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an American dance; but after the ridiculous figure some of our countrymen cut in dancing after the Mexicans, we thought it best to leave it to their imaginations. Our agent, with a tight, black, swallow-tailed coat just imported from Boston, a high stiff cravat, looking as if he had been pinned and skewered, with only his feet and hands left free, took the floor just after Bandini, and we thought they had had enough of Yankee grace.
The last night they kept it up in great style, and were getting into a high-go, when the captain called us off to go aboard, for, it being southeaster season, he was afraid to remain on shore long; and it was well he did not, for that night we slipped our cables, as a crowner to our fun ashore, and stood off before a southeaster, which lasted twelve hours, and returned to our anchorage the next day.
-From "Two Years before the Mast.”
Gente de razon (hente day rah-zone): better class folk or aristocracy.
Carnival: three days of festivities just before Lent.
Questions for Study 1. Why do you think Dana, a young New Englander in California on a cruise, was a good reporter! What details of a marriage in your home now do you think would be equally interesting to strangers ?
2. Although the customs are strange, what similarities do you find between human nature in the early California days and
The door was thrown open wide, as if some one were pushing it energetically and resolutely. A man ... entered and stopped, leaving the door open behind him. He had his knapsack on his shoulder, his stick in his hand, and a rough, bold, wearied, and violent expression in his eyes. The fire-light fell on him; he was hideous, sinister apparition.
Madame Magloire had not even the strength to utter a cry, she shivered and stood with widely-open mouth. Mademoiselle Baptistine turned, perceived the man who entered, and half started up in terror; then, gradually turning her head to the chimney, she began looking at her brother, and her face became again calm and serene. The bishop fixed a quiet eye on the man, as he opened his mouth, doubtless to ask the new-comer what he wanted. The man leaned both his hands on his stick, looked in turn at the two aged women and the old man, and, not waiting for the bishop to speak, said in a loud voice:
“Look here! My name is Jean Valjean. I am a galleyslave, and have spent nineteen years in the prison. I was liberated four days ago, and started for Pontarlier, which is my destination. I have been walking for four
days since I left Toulon, and to-day I have marched twelve leagues. This evening on coming into the town I went to the inn, but was sent away in consequence of my yellow passport, which I had shown at the police office. I went to another inn, and the landlord said to me, 'Be off!' It was the same everywhere, and no one would have any dealings with me. I went to the prison, but the jailer would not take me in. I got into a dog's kennel, but the dog bit me and drove me off, as if it had been a man; it seemed to know who I was. I went into the fields to sleep in the star-light, but there were no stars. I thought it would rain, and as there was no God to prevent it from raining, I came back to the town to sleep in a. doorway. I was lying down on a stone in the square, when a good woman pointed to your house, and said, 'Go and knock there.' What sort of a house is this! Do you keep an inn? I have money, 109 francs 15 sous, which I earned at the prison by my nineteen years' toil. I will pay, for what do I care for that, as I have money! I am very tired and frightfully hungry; will you let me stay here?"
“Madame Magloire,” said the Bishop, “you will lay another knife and fork.”
The man advanced three paces, and approached the lamp which was on the table. “Wait a minute,” he continued, as if he had not comprehended, “that will not do. Did you not hear me say that I was a galley-slave, a convict, and have just come from the prison?” He took from his pocket a large yellow paper, which he unfolded. “Here is my passport, yellow as you see, which turns me out wherever I go. Will you read it? I can read it, for I learned to do so at the prison, where there is a school for those who like to attend it. This is what is written in my passport: "Jean Valjean, a liberated convict, native of'—but that does not concern you— has remained nineteen years at the galleys. Five years for robbery with house-breaking, fourteen years for having tried to escape four times. The man is very dangerous. All the world has turned me out, and are you willing to receive me? Is this an inn? Will you give me some food and a bed? Have you a stable?”
“Madame Magloire,” said the Bishop, "you will put clean sheets on the bed in the alcove." ..
Madame Magloire left the room to carry out the orders. The Bishop turned to the man. “Sit down and warm yourself, sir. We shall sup directly, and your bed will be got ready while we are supping."
The man understood this at once. The expression of his face, which had hitherto been gloomy and harsh, was marked with stupefaction, joy, doubt, and became extraordinary. He began stammering like a lunatic.
“Is it true? You will let me stay, you will not turn me out, a convict? You call me Sir; you do not despise me. 'Get out, dog!' that is what is always said to me; I really believed that you would turn me out, and hence told you at once who I am. Oh! what a worthy woman she was who sent me here! I shall have supper, a bed with mattresses and sheets, like everybody else. For nineteen years I have not slept in a bed! You really mean that I am to stay. You are worthy people; besides, I have money, and will pay handsomely. By the way, what is your name, Mr. Landlord? I will pay anything you please, for you are a worthy man. You keep an inn, do you not?”
“I am,” said the Bishop, "a priest living in this house."
“A priest!” the man continued. “Oh! what a worthy priest! I suppose you will not ask me for money. The priest, I suppose,—the priest of that big church? ... I did not notice your cassock.”
While speaking he deposited his knapsack and stick in a corner, returned his passport to his pocket, and sat down. While Mademoiselle Baptistine regarded him gently, he went on,
“You are humane, sir, and do not feel contempt. A good priest is very good. Then you do not want me to
“No,” said the Bishop, “keep your money. How long did you take in earning these 109 francs?"
“Nineteen years!” The Bishop gave a deep sigh. The man went on: “I have all my money still; in four days I have spent only 25 sous, which I earned by helping to unload carts at Grasse. As you are a priest I will tell you: we had a chaplain at the prison, and one day I saw a bishop, Monseigneur, as they call him. He is the priest over the priests, you know. Pardon, I express it badly;