“You will not tear it down,” he said, pointing with his thin and 부천 유흥 사이트 trembling hand to the dwelling which was seen in the horizon.

“I promise it you.”

“Well, be it so then. I will do this much for them—I will preserve the house where they were happy. Ladies, I am no orator, yet I think the least learned may make himself understood, when relating that which he has seen. I tell you beforehand the story is not gay. We call a musician when we would dance or sing, a doctor when we are suffering or about to die.”

A circle was formed round Doctor Barnabé, who, with his hands still crossed over the head of his cane, calmly began the following narrative, in the midst of an auditory that all the while fully intended to laugh at his recital.

It was long ago, it happened when I was young, for I too have been young—youth is a possession that all enjoy, the rich and poor, but which remains to no one. I had just passed my examination, having become a doctor; and well persuaded that, thanks to me, men would now cease to die, I returned to my native village to display my great talents. My village is not far from here. From my little chamber window I saw this white house, on the opposite side from that you are now gazing on. My village would certainly have no great beauty in your eyes, but to me it was superb. I was born there and loved it. Each one sees in his own particular manner the things he loves, and adapts himself to continue this love. The Almighty permits us at times to be somewhat blind, for he knows that to see every thing clearly in this lower world is not always desirable. This country then appeared smiling and animated to me, for I could live happily here: the white house alone, each day when I rose and opened my shutters, struck disagreeably on my sight—it was always closed, noiseless and sad, like a deserted thing. Never had I seen its windows open and shut, its door ajar, or the garden-gate give entrance to any one. Your uncle, who had no use for a dwelling by the side of his castle, endeavored to let it, but the price was rather high, and there was no one near wealthy enough to reside in it. Thus it continued tenantless, whilst in the village, at the slightest noise which made the dogs bark, the forms of two or three happy children might be seen at every window, putting aside the branches of the gilly-flower to look into the street. But one morning on awaking I was agreeably surprised at seeing a ladder against the walls of the white house, a painter was painting the window-shutters green; a servant was cleaning the panes of glass, and a gardener digging the garden.

“So much the better,” I said, “a good roof like that sheltering no one is so much lost.”

From day to day the house changed its appearance, boxes of flowers concealed the nakedness of the walls; a parterre was laid out before the steps, the walks, cleared of their weeds, were graveled, and muslin curtains, white as the driven snow, glittered in the sun when his rays shone in the windows. Finally, one day a post-chaise passed through the village and stopped before the enclosure of the little house. Who were these strangers? none knew, though every one in the village was longing to ascertain. For a long time nothing was known of what took place within the dwelling, but the roses bloomed and the green grass on the lawn grew. How many conjectures were made on this mystery—they were adventurers who were concealing themselves, perhaps a youth and his mistress; in fine, every thing was guessed but the truth. The truth is so plain that often we do not think of it; for when once the imagination is set to work, it seeks right and left, nor dreams of looking straight forward. As for me, I troubled myself but little about it.

What matters it, thought I, who they are, they are human beings who must undergo sickness before long, and then I shall be sent for. I waited patiently.

In reality, one morning I was sent word that Mr. William Meredith desired to see me. So I dressed myself with great care, and endeavoring to put on a gravity fitting my station, I passed through the whole village, not a little proud of my importance, and many envied me that day, they even stood at their doors to see me pass, saying, “he is going to the white house;” and I, to all appearance disdaining a vulgar curiosity, walked slowly along, nodding to my neighbors, the peasants, with an “au revoir, my friends, I will see you again later on; this morning I have business on hand.” And in this manner I reached the abode there on the hill.

When I entered the parlor of this house I was pleased at the sight that presented itself; all was at once plain and elegant. The handsomest ornaments of the house were the flowers, which were so artistically arranged that gold could not have adorned it better. White muslin festooned the windows, and there were white coverings on the arm-chairs, this was all—but there were roses and jessamines, and flowers of every kind, as in a garden. The light was softened by the window curtains, the air was filled with the delicious perfume of flowers, and reclining on a sofa a young girl, or rather a young woman, fair and fresh as all that surrounded her, welcomed me with a smile. A handsome young man, who was seated on a stool near her, rose when Dr. Barnabé was announced.

“Sir,” said he, with a strongly marked foreign accent, “your skill is so highly spoken of here that I expected to have seen an old man.”

“Sir,” I replied, “I have studied deeply, and am convinced of the importance of my station. You may place reliance in me.”