Saturday, March 2, 2019
Born to Be Story Teller
Short summary denim Francois concords the blame for a crime he did non commit after a change in his life has do him a respected trades valet de chambre. He has done this to let off a naive rustic from his own fate as an common criminal prior to his reformation. He leaveingly substitutes for the real thief because he can survive a life in jail and his four-year- some clock(a) rustic fri cobblers last would be sp ared a life of in-jail and break. jean Francois has salve his young friend from a life give care his. Shows how once label memorise a criminal in the eyes of the law one ashes a criminal in the eyes of the law, for the rest of ones life.MAIN STORY HEwas scarcely ten age old when he was arrested for the first metre for vagabondage. This is what he said to the judges My name is Jean Francois Leturc, and for the last six months Ive been with the man who sings between dickens lanterns on the Pl champion de la Ba locke, scraping on abit of catgut. I say the chorus with him, and so I cry break, Ask for the smart song book, ten centimes, two sous He was always drunk, and he stun me. Thats how the police found me the opposite dark, in these ruined houses. forwardshand that, I used to be with the man who sells brushes.My mother was a washwoman her name is Adele. A gentleman had set her up on a ground floor, at Montmartre, considerable ago. She was a good hold outer and in truth fond of me. She make funds because she had the custom of the cafe waiters, and they need stacks of linen. Sun eld, she pull me to slam early to go to the ball nevertheless(prenominal) week solar eld, she displace me to the Brothers school, where I learned to read. Well, at last the policeman whose beat was up our street used to stop before her window to talk to her, a braggy man, with the Crimean medal. They got married, and all went wrong.He took a disthe bids of to me, and set mamma once morest me. Everybody had a slap for me and it was so that to see by I spent my days on the Place Clichy, where I got acquainted with the mountebanks. My stepfather missed his job, mamma lost her customers, and so she went to the washhouse to support her husband. It was on that point she got consumption, from the dampness. She died at Lariboisiere. She was a good woman. Since then Ive lived with the brush seller and the catgut scraper. Am I sacking to be put in prison? He talked this way openly, cyni beseechy, like a man.He was a ragged little rascal, as tall as a top boot, with his forehead hidden under a contradictory yellow mop of hair. Nobody claiming him, they sent him to the reform school. Not intelligent, lazy, curiously clumsy with his give, he could learn in that location hardly a vile trade, to reseat straw chairs. Yet he was obedient, naturally quiet and reticent and he did not seem to be too profoundly subvert by that school of vice. But when he was s in timeteen, and set free in the streets of Paris, he found there, for his misfortune, his prison helpmates, wretched creatures, plying the lowest callings.Some were trainers of dogs for rat-catching in the sewers well-nigh shined shoes in the Passage de lOpera, on the nights when there were balls whatsoever were amateur wrestlers, letting themselves be thrown by the Hercules of the side shows more or less used to fish from rafts out in the river. He well-tried one of these things and another and a few months after he had left hand the house of correction, he was arrested again for a piffling theft, a span of old shoes picked from out an open show window. Result a year of imprisonment at Sainte-Pelagie, where he served as valet to the governmental prisoners.He lived, astonished, among this group of prisoners, all very young and carelessly dressed, who talked loudly and carried themselves in such a solemn way. They used to meet in the carrel of the eldest of them, a fellow of thirty locked up for a long time already and as though settled a t Sainte-Pelagie, a big cell, papered with colored caricatures, out of whose windows could be seen the whole of Paris, its roofs, its steeples, its domes, and far off, the upstage line of the hills, blue and vague against the sky.On the walls there were a few shelves make full with books and all the old apparatus of a fencing school, disordered pretends, grey-haired foils, leather jackets and gloves with thestuffing half out. It was there that the political prisoners had dinner together, adding to the fatal soup and beef, fruit, cheese, and quarts of wine that Jean Francois was sent to buy at the canteen, profligate repasts, interrupted by violent disputes, and with songs sung in chorus at the dessert, the Carmagnole and Ca ira. But they took on an air of dignity the days when they made room for a new make lover, who was at first solemnly greeted as citizen, exclusively who was the next day called by his nickname. They made use of big countersignatures, Corporation, Solidari ty, and phrases sooner unintelligible to Jean Francois, such as this for example, that he once comprehend uttered imperiously by a hideous little hunch spinal column who spent his nights scribbling Then its settled.The cabinet is to be composed of Raymond in the Department of Education, Martial in the Interior, and I in Foreign Affairs. When his time was up, he wandered again some Paris, with the eye of the police on him, muchtimes like the cockchafers that cruel children keep flying tied to a string. He had become one of those fugitive and timid beings whom