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A Village of Vagabonds by F. Berkeley Smith

A VILLAGE OF VAGABONDS

By F. BERKELEY SMITH

Author of "The Lady of Big Shanty."

A. L. BURT COMPANY PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN

COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY PUBLISHED MAY, 1910

COPYRIGHT, 1909, 1910, BY SMITH PUBLISHING HOUSE

* * * * *

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. The House by the Marsh 3

II. Monsieur le Cure 35

III. The Exquisite Madame de Breville 63

IV. The Smugglers 91

V. Marianne 120

VI. The Baron's Perfectos 151

VII. The Horrors of War 186

VIII. The Million of Monsieur de Savignac 213

IX. The Man with the Gun 245

X. The Bells of Pont du Sable 274

XI. The Miser--Garron 308

XII. Midwinter Flights 339

* * * * *

A VILLAGE OF VAGABONDS

[Illustration: house by the marsh]

A Village of Vagabonds

CHAPTER ONE

THE HOUSE BY THE MARSH

It was in fat Madame Fontaine's little cafe at Bar la Rose, that Norman village by the sea, that I announced my decision. It being market-day the cafe was noisy with peasants, and the crooked street without jammed with carts. Monsieur Torin, the butcher, opposite me, leaned back heavily from his glass of applejack and roared.

Monsieur Pompanet, the blacksmith, at my elbow, put down his cup of black coffee delicately in its clean saucer and opened his honest gray eyes wide in amazement. Simultaneously Monsieur Jaclin, the mayor, in his freshly ironed blouse, who for want of room was squeezed next to Torin, choked out a wheezy "_Bon Dieu!_" and blew his nose in derision.

"Pont du Sable--_Bon Dieu!_" exclaimed all three. "Pont du Sable--_Bon Dieu!_"

"_Cristi!_" thundered Torin. "You say you are going to _live_ in Pont du Sable? _Helas!_ It is not possible, my friend, you are in earnest!"

"That lost hole of a village of _sacre_ vagabonds," echoed Pompanet. "Why, the mud when the tide is out smells like the devil. It is unhealthy."

"Pere Bordier and I went there for ducks twenty years ago," added the mayor. "We were glad enough to get away before dark. B-r-r! It was lonely enough, that marsh, and that dirty little fishing-village no longer than your arm. Bah! It's a hole, just as Pompanet says."


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