The Money Master
By Gilbert Parker

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Chapter XXV: What Would You Have Done?

The Young Doctor did not answer Jean Jacques at once. As he looked at this wayworn fugitive he knew that another, and perhaps the final crisis of his life, was come to Jean Jacques Barbille, and the human pity in him shrank from the possible end to it all. It was an old-world figure this, with the face of a peasant troubadour and the carriage of an aboriginal– or an aristocrat. Indeed, the ruin, the lonely wandering which had been Jean Jacques’ portion, had given him that dignity which often comes to those who defy destiny and the blows of angry fate. Once there had been in his carriage something jaunty. This was merely life and energy and a little vain confidence; now there was the look of courage which awaits the worst the world can do. The life which, according to the world’s logic, should have made Jean Jacques a miserable figure, an ill-nourished vagabond, had given him a physical grace never before possessed by him. The face, however, showed the ravages which loss and sorrow had made. It was lined and shadowed with dark reflection, yet the forehead had a strange smoothness and serenity little in accord with the rest of the countenance. It was like the snow-summit of a mountain below which are the ragged escarpments of trees and rocks, making a look of storm and warfare.

“Where is she–the child of my Zoe?” Jean Jacques repeated with an almost angry emphasis; as though the Young Doctor were hiding her from him.

“She is with the wife of Nolan Doyle, my partner in horse-breeding, not very far from here. Norah Doyle was married five years, and she had no child. This was a grief to her, even more than to Nolan, who, like her, came of a stock that was prolific. It was Nolan who found your daughter on the prairie–the driver dead, but she just alive when found. To give her ease of mind, Nolan said he would make the child his own. When he said that, she smiled and tried to speak, but it was too late, and she was gone.”

In sudden agony Jean Jacques threw up his hands. “So young and so soon to be gone!” he exclaimed. “But a child she was and had scarce tasted the world. The mercy of God–what is it!”

“You can’t take time as the measure of life,” rejoined the Young Doctor with a compassionate gesture. “Perhaps she had her share of happiness– as much as most of us get, maybe, in a longer course.”

“Share! She was worth a hundred years of happiness!” bitterly retorted Jean Jacques.

“Perhaps she knew her child would have it?” gently remarked the Young Doctor.

“Ah, that–that ! . . . Do you think that possible, m’sieu’? Tell me, do you think that was in her mind–to have loved, and been a mother, and given her life for the child, and then the bosom of God. Answer that to me, m’sieu’?”

There was intense, poignant inquiry in Jean Jacques’ face, and a light seemed to play over it. The Young Doctor heeded the look and all that was in the face. It was his mission to heal, and he knew that to heal the mind was often more necessary than to heal the body. Here he would try to heal the mind, if only in a little.

“That might well have been in her thought,” he answered. “I saw her face. It had a wonderful look of peace, and a smile that would reconcile anyone she loved to her going. I thought of that when I looked at her. I recall it now. It was the smile of understanding.”

He had said the only thing which could have comforted Jean Jacques at that moment. Perhaps it was meant to be that Zoe’s child should represent to him all that he had lost–home, fortune, place, Carmen and Zoe. Perhaps she would be home again for him and all that home should mean–be the promise of a day when home would again include that fled from Carmen, and himself, and Carmen’s child. Maybe it was sentiment in him, maybe it was sentimentality–and maybe it was not.

“Come, m’sieu’,” Jean Jacques said impatiently: “let us go to the house of that M’sieu’ Doyle. But first, mark this: I have in the West here some land–three hundred and twenty acres. It may yet be to me a home, where I shall begin once more with my Zoe’s child–with my Zoe of Zoe– the home-life I lost down by the Beau Cheval. . . . Let us go at once.”

“Yes, at once,” answered the Young Doctor. Yet his feet were laggard, for he was not so sure that there would be another home for Jean Jacques with his grandchild as its star. He was thinking of Norah, to whom a waif of the prairie had made home what home should be for herself and Nolan Doyle.

“Read these letters first,” he said, and he put the letters found on Zoe in Jean Jacques’ eager hands.

A half-hour later, at the horse-breeding ranch, the Young Doctor introduced Jean Jacques to Norah Doyle, and instantly left the house. He had no wish to hear the interview which must take place between the two. Nolan Doyle was not at home, but in the room where they were shown to Norah was a cradle. Norah was rocking it with one foot while, standing by the table, she busied herself with sewing.

The introduction was of the briefest. “Monsieur Barbille wishes a word with you, Mrs. Doyle,” said the Young Doctor. “It’s a matter that doesn’t need me. Monsieur has been in my care, as you know. . . . Well, there, I hope Nolan is all right. Tell him I’d like to see him to-morrow about the bay stallion and the roans. I’ve had an offer for them. Good-bye–good-bye, Mrs. Doyle"–he was at the door–"I hope you and Monsieur Barbille will decide what’s best for the child without difficulty.”

The door opened quickly and shut again, and Jean Jacques was alone with the woman and the child. “What’s best for the child!”

That was what the Young Doctor had said. Norah stopped rocking the cradle and stared at the closed door. What had this man before her, this tramp habitant of whom she had heard, of course, to do with little Zoe in the cradle–her little Zoe who had come just when she was most needed; who had brought her man and herself close together again after an estrangement which neither had seemed able to prevent.

“What’s best for the child!” How did the child in the cradle concern this man? Then suddenly his name almost shrieked in her brain. Barbille–that was the name on the letter found on the body of the woman who died and left Zoe behind–M. Jean Jacques Barbille.

Yes, that was the name. What was going to happen? Did the man intend to try and take Zoe from her?

“What is your name–all of it?” she asked sharply. She had a very fine set of teeth, as Jean Jacques saw mechanically; and subconsciously he said to himself that they seemed cruel, they were so white and regular– and cruel. The cruelty was evident to him as she bit in two the thread for the waistcoat she was mending, and then plied her needle again. Also the needle in her fingers might have been intended to sew up his shroud, so angry did it appear at the moment. But her teeth had something almost savage about them. If he had seen them when she was smiling, he would have thought them merely beautiful and rare, atoning for her plain face and flat breast–not so flat as it had been; for since the child had come into her life, her figure, strangely enough, had rounded out, and lines never before seen in her contour appeared.

He braced himself for the contest he knew was at hand, and replied to her. “My name is Jean Jacques Barbille. I was of the Manor Cartier, in St. Saviour’s parish, Quebec. The mother of the child Zoe, there, was born at the Manor Cartier. I was her father. I am the grandfather of this Zoe.” He motioned towards the cradle.

Then, with an impulse he could not check and did not seek to check–why should he? was not the child his own by every right?–he went to the cradle and looked down at the tiny face on its white pillow. There could be no mistake about it; here was the face of his lost Zoe, with something, too, of Carmen, and also the forehead of the Barbilles. As though the child knew, it opened its eyes wide-big, brown eyes like those of Carmen Dolores.

“Ah, the beautiful, beloved thing!” he exclaimed in a low-voice, ere Norah stepped between and almost pushed him back. An outstretched arm in front of her prevented him from stooping to kiss the child. “Stand back. The child must not be waked,” she said. “It must sleep another hour. It has its milk at twelve o’clock. Stand aside. I won’t have my child disturbed.”

“Have my child disturbed"–that was what she had said, and Jean Jacques realized what he had to overbear. Here was the thing which must be fought out at once.

“The child is not yours, but mine,” he declared. “Here is proof–the letter found on my Zoe when she died–addressed to me. The doctor knew. There is no mistake.”

He held out the letter for her to see. “As you can read here, my daughter was on her way back to the Manor Cartier, to her old home at St. Saviour’s. She was on her way back when she died. If she had lived I should have had them both; but one is left, according to the will of God. And so I will take her–this flower of the prairie–and begin life again.”

The face Norah turned on him had that look which is in the face of an animal, when its young is being forced from it–fierce, hungering, furtive, vicious.

“The child is mine,” she exclaimed–"mine and no other’s. The prairie gave it to me. It came to me out of the storm. ’Tis mine-mine only. I was barren and wantin’, and my man was slippin’ from me, because there was only two of us in our home. I was older than him, and yonder was a girl with hair like a sheaf of wheat in the sun, and she kept lookin’ at him, and he kept goin’ to her. ’Twas a man she wanted, ’twas a child he wanted, and there they were wantin’, and me atin’ my heart out with passion and pride and shame and sorrow. There was he wantin’ a child, and the girl wantin’ a man, and I only wantin’ what God should grant all women that give themselves to a man’s arms after the priest has blessed them. And whin all was at the worst, and it looked as if he was away with her–the girl yonder–then two things happened. A man–he was me own brother and a millionaire if I do say it–he took her and married her; and then, too, Heaven’s will sent this child’s mother to her last end and the child itself to my Nolan’s arms. To my husband’s arms first it came, you understand; and he give the child to me, as it should be, and said he, ’We’ll make believe it is our own.’ But I said to him, ’There’s no make-believe. ’Tis mine. ’Tis mine. It came to me out of the storm from the hand of God.’ And so it was and is; and all’s well here in the home, praise be to God. And listen to me: you’ll not come here to take the child away from me. It can’t be done. I’ll not have it. Yes, you can let that sink down into you–I’ll not have it.”

During her passionate and defiant appeal Jean Jacques was restless with the old unrest of years ago, and his face twitched with emotion; but before she had finished he had himself in some sort of control.

“You–madame, you are only thinking of yourself in this. You are only thinking what you want, what you and your man need. But it’s not to be looked at that way only, and–”

“Well, then it isn’t to be looked at that way only,” she interrupted. “As you say, it isn’t Nolan and me alone to be considered. There’s–”

“There’s me,” he interrupted sharply. “The child is bone of my bone. It is bone of all the Barbilles back to the time of Louis XI."–he had said that long ago to Zoe first, and it was now becoming a fact in his mind. “It is linked up in the chain of the history of the Barbilles. It is one with the generations of noblesse and honour and virtue. It is–”

“It’s one with Abel the son of Adam, if it comes to that, and so am I," Norah bitingly interjected, while her eyes flashed fire, and she rocked the cradle more swiftly than was good for the child’s sleep.

Jean Jacques flared up. “There were sons and daughters of the family of Adam that had names, but there were plenty others you whistled to as you would to a four-footer, and they’d come. The Barbilles had names–always names of their own back to Adam. The child is a Barbille–Don’t rock the cradle so fast,” he suddenly added with an irritable gesture, breaking off from his argument. “Don’t you know better than that when a child’s asleep? Do you want it to wake up and cry?”

She flushed to the roots of her hair, for he had said something for which she had no reply. She had undoubtedly disturbed the child. It stirred in its sleep, then opened its eyes, and at once began to cry.

“There,” said Jean Jacques, “what did I tell you? Any one that had ever had children would know better than that.”

Norah paid no attention to his mocking words, to the undoubted-truth of his complaint. Stooping over, she gently lifted the child up. With hungry tenderness she laid it against her breast and pressed its cheek to her own, murmuring and crooning to it.

“Acushla! Acushla! Ah, the pretty bird–mother’s sweet–mother’s angel!” she said softly.

She rocked backwards and forwards. Her eyes, though looking at Jean Jacques as she crooned and coaxed and made lullaby, apparently did not see him. She was as concentrated as though it were a matter of life and death. She was like some ancient nurse of a sovereign-child, plainly dressed, while the dainty white clothes of the babe in her arms–ah, hadn’t she raided the hoard she had begun when first married, in the hope of a child of her own, to provide this orphan with clothes good enough for a royal princess!

The flow of the long, white dress of the waif on the dark blue of Norah’s gown, which so matched the deep sapphire of her eyes, caught Jean Jacques’ glance, allured his mind. It was the symbol of youth and innocence and home. Suddenly he had a vision of the day when his own Zoe had been given to the cradle for the first time, and he had done exactly what Norah had done–rocked too fast and too hard, and waked his little one; and Carmen had taken her up in her long white draperies, and had rocked to and fro, just like this, singing a lullaby. That lullaby he had himself sung often afterwards; and now, with his grandchild in Norah’s arms there before him–with this other Zoe–the refrain of it kept lilting in his brain. In the pause ensuing, when Norah stooped to put the pacified child again in its nest, he also stooped over the cradle and began to hum the words of the lullaby:

         “Sing, little bird, of the whispering leaves,
          Sing a song of the harvest sheaves;
          Sing a song to my Fanchonette,
          Sing a song to my Fanchonette!
          Over her eyes, over her eyes, over her eyes of violet,
          See the web that the weaver weaves,
          The web of sleep that the weaver weaves–
          Weaves, weaves, weaves!
          Over those eyes of violet,
          Over those eyes of my Fanchonette,
          Weaves, weaves, weaves–
          See the web that the weaver weaves!”

For quite two minutes Jean Jacques and Norah Doyle stooped over the cradle, looking at Zoe’s rosy, healthy, pretty face, as though unconscious of each other, and only conscious of the child. When Jean Jacques had finished the long first verse of the chanson, and would have begun another, Norah made a protesting gesture.

“She’s asleep, and there’s no more need,” she said. “Wasn’t it a good lullaby, madame?” Jean Jacques asked.

“So, so,” she replied, on her defence again.

“It was good enough for her mother,” he replied, pointing to the cradle.

“It’s French and fanciful,” she retorted–"both music and words.”

“The child’s French–what would you have?” asked Jean Jacques indignantly.

“The child’s father was English, and she’s goin’ to be English, the darlin’, from now on and on and on. That’s settled. There’s manny an English and Irish lullaby that’ll be sung to her hence and onward; and there’s manny an English song she’ll sing when she’s got her voice, and is big enough. Well, I think she’ll sing like a canary.”

“Do the birds sing in English?” exclaimed Jean Jacques, with anger in his face now. Was there ever any vanity like the vanity of these people who had made the conquest of Quebec, when sixteen Barbilles lost their lives, one of them being aide-de-camp to M. Vaudreuil, the governor!

“All the canaries I ever heard sung in English,” she returned stubbornly.

“How do Frenchmen understand their singing, then?” irritably questioned Jean Jacques.

“Well, in translation only,” she retorted, and with her sharp white teeth she again bit the black thread of her needle, tied the end into a little knot, and began to mend the waistcoat which she had laid down in the first moments of the interview.

“I want the child,” Jean Jacques insisted abruptly. “I’ll wait till she wakes, and then I’ll wrap her up and take her away.”

“Didn’t you hear me say she was to be brought up English?” asked Norah, with a slowness which clothed her fiercest impulses.

“Name of God, do you think I’ll let you have her!” returned Jean Jacques with asperity and decision. “You say you are alone, you and your M’sieu’ Nolan. Well, I am alone–all alone in the world, and I need her–Mother of God, I need her more than I ever needed anything in my life! You have each other, but I have only myself, and it is not good company. Besides, the child is mine, a Barbille of Barbilles, une legitime–a rightful child of marriage. But if it was a love-child only it would still be mine, being my daughter’s child. Look you, it is no such thing. It is of those who can claim inheritance back to Louis XI. She will be to me the gift of God in return for the robbery of death.”

He leaned over the cradle, and his look was like that of one who had found a treasure in the earth.

Now she struck hard. Yet very subtly too did she attack him. “You–you are thinking of yourself, m’sieu’, only of yourself. Aren’t you going to think of the child at all? It isn’t yourself that counts so much. You’ve had your day, or the part of it that matters most. But her time is not yet even begun. It’s all–all–before her. You say you’ll take her away–well, to what? To what will you take her? What have you got to give her? What–”

“I have the three hundred and twenty acres out there"–he pointed westward–"and I will make a home and begin again with her.”

“Three hundred and twenty acres–’out there’!” she exclaimed in scorn. “Any one can have a farm here for the askin’. What is that? Is it a home? What have you got to start a home with? Do you deny you are no better than a tramp? Have you got a hundred dollars in the world? Have you got a roof over your head? Have you got a trade? You’ll take her where–to what? Even if you had a home, what then? You would have to get someone to look after her–some old crone, a wench maybe, who’d be as fit to bring up a child as I would be to–” she paused and looked round in helpless quest for a simile, when, in despair, she caught sight of Jean Jacques’ watch-chain–"as I would be to make a watch!” she added.

Instinctively Jean Jacques drew out the ancient timepiece he had worn on the Grand Tour; which had gone down with the Antoine and come up with himself. It gave him courage to make the fight for his own.

“The good God would see that–” he began.

“The good God doesn’t interfere in bringing up babies,” she retorted. “That’s the work for the fathers and mothers, or godfathers and godmothers.”

“You are neither,” exclaimed Jean Jacques. “You have no rights at all.”

“I have no rights–eh? I have no rights! Look at the child. Look at the way she’s clothed. Look at the cradle in which it lies. It cost fifteen dollars; and the clothes–what they cost would keep a family half a year. I have no rights, is it?–I who stepped in and took the child without question, without bein’ asked, and made it my own, and treated it as if it was me own. No, by the love of God, I treated it far, far better than if it had been me own. Because a child was denied me, the hunger of the years made me love the child as a mother would on a desert island with one child at her knees.”

“You can get another-one not your own, as this isn’t,” argued Jean Jacques fiercely.

She was not to be forced to answer his arguments directly. She chose her own course to convince. “Nolan loves this child as if it was his,” she declared, her eyes all afire, “but he mightn’t love another–men are queer creatures. Then where would I be? and what would the home be but what it was before–as cold, as cold and bitter! It was the hand of God brought the child to the door of two people who had no child and who prayed for one. Do you deny it was the hand of God that brought your daughter here away, that put the child in my arms? Not its mother, am I not? But I love her better than twenty mothers could. It’s the hunger–the hunger–the hunger in me. She’s made a woman of me. She has a home where everything is hers–everything. To see Nolan play with her, tossin’ her up and down in his arms as if he’d done it all his life–as natural as natural! To take her away from that–all the comfort here where she can have annything she wants! With my old mother to care for her, if so be I was away to market or whereabouts–one that brought up six children, a millionaire among them, praise be to God as my mother did–to take this delicate little thing away from here, what a sin and crime ’twould be! She herself ’d never forgive you for it, if ever she grew up–though that’s not likely, things bein’ as they are with you, and you bein’ what you are. Ah, there–there she is awake and smilin’, and kickin’ up her pretty toes this minute! There she is, the lovely little Zoe, with eyes like black pearls. . . . See now–see now which she’ll come to–to you or me, m’sieu’. There, put out your arms to her, and I’ll put out mine, and see which she’ll take. I’ll stand by that–I’ll stand by that. Let the child decide. Hold out your arms, and so will I”

With an impassioned word Jean Jacques reached down his arms to the child, which lay laughing up at them and kicking its pink toes into the air, and Norah Doyle did the same, murmuring an Irish love-name for a child. Jean Jacques was silent, but in his face was the longing of a soul sick for home, of one who desires the end of a toilsome road.

The laughing child crooned and spluttered and shook its head, as though it was playing some happy game. It looked first at Norah, then at Jean Jacques, then at Norah again, and then, with a little gurgle of pleasure, stretched out its arms to her and half-raised itself from the pillow. With a glad cry Norah gathered it to her bosom, and triumph shone in her face.

“Ah, there, you see!” she said, as she lifted her face from the blossom at her breast.

“There it is,” said Jean Jacques with shaking voice.

“You have nothing to give her–I have everything,” she urged. “My rights are that I would die for the child–oh, fifty times! . . . What are you going to do, m’sieu’?”

Jean Jacques slowly turned and picked up his hat. He moved with the dignity of a hero who marches towards a wall to meet the bullets of a firing-squad.

“You are going?” Norah whispered, and in her eyes was a great relief and the light of victory. The golden link binding Nolan and herself was in her arms, over her heart.

Jean Jacques did not speak a word in reply, though his lips moved. She held out the little one to him for a good-bye, but he shook his head. If he did that–if he once held her in his arms–he would not be able to give her up. Gravely and solemnly, however, he stooped over and kissed the lips of the child lying against Norah’s breast. As he did so, with a quick, mothering instinct Norah impulsively kissed his shaggy head, and her eyes filled with tears. She smiled too, and Jean Jacques saw how beautiful her teeth were–cruel no longer.

He moved away slowly. At the door he turned, and looked back at the two –a long, lingering look he gave. Then he faced away from them again.

“Moi je suis philosophe,” he said gently, and opened the door and stepped out and away into the frozen world.


Change might lay its hand on the parish of St. Saviour’s, and it did so on the beautiful sentient living thing, as on the thing material and man- made; but there was no change in the sheltering friendship of Mont Violet or the flow of the illustrious Beau Cheval. The autumns also changed not at all. They cast their pensive canopies over the home-scene which Jean Jacques loved so well, before he was exhaled from its bosom.

One autumn when the hillsides were in those colours which none but a rainbow of the moon ever had, so delicately sad, so tenderly assuring, a traveller came back to St. Saviour’s after a long journey. He came by boat to the landing at the Manor Cartier, rather than by train to the railway-station, from which there was a drive of several miles to Vilray. At the landing he was met by a woman, as much a miniature of the days of Orleanist France as himself. She wore lace mits which covered the hands but not the fingers, and her gown showed the outline of a meek crinoline.

“Ah, Fille–ah, dear Fille!” said the little fragment of an antique day, as the Clerk of the Court–rather, he that had been for so many years Clerk of the Court–stepped from the boat. “I can scarce believe that you are here once more. Have you good news?”

“It was to come back with good news that I went,” her brother answered smiling, his face lighted by an inner exaltation.

“Dear, dear Fille!” She always called him that now, and not by his Christian name, as though he was a peer. She had done so ever since the Government had made him a magistrate, and Laval University had honoured him with the degree of doctor of laws.

She was leading him to the pony-carriage in which she had come to meet him, when he said:

“Do you think you could walk the distance, my dear? . . . It would be like old times,” he added gently.

“I could walk twice as far to-day,” she answered, and at once gave directions for the young coachman to put “His Honour’s” bag into the carriage. In spite of Fille’s reproofs she insisted in calling him that to the servants. They had two servants now, thanks to the legacy left them by the late Judge Carcasson. Presently M. Fille took her by the hand. “Before we start–one look yonder,” he murmured, pointing towards the mill which had once belonged to Jean Jacques, now rebuilt and looking almost as of old. “I promised Jean Jacques that I would come and salute it in his name, before I did aught else, and so now I do salute it.”

He waved a hand and made a bow to the gold Cock of Beaugard, the pride of all the vanished Barbilles. “Jean Jacques Barbille says that his head is up like yours, M. le Coq, and he wishes you many, many winds to come,” he recited quite seriously, and as though it was not out of tune with the modern world.

The gold Cock of Beaugard seemed to understand, for it swung to the left, and now a little to the right, and then stood still, as if looking at the little pair of exiles from an ancient world–of which the only vestiges remaining may be found in old Quebec.

This ceremony over, they walked towards Mont Violet, averting their heads as they passed the Manor Cartier, in a kind of tribute to its departed master–as a Stuart Legitimist might pass the big palace at the end of the Mall in London. In the wood-path, Fille took his sister’s hand.

“I will tell you what you are so trembling to hear,” he said. “There they are at peace, Jean Jacques and Virginie–that best of best women.”

“To think–married to Virginie Poucette–to think of that!” His sister’s voice fluttered as she spoke. “But entirely. There was nothing in the way–and she meant to have him, the dear soul! I do not blame her, for at bottom he is as good a man as lives. Our Judge called him ’That dear fool, Jean Jacques, a man of men in his way, after all,’ and our Judge was always right–but yes, nearly always right.”

After a moment of contented meditation he resumed. “Well, when Virginie sold her place here and went to live with her sister out at Shilah in the West, she said, ’If Jean Jacques is alive, he will be on the land which was Zoe’s, which he bought for her. If he is alive–then!’ So it was, and by one of the strange accidents which chance or women like Virginie, who have plenty of courage in their simpleness, arrange, they met on that three hundred and sixty acres. It was like the genius of Jean Jacques to have done that one right thing which would save him in the end–a thing which came out of his love for his child–the emotion of an hour. Indeed, that three hundred and sixty acres was his salvation after he learned of Zoe’s death, and the other little Zoe, his grandchild, was denied to him–to close his heart against what seemed that last hope, was it not courage? And so, and so he has the reward of his own soul–a home at last once more.”

“With Virginie Poucette–Fille, Fille, how things come round!” exclaimed the little lady in the tiny bonnet with the mauve strings.

“More than Virginie came round,” he replied almost oracularly. “Who, think you, brought him the news that coal was found on his acres–who but the husband of Virginie’s sister! Then came Virginie. On the day Jean Jacques saw her again, he said to her, ’What you would have given me at such cost, now let me pay for with the rest of my life. It is the great thought which was in your heart that I will pay for with the days left to me.’”

A flickering smile brightened the sensitive ascetic face, and humour was in the eyes. “What do you think Virginie said to that? Her sister told me. Virginie said to that, ’You will have more days left, Jean Jacques, if you have a better cook. What do you like best for supper?’ And Jean Jacques laughed much at that. Years ago he would have made a speech at it!”

“Then he is no more a philosopher?”

“Oh always, always, but in his heart, and not with his tongue. I cried, and so did he, when we met and when we parted. I think I am getting old, for indeed I could not help it: yet there was peace in his eyes–peace.”

“His eyes used to rustle so.”

“Rustle–that is the word. Now, that is what, he has learned in life– the way to peace. When I left him, it was with Virginie close beside him, and when I said to him, ’Will you come back to us one day, Jean Jacques?’ he said, ’But no, Fille, my friend; it is too far. I see it– it is a million miles away–too great a journey to go with the feet, but with the soul I will visit it. The soul is a great traveller. I see it always–the clouds and the burnings and the pitfalls gone–out of sight– in memory as it was when I was a child. Well, there it is, everything has changed, except the child-memory. I have had, and I have had not; and there it is. I am not the same man–but yes, in my love just the same, with all the rest–’ He did not go on, so I said, ’If not the same, then what are you, Jean Jacques?’”

“Ah, Fille, in the old days he would have said that he was a philosopher" –said his sister interrupting. “Yes, yes, one knows–he said it often enough and had need enough to say it. Well, said he to me, ’Me, I am a’ –then he stopped, shook his head, and so I could scarcely hear him, murmured, ’Me–I am a man who has been a long journey with a pack on his back, and has got home again.’ Then he took Virginie’s hand in his.”

The old man’s fingers touched the corner of his eye as though to find something there; then continued. “’Ah, a pedlar!’ said I to him, to hear what he would answer. ’Follies to sell for sous of wisdom,’ he answered. Then he put his arm around Virginie, and she gave him his pipe.”

“I wish M. Carcasson knew,” the little grey lady remarked.

“But of course he knows,” said the Clerk of the Court, with his face turned to the sunset.

Etext Editor’s Bookmarks:

Courage which awaits the worst the world can do
Good thing for a man himself to be owed kindness
I can’t pay you for your kindness to me, and I don’t want to
No past that is hidden has ever been a happy past
She was not to be forced to answer his arguments directly
That iceberg which most mourners carry in their breasts
The soul is a great traveller
You can’t take time as the measure of life


Epilogue: Introduction  •  Chapter I: The Grand Tour of Jean Jacques Barbille  •  Chapter II: “The Rest of the Story To-Morrow”  •  Chapter III: “To-Morrow”  •  Chapter IV: Thirteen Years After and the Clerk of the Court Tells a Story  •  Chapter V: The Clerk of the Court Ends His Story  •  Chapter VI: Jean Jacques Had Had a Great Day  •  Chapter VII: Jean Jacques Awakes From Sleep  •  Chapter VIII: The Gate in the Wall  •  Chapter IX: “Moi-Je Suis Philosophe”  •  Chapter X: “Quien Sabe"–who Knows!  •  Chapter XI: The Clerk of the Court Keeps a Promise  •  Chapter XII: The Master-Carpenter Has a Problem  •  Chapter XIII: The Man From Outside  •  Chapter XIV: “I Do Not Want to Go”  •  Chapter XV: Bon Marche  •  Chapter XVI: Misfortunes Come Not Singly  •  Chapter XVII: His Greatest Asset  •  Chapter XVIII: Jean Jacques Has An Offer  •  Chapter XIX: Sebastian Dolores Does Not Sleep  •  Chapter XX: “Au ’Voir, M’Sieu’ Jean Jacques”  •  Chapter XXI: If She Had Known in Time  •  Epilogue - Chapter XXII: Bells of Memory  •  Chapter XXIII: Jean Jacques Has Work to Do  •  Chapter XXIV: Jean Jacques Encamped  •  Chapter XXV: What Would You Have Done?  •  Etext Editor’s Bookmarks For “The Money Master”, Complete:

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The money master;: Being the curious history of Jean Jacques Barbille, his labours, his loves, and his ladies,
By Gilbert Parker
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