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Building a House - Course of Study in Practical Architecture


Meantime, letters and newspapers were daily bringing the most distressing intelligence. The enemy had crossed the French boundary a week ago. Building was a matter scarcely to be thought of. M. de Gandelau was visited almost incessantly by country people coming to impart to him their fears and to ask his advice. The able-bodied youths of the district were summoned to be incorporated in the mobile. The manufactories of the neighbourhood were being closed for want of hands. Groups of peasants - men and women--might be met on the roads, who, contrary to the quiet habits of this province, were speaking in excited tones; some of the women were crying. The labours of the fields were suspended; a painful shudder seemed to pass through the country; lights were seen in the cottages at a late hour of the night; voices were heard calling to each other. The cattle were brought in earlier than usual, and were driven afield later in the morning. When people met each other on the roads they would stay long talking. Sometimes, instead of returning to their own abodes, they would walk rapidly on together in the direction of the neighbouring town.

It was the loth of August, 187o, when, going into his father's room early in the morning, Paul found him still more depressed than on the previous days and it was not merely his aggravated gout that caused the depression. Eugene was there. - "Some are too old, others too young. If this boy was four or five years older,"said M. de Gandelau, embracing his son,"I would send him with all these young fellows who are summoned to the service; but he is too young, happily for his mother. It will be a long struggle, they say; God only knows what will become of our poor country engaged in an insensate war; but our duty is clear - to remain here among all these families, dis tressed as they are, and bereaved of their children; to wait, and try to calm down this distracted multitude. Do not let us surrender our self-possession, or give way to useless disquietude; let us work - that is the remedy for all evils; and misfortune will not find us more destitute of courage after days of labour than after a period of feverish inac tivity. I see that Paul will not be able to return so soon

to college. As to yourself, Eugene, nothing obliges you just now to stay in one place rather than another. Your business will be suspended in every quarter; remain here, where you can make yourself useful as long as the country does not require your services.

"Who knows what may happen ! But even if this state of things continues, we will try to build Marie's house; it will give employment to those who have been thrown out of work. You will be able to give Paul practical lessons in the elements of construction. We shall, perhaps, run short of the one thing needful for building - money. Ah, well ! that will oblige us to discover the means of doing without it. We have the raw material; we have hands, and enough to keep them for some time to come. Let us, then, not give way to despondency and useless recriminations; let us work; we shall be only the better prepared if in one last effort we have to call upon all - old men and children with the rest - to defend our native soil." Madame de Gandelau uniting her entreaties with those of her husband, it was not difficult to persuade Eugene to take up his quarters at the chateau. In fact, three days subsequently, after having gone away to settle some affairs, he was on his way back with an ample store of paper and instruments required for the details of a build ing plan.

They could not set to work till the sketch sent to Paul's sister should be returned, approved or amended. It was decided that during the interval Eugene should give Paul the first notions of the building of a house, that the morn ing should be the time for instruction, and that in the afternoon our architectural tyro should reproduce the lesson in writing, and have his work corrected at the family gatherings in the evening. Thus the days would be well occupied.

days, eugene, country, paul and gandelau