the law, with a coque estimate of its own, arrests and releases, secrete and turn about, a little like those platonic fishermen who throw grit into the water the fish undecomposed out of the net so as not to empty the pond.Without his suspecting that so much honor was done to so feeble a personality, he had a special docket in the mysterious archives of police headquarters his name and surnames were written in a large ba ckhand on the gray paper of the cover, and the notes and reports, carefully classified, gave him these graduated appellations theman named Leturc, the accused Leturc, and finally, the convicted Leturc. He stayed out of prison two years, eating as best he could, sleeping in trapping houses, or sometimes in kilns, and taking part with his fellows in dateless games of pitch and toss, on the Boulevards, out near the gates.He wore a greasy capital letter on the back of his head, carpet slippers, and a short whiten blouse. When he had louvre sous, he had his hair curled. He danced at Constants at Montparnasse for two sous he bought the knave of hearts or the ace of spades, used as return checks, to sell them again for four sous at the seize to Bobino he opened carriage inlets when the chance came he led broken-down horses to the market. He always had perverting luck, in the conscription he drew a good number.Who knows whether the atmosphere of honor which is breathed in the barra cks, whether military discipline, might not apply saved him? Caught in a haul, with a lot of vagabonds who used to rob the drunkards asleep in the streets, he denied energetically having taken part in their expeditions. Perhaps it was true. But his antecedents were authoritative as proof, and he was sent up for common chord years to Poissy. on that point he had to make rough toys he had himself tattooed on the chest and he learned thieves slang and the penal code.Another release, another plunge into the Parisian sewer, save this time very short, for at the end of scarce six weeks, he was again compromised in a theft by night, aggravated by violence, a doubtful case in which he played an dapple part, half dupe and half receiver. At the end his complicity seemed evident, and he was condemned to pentad years hard labor. His sorrow in this adventure was to be disconnected from an old dog that he had picked up on a stilt of rubbish and cured of the mange. This beast loved him.To ulon, the ball on his ankle, work in the harbor, blows, wooden shoes without straw, soup of black beans dating from Trafalgar, no money for tobacco, and the monstrous sleep on the filthy iron bed of the convict, that is what he knew for five horrid summers and five wintertimes with the whistling wind. He came out stunned, and was sent under surveillance to Vernon, where he worked for a while on the river and then, incorrigible vagabond as he was, he broke boundary and came back again to Paris.He had his savings, fifty-six francs that is to say, time to reflect. During his long absence his old, horrible comrades had been scattered. He was well hidden he slept in an attic, at an old womans, to whom he had given himself out as a sailor, endure of the sea, having lost his papers in a recent shipwreck, and wanting to try another trade. His tanned face, his calloused hands, and a few sea phrases he let drop from time to time, made this tale fairly probable.One day when he had risked a saunter along the streets and when the chance of his walk brought him to Montmarte, where he had been born, an unexpected memory stopped him before the door of the Brothers school, in which he had learned to read. As it was very warm, the door was open and with a mavin saying the hesitating passer could signalize the schoolroom. Nothing was changed, not the rood over the desk, nor the regular rows of seats, with their leaden inkstands, nor the table of weights and measures, nor the map on whichwere still the pins pointing out the operations of some old war.Heedlessly, and without reflecting, Jean Francois read on the blackboard these backchats of Scripture, which a well-trained hand had traced as an example of paw Joy shall be in heaven over one evildoer that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, who need no repentance. It must make believe been the hour for recreation, for the teaching Brother had left his chair, and posing on the edge of a table, he seem ed to be telling a story to all the children who surrounded him, attentive and raising their eyes.What an innocent and aerial expression was that of the beardless young man, in long black robe, with white cravat, with coarse, ugly shoes, and with brown hair badly cut rising up at the back. All those pallid faces of children of the populace which were looking at him, seemed less infantine than his, especially when, charmed with a candid, priestly pleasantry, he broke out with a good and frank gag, which showed his teeth sound and well-ordered, a laugh so contagious that all the scholars broke out noisily in their turn and it was simple and sweet, this group in the joyous sunlight that made the clear eyes and the blond hair shine.Jean Francois looked at it some time in silence, and, for the first time, in this savage nature, all instinct and appetite, there awoke a mysterious and sweet emotion. His heart, that rough and hardened heart, which did not spark off when the heavy cudgel or the weight of the whip fell on his shoulders, beat almost to oppression. Before this spectacle, in which he byword again his childhood, hiseyes closed sorrowfully, and restraining a violent gesture, he moved away with large strides. The words written on the blackboard came back to him. If it was not too late, after all? he murmured. If I could once more, like the others, eat my white bread honestly, sleep my sleep out with no nightmare? The police spy would be very clever to recognize me now. My beard, which I s giftd down there, has grown again, thick and strong. A man can hide himself in this big ant-heap, and work is not lacking. Whoever does not break down soon in the hell of the prison, comes out officious and robust and I constitute learned how to climb ladders with a commitment on my back. There is building going on everywhere, and the masons need helpers. trinity francs a day, I have never earned so much. If they will just forget me, that is all I ask. He followed his courageous resolutions he was faithful to it and three months later, he was another man. The master for whom he backbreaking cited him as his best workman. After a long day passed on the ladder, in the full sun, in the dust, bending and straightening his back to take the stones from the hands of the man below him and to pass them to the man higher up him, he came abode to get a meal at the cheap eating house, brain dead tired, his legs heavy, his hands burning, and his eyelashes stuck together by the plaster, and satisfied with himself, and carrying his well-earned money in the knot of his handkerchief.He went out now with no fear of anything, for his white mask made him unrecognizable and then he had observed that the suspicious peek of the policeman does not oftenfall on the real worker. He was silent and sober. He slept the good sleep of fatigue. He was free. At last, a supreme reward he had a friend. It was a mason like himself, called Savinien, a little peasant from L imoges, red-cheeked, having came to Paris with his bundle on the end of the stick over his shoulder, who kept away from the liquor dealers and went to mass on Sunday.Jean Francois liked him for his wholesomeness, for his innocence, for his honesty for all that he himself had lost long ago. It was a deep passion, reserved, and betraying itself by the care and forethought of a father. Savinien, himself easy-going and selfish, let things take their course glad only that he had found a comrade who divided his horror of the taproom.The two friends lived together in a furnish room, fairly clean, but their means were very limited and they had to take in a ternion companion, an old man from Auvergne, somber and rapacious, who found a way of saving out of his meager wages to buy fetch at home. Jean Francois and Savinien scarcely ever left each other. The days of rest they went on long walks in the environs of Paris to dine in the open air in one of those little state of matter inns whe re there are many mushrooms in the sauces and innocent enigmas on the bottoms of the plates.Jean Francois then had his friend tell him all the things, which are unknown to those born in cities. He learned the names of the trees, the flowers, the plants, the date of the different harvests he listened enviously to the thousand details of a farmers labors, the autumn sowing, the winter work, the splendid feasts of harvest home and vintage, the flails beating the floor, and thesound of the mills by the edge of the water, the tired horses led to the trough, and the morning hunting in the mists, and above all, the long evenings around the fire, shortened by tales of marvel.He discovered in himself springs of an caprice hitherto unsuspected, finding a singular pleasure in the immaculate recital of these things, so sweet, calm, and monotonous. One fear troubled him, however, that Savinien might come to know his past. Sometimes there escaped him a shady word of slang, an ignoble gesture, survivals of his former horrible existence and then he matte up the pain of a man whose old wounds open again, the more in particular as he then thought he sawing machine in Savinien the awakening of an unhealthy curiosity.When the young man, already tempted by the pleasures, which Paris offered even to the poorest, asked him about the mysteries of the great city, Jean Francois feigned ignorance and turned the conversation but he had then a vague doubt as to the emerging of his friend. This was not without foundation and Savinien could not long remain the innocent ruralist he had been on his arrival in Paris. If the gross and noisy pleasures of the saloon were still repugnant to him, he was deeply troubled by other desires full of danger for the inexperience of his twenty years.When the spring came, he began to test solitude, and he wandered at first before the gayly lighted entrance to the dancing halls, through which he saw the girls going in couples, without bonnets, and wh ispering with their arms around each other. Then one evening, when the lilacs were in bloom, and when the supplication of the music was more entrancing, he crossedthe threshold. And after that Jean Francois saw him change little by little in his manners and in his looks. Savinien became more careful of his dress and he spent more often he borrowed from the poor savings of his friend, which he forgot to return.Jean Francois, feeling himself deserted, was both intemperate and jealous he suffered and kept silent. He believed he had no flop to reproach, but his penetrating friendship had cruel and unconquerable forebodings. One night when he was climbing the stairs of his lodging, absorbed in his preoccupations, he comