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Monday evening, and the abrutis, or degraded, until they have no more money. Close by us is a restaurant, whence we can hear the noise of the men, and one runs out with his trousers torn, as is not often seen in tidy France. I complain to Pierre of how they are wasting their money. "And suppose they did not spend it?" he replies; "we must always have workmen." I ask him who appointed this road-inspector. "The inspector-general of the department." "And who appoints him?" "The minister of public works." I tell him how we elect our supervisors of roads, but I do not convince him that it would be better for them to do so than to keep an experienced man.
I afterwards tell Mrs. L. about the men who were drinking, and she blames the contractor for allowing them to work on Sunday.
In one of my conversations with Pierre, something is said about their burying the dead so soon, and I want to know why it is done. But the burden is thrown upon me by the question, "And why do you keep the dead two days among you? We keep them only one day, except in cases of sudden death, without illness." He tells me too, doubtless in reply to some remark about the rich here marrying the rich, of a certain count whom he knows, who was a man of broken fortunes, and who married a woman possessing two million francs; but then, he adds, he had the stripes upon his sleeve, and to be an officer goes far.
To return to our afternoon walk ;—when we get to the mineral spring we find the bottling going on, for here the people have to work.
We see two women on the bank of the pretty stream. One is washing clothes by dipping them into the cold water and rubbing them upon the stones. Pierre says that they will be well done. (Perhaps she had before
scalded them in lye.) We see a woman tying up the vines, and Pierre tells me that this and hay-making are the only field labors that women perform in this part of France; whereas in the south, where his brother Charles was when a soldier, they go out to work in all field labors. and come in together, men and women. Afterwards Charles says that it is in hoeing and cultivating the vine that the women assist in that department of the Haute Garonne, near the Pyrenees; and he tells us that the men help the women to make the kitchen, or to do the housework.
Tuesday, July 9th.-This morning Mrs. Lesmontagnes is melting her butter. Lately, when about to fry potatoes, she appeared to have lard in her pan, and she took out a stoneware pot half full of a yellow substance which she said was butter, and of which she put a good quantity into her frying-pan. She said that it was melted, and allowed me to smell it. If it had not been melted and the scum removed, it would not remain sweet. As I now see Mrs. L. so slowly preparing her butter to put it away, we speak of rendering lard, and again Pierre and I differ. He renders lard himself for half a day, and thinks that otherwise it will not keep. I explain to him my more rapid manner, but fail to convince him. But if wood were as plentiful with them as with us, perhaps they would do the job more rapidly. We discuss, too, the subject of "making the kitchen" with butter; they tell me that it is more expensive than lard, but that they do not think lard equally good. I tell them of one of my relatives who would not allow pɔrk in any form to come into his house. "He was a Jew," says Pierre. I laugh and shake my head, saying my relative did not consider pork wholesome. After
wards I tell him that at Paris I began to see how these things are regarded here, but that many of our people would consider it an insult to be taken for a Jew. He tells me that it is considered that Jews resemble Catholics more than Protestants do. "Then you consider them above Protestants ?" I ask. "Yes." "Worse and worse!" I say, laughing, and go away.
July 9th.-Pierre and I go to visit the public schools in the village, if public I may call them. The boys' school is supported by the commune, who pay twenty-five hundred francs a year to four Little Brothers of Mary, or Marist monks. It is open ten months in the year, and although the Little Brothers receive lodging in the school building, in addition to their pay of nearly five hundred dollars, yet the four will hardly make beasts of themselves by high living. Theirs is a new stone house, but this building-stone looks much the same in the new and the old. Pierre and I enter the stone-paved yard, which has a well in the centre, with a stone curb and hood like ours, but, in addition, a grating in front to keep the children from falling in. Through the basement-window I catch a view of some working individual whom Pierre addresses, It is the Little Brother who makes the kitchen. We go up-stairs, and Pierre calls the principal out and takes off his hat, and says respectfully that here is some one who would like to visit the school,―an American lady. "And why or how?" There seems to be a doubt of my obtaining entrance, I mention
that I am an acquaintance of Mr. Chevalier, a person of importance here, who was formerly in Philadelphia. “Mr. Chevalier is at Paris," says the Brother. "Yes, I saw him there, and madame too, and I am to dine here with madame," I reply; and we are allowed to enter. The Little Brother wears a greasy skull-cap, and a long robe of black cloth, by no means new, and around his neck there is a string on which depends an image, apparently of lead. He is not a little brother in person: he is rather jollylooking, having a round, reddish face; and he smells of snuff. He does not invite us to sit down; for why? As far as I see, there is only one chair. He hears that I am from North America; I was born in Philadelphia. He turns to the map of the world, but seems to have a difficulty in locating me. I point out. He asks the boys what ocean lies between, and they answer. I remark that I see intelligent eyes here, and I understand him to reply, "How! They are French." (Afterwards Pierre tells me that the Brother did not understand what I said about my origin, for he is very well informed.) I am not shown any exercises, nor invited to ask any questions. The boys are standing, doubtless to express respect; and then we go into the next room, where there is another Brother, with another black robe, not new, and another image. He is younger, and more shamefaced at receiving me. There is the same want of chairs, and I do not stay long, and we go down the outside steps to visit the third or lowest class, in the basement. The head Brother tells us, way-making, how they are crowded in the winter; and certainly it is not a very large building to accommodate one hundred and eighty pupils, and to lodge four Brothers besides, who are not very little. Their sleeping-rooms, I suppose, are in the story above the two school-rooms.
We go into the lowest class-room, where is a Brother, apparently the youngest and the most shamefaced of the three; and the children stand, and the head Brother tells me that here they learn the alphabet, and he picks up a flax-headed urchin of four years. He has one or two to read to me. Possibly he thinks this class adapted to my capacity. One reads painfully about Solomon's temple in a story-book from the Holy Bible; but another reads more glibly upon a subject of equal interest. When we go out, the head Brother asks me whether I am acquainted with bees; and behold what a nice double row of straw hives there is in a little shelter just beyond the school-yard! And we look over the stone wall down the hillside. Close to us lies their narrow strip of garden, with such nice salad and other things. A slight wire separates it from the vineyard beyond, and the Brother picks up a pebble and throws it over to show me the small size of their garden. He does not seem to feel rich. Pierre tells me that a curé gave this property to the commune for a school; or, rather, he gave eight thousand francs on condition that the school should be taught by the Marist Brothers, and, if not taught by them, the heirs will get it again.
And then we go a little, little way, and come to another house in the village, where the Sisters of St. Joseph keep the girls' school of the commune, where Jeanette, the small cousin, goes. It is not a public school like ours at home. No; scholars must pay if able. And in the boys' school they must pay for books, which they can buy from the Brothers. We are received at the girls' school by two of the Sisters in their black dresses and white head and neck attire, and with images hanging upon strings around their necks. We go through a similar ceremony to that with the Brothers; and again I mention the Chevaliers, and