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- The Money Master, Volume 1. - 6/6 -

"The rest of the story to-morrow," Jean Jacques had said when the vessel struck the iceberg the night before; and so it was.

The boat in which Carmen had been placed was swamped not far from shore, but she managed to lay hold of a piece of drifting wreckage, and began to fight steadily and easily landward. Presently she was aware, however, of a man struggling hard some little distance away to the left of her, and from the tousled hair shaking in the water she was sure that it was Jean Jacques.

So it proved to be; and thus it was that, at his last gasp almost, when he felt he could keep up no longer, the wooden seat to which Carmen clung came to his hand, and a word of cheer from her drew his head up with what was almost a laugh.

"To think of this!" he said presently when he was safe, with her swimming beside him without support, for the wooden seat would not sustain the weight of two. "To think that it is you who saves me!" he again declared eloquently, as they made the shore in comparative ease, for she was a fine swimmer.

"It is the rest of the story," he said with great cheerfulness and aplomb as they stood on the shore in the morning sun, shoeless, coatless, but safe: and she understood.

There was nothing else for him to do. The usual process of romance had been reversed. He had not saved her life, she had saved his. The least that he could do was to give her shelter at the Manor Cartier yonder at St. Saviour's, her and, if need be, her father. Human gratitude must have play. It was so strong in this case that it alone could have overcome the Norman caution of Jean Jacques, and all his worldly wisdom (so much in his own eyes). Added thereto was the thing which had been greatly stirred in him at the instant the Antoine struck; and now he kept picturing Carmen in the big living-room and the big bedroom of the house by the mill, where was the comfortable four-poster which had come from the mansion of the last Baron of Beaugard down by St. Laurent.

Three days after the shipwreck of the Antoine, and as soon as sufficient finery could be got in Quebec, it was accomplished, the fate of Jean Jacques. How proud he was to open his cheque-book before the young Spanish maid, and write in cramped, characteristic hand a cheque for a hundred dollars or so at a time! A moiety of this money was given to Sebastian Dolores, who could scarcely believe his good fortune. A situation was got for him by the help of a good abbe at Quebec, who was touched by the tale of the wreck of the Antoine, and by the no less wonderful tale of the refugees of Spain, who naturally belonged to the true faith which "feared God and honoured the King." Sebastian Dolores was grateful for the post offered him, though he would rather have gone to St. Saviour's with his daughter, for he had lost the gift of work, and he desired peace after war. In other words, he had that fatal trait of those who strive to make the world better by talk and violence, the vice of indolence.

But when Jean Jacques and his handsome bride started for St. Saviour's, the new father-in-law did not despair of following soon. He would greatly have enjoyed the festivities which, after all, did follow the home-coming of Jean Jacques Barbille and his Spanische; for while they lacked enthusiasm because Carmen was a foreigner, the romance of the story gave the whole proceedings a spirit and interest which spread into adjoining parishes: so that people came to mass from forty miles away to see the pair who had been saved from the sea.

And when the Quebec newspapers found their way into the parish, with a thrilling account of the last hours of the Antoine; and of Jean Jacques' chivalrous act in refusing to enter a boat to save himself, though he was such a bad swimmer and was in danger of cramp; and how he sang Bal chez Boule while the men worked at the pumps; they permitted the apres noces of M'sieu' and Madame Jean Jacques Barbille to be as brilliant as could be, with the help of lively improvisation. Even speech-making occurred again in an address of welcome some days later. This was followed by a feast of Spanish cakes and meats made by the hands of Carmen Dolores, "the lady saved from the sea"--as they called her; not knowing that she had saved herself, and saved Jean Jacques as well. It was not quite to Jean Jacques' credit that he did not set this error right, and tell the world the whole exact truth.


Air of certainty and universal comprehension Always calling to something, for something outside ourselves Came of a race who set great store by mothers and grandmothers Grove of pines to give a sense of warmth in winter Grow more intense, more convinced, more thorough, as they talk He admired, yet he wished to be admired Inclined to resent his own insignificance Lyrical in his enthusiasms No man so simply sincere, or so extraordinarily prejudiced Of those who hypnotize themselves, who glow with self-creation Spurting out little geysers of other people's cheap wisdom Untamed by the normal restraints of a happy married life


The Money Master, Volume 1. - 6/6

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