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passed, at the time of the first French
revolution, from the ancient house of
D'Aubépine into the hands of a rich contractor
who had done his best to make it habitable.
Amongst other appliances, he kept a
great deal of company, the old château
affording room enough for a host, and on my
arrival there (in such a crazy old patache
from Chartres) I was surprised, as I crossed
the drawbridge, to see a bevy of gay ladies
in pink and blue bonnets and parasols of the
same hue, seated on chairs upon the turf
with fishing-rods in their hands, angling in
the moat. That the sport was entertaining
there could be no doubt, for shouts of
laughter broke forth at every moment,
gentlemen ran to-and-fro in a state of wild
excitement, and now and then a very gentle
scream was heard, as if some dangerous
animal had come into closer proximity with
one of the fair anglers than was thought

"What fish have you here?" said I to the
driver of the patache, who was a stable-boy
at the château.

"Fish!" he replied, with a grin, "there
are no fish here!"

"What, then, are these ladies and gentlemen
angling for?"

"Frogs, sir." ("La Chasse aux grenouilles,

And this I found was the constant morning's
amusement of the guests at Villebon.
It was much of a piece with the sport which,
in the afternoon, the gentlemen used to take
in the woodsshooting foxes! respecting
which I once asked a gaitered and gunned
chevalier what he did with his game when he
had bagged it.

"O!" said he, carelessly, "we keep the
skin and the tail" (fancy his saying tail, and
not brush!) "for muffs, and give the little
animal" (la petite bête) "to the peasants to
eat. They are fond of foxes in these parts."

The party at the château also ate their
game, which they caught quite secundum
artem. M. de Lacepède says, "There are
various ways of fishing for frogs: they are
sometimes caught in nets by the light of
torches, which frighten them and deprive
them of motion, or with a hook and line, the
bait being worms or insects, or simply a bit
of red cloth. In Switzerland," he adds,
"they rake them out of the water."

But neither the French nor the Swiss are
the monopolists of frog-fishing. Dampier
relates that the practice prevails in the kingdom
of Tonquin. "I was invited," he says.
"to one of these New Year feasts, by one of
the country, and accordingly went ashore, as
many other seamen did upon like invitations.
I know not what entertainment they had,
but mine was like to be but mean, and therefore
I presently left it. The staple dish was
rice, which I have said before is the common
food; besides which, my friend, that he
might better entertain me and his other
guests, had been in the morning a-fishing in
a pond not far from his house, and had
caught a huge mess of frogs, and with great
joy brought them home as soon as I came to
his house. I wondered to see him turn out
so many of these creatures into a basket; and,
asking him what they were for, he told me to
eat! But how he dressed them I know not:
I did not like his dainties so well as to stay
and dine with him."

Depend upon it, honest Dampier lost a
great treat.



1840. March 12th (continued). After I
had pawned my things, and had begged a
small advance of wages at the place where I
work, to make up what was still wanting to
pay for Mary's funeral, I thought I might
have had a little quiet time to prepare myself
as I best could for to-morrow. But this was
not to be. When I got home, the landlord
met me in the passage. He was in liquor,
and more brutal and pitiless in his way of
looking and speaking than ever I saw him

"So you're going to be fool enough to pay
for her funeral, are you?" were his first
words to me.

I was too weary and heart-sick to answer
I only tried to get by him to my own door.

"If you can pay for burying her," he went
on, putting himself in front of me, "you can
pay her lawful debts. She owes me three
weeks' rent. Suppose you raise the money
for that next, and hand it over to me? I'm
not joking, I can promise you. I mean to
have my rent; and if somebody don't pay it,
I'll have her body seized and sent to the

Between terror and disgust, I thought I
should have dropped to the floor at his feet.
But I determined not to let him see how he
had horrified me, if I could possibly control
myself. So I mustered resolution enough to
answer that I did not believe the law gave
him any such wicked power over the

"I'll teach you what the law is!" he broke
in; "you'll raise money to bury her like a
born lady, when she's died in my debt, will
you! And you think I'll let my rights be
trampled upon like that, do you? See if I
do! I give you till to-night to think about
it. If I don't have the three weeks she owes
before to-morrow, dead or alive, she shall go
to the workhouse!"

This time I managed to push by him, and
get to my own room, and lock the door in his
face. As soon as I was alone, I fell into a
breathless, suffocating fit of crying that
seemed to be shaking me to pieces. But
there was no good and no help in tears; I
did my best to calm myself, after a little
while, and tried to think who I should run