of Ink)

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