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the charge for taking up a distracted woman,
watching her, and whipping her next day;
together with an extra two shillings to pay a
nurse for the unfortunate creature. The
constables of this town seem to have had a theory
of their own about the sinfulness of being
sick; for they paid eightpence "to Thomas
Hawkins for whipping two people yt had
the small-pox." It was a cruel bit of satire
to put down fourpence for whipping "Goody "
Barry; either she was not goody, or it was not
good to whip her. The constables of one
redoubtable village paid fourpence "to a
woman for whipping ye said Ellen Shaw;
"but, as if seized with a sudden mollification of
temper, they expended threepence "for beare
for her after she was whipped."


"I am sorry Monsieur Feelsone" (the Gallic
form of my not uncommon English name),
"that I cannot drive you to-morrow as usual,
because I must go home to draw out my
billet de banque; but if you can defer your
journey till the day after to-morrow, which
is Midsummer's Eve, I shall then be free for
another three weeks, and we can start at
whatever hour you fix."

"My friend," I replied, "if we do but reach
the town of Moulins safely and pleasantly, it
is all equal to me whether we depart a day
or two sooner or later, or even next week, if
you like it better. I shall have a few English
bank-notes about me, and it seems you will
keep me company with some French ones. I
was already aware that you are a landed
proprietor, but I did not know you had
capital in the bank."

"Heaven defend me from such a folly!"
answered Jules Lecoustrea sly, whip-cracking
French peasant of the neighbourhood,
who had often served me as coachman, and
whom many of his acquaintances reproached
with stupidity, for no better reason than
because he had the rare gift of holding his
tongue. "I certainly have some small savings
in my trunk, but the billet de banque, which I
just now mentioned, is altogether a different
thing. I am going to marry myself all of a
sudden, at last; and I must therefore have
my banns published by the Curé—which
won't be of much useand by the Maire
which will. I want to go and speak to them
both to-morrow. That's what we call the
billet de banque in my country."

"Good; so be it then, Jules. We shall have
plenty of time to get back for the wedding.
Of course you will be a little impatient."

"Not I. You know, Monsieur, when one
must, one must. Louise has been my sweetheart
for more than eighteen mouths past.
Though I should never have had any other
wife, I own I marry myself now rather of a

That weighty, and yet seemingly indifferent
point settled, we began to consider the road
we should take as the best way of getting to
Moulins. Most people would have preferred
making a long roundabout, for reasons
immediately to be stated; I decided on trying
a short cut, believing that I knew more than
I really did about the country we had to

What may be the comparative merit
amongst themselves of the highways and
byways of the south of France, I know not
or rather, I have forgotten, which comes to
the same thing; but in the north, where the
scene of my story is laid, the respective difference
is incredible, and sometimes also
unaccountable. A hitherto decent road
sometimes becomes unexpectedly impracticable;
or a Slough of Despond, without any warning
of improvement, capriciously offers a firm
and bearably smooth surface to your feet and
wheels. The change of quality is quite, as
abrupt as if a cord, stretched from town to
town, were here spun of silk, there of tow,
next of iron wire, and further on of golden
thread. However, this uncertainty about
your ways only occurs on cross-country
roads. On the national roads, the
departmental roads, and the ways of grande
munication, you roll along in ease and safety;
no turnpikes to pay, not a pebble out of its
place, but every difficulty instantaneously
smoothed by a set of men who are constantly
employed, and whose hats are faced with a
thin plate of brass, on which are cut the
capital letters that spell their office,
CANTONNIER. All these first-class roads are
down in your map; and, if it is on a large
scale, so are the cross-roads, likewise. But no
map can give an idea of their quality. Some
are merely a deep scratch in the earth, as if a
giant had dragged a heavy weight along it in
wet weather; others are the beds of
watercourses, which happen for the time to be
empty, and where you never feel sure, if a
shower comes on, that five minutes hence
you may not be up to the axle-tree, or the
waist, in water. A variety often to be met
with in forests, is a pair of deep parallel ruts,
which, being made by the powerful wheels of
a wood-cart, are sure not to fit any private
vehicle. In some, you have a bottom of
slime, varying your transit over a bed of
boulders. All these, and more, I had the
pleasure of testing on the eventful eve of last

I wanted to go to Moulins: no matter
for what special purpose. I thought I was
well up in the topography of the district, and
that I could pilot my way pretty nearly as
the bird flies, instead of making an immense
circuit, for the sake of sticking to the national
and the departmental roads. So, as soon as
Jules's billet de banque was made out, my
usual cabriolet with the little brown mare
stood waiting before my door; my trusty
driver sat in his place, ready to give the
parting whip-crack; my carpet-bag was under
the seat, my map of the Department lay in the