HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE.
Who is happier than the young student from the Lyceum when he comes home for the summer vacation, bringing with him proofs of a well-spent year? Everything smiles upon him. The sky is serene, the country wears its love liest dress, and the fruit is ripe.
Everyone congratulates him on his success, and predicts for him, after his six weeks' repose, an energetic recom mencement of congenial labour, crowned by a brilliant career in the future.
Yes, our student is a happy fellow; the air seems pre ternaturally light, the sun shines more brightly, and the meadows wear a richer green. Even the unwelcome rain is laden with perfume.
As soon as the morning breaks he hastens to revisit his favourite haunts in the park - the stream, the lake, and the farm - to see the horses, the boat, and the plantations.
He chats with the farmer's wife, who smilingly presents him with a nice galette, hot from the oven. He walks with the gamekeeper, who tells him all the news of the neigh bourhood while going his rounds. The sound of the sheep bells is musical - nay, even the monotonous song of the shepherd-boy, now grown a tall fellow, and aspiring to the full dignity of shepherd.
It is indeed a happy time. But in a few days the shade of the noble trees, the lovely scenery, the long walks, the gamekeeper's stories, and even the boating, become weari some, unless some congenial occupation presents itself to occupy the mind. It is the privilege of old age alone to, delight in memories, and always to find fresh pleasure in the contemplation of woods and fields.
The stores of memory are soon exhausted by youth; and quiet meditation is not to its taste.
Monsieur Paul - a lively youth of sixteen - did not, per haps, indulge in these reflections in the abstract; but as a matter of fact, after a week passed at the residence of his father, who cultivated his considerable estate in the pro vince of Berry, he had almost exhausted the stock of impressions which the return to the paternal domain had excited. During the long scholastic year how many pro
jects had he not formed for the next vacation ! Six weeks seemed too short a time for their accomplishment. How many things had he to see again; how much to say and do. Yet in eight days all had been seen, said, and done.
Besides, his eldest sister, who had been lately married, had set out on a long journey with her husband; and as to Lucy, the youngest, she seemed too much occupied with her doll and its wardrobe to take an interest in the think ings and doings of her respected brother.
It had rained all day; and the farm, visited by M. Paul for the fifth time, had presented a sombre and mournful aspect. The fowls crouching under the walls had a pensive look; and even the ducks were dabbling in the mud in melancholy silence. The gamekeeper had indeed taken M: Paul with him on a hare-hunting expedition, but they had returned without success, and pretty well soaked. To his disappointment, M. Paul had found the keeper's stories rather long and diffuse - not the less so as they were being repeated for the third time with few variations. Moreover, the veterinary surgeon had announced that morning, to M. Paul's vexation, that his pony had caught a cold and must not quit the stable for a week. The paper had been read after dinner, but M. Paul was little attracted by its politics, and the miscellaneous intelligence was deplorably uninteresting.
Monsieur de Gandelau (Paul's father) was too much taken up with agricultural matters, and perhaps also with the treatment of his gout, to seek to relieve the ennui of which his son was the victim; and Madame de Gandelau, still suffering from the depression caused by her eldest daughter's departure, was working with a kind of despe ration at a piece of tapestry, whose destination was a mystery to all about her, and perhaps even to the person who was so laboriously adding stitch to. stitch.
"You have had a letter from Marie?"said M. de Gandelau, putting down the newspaper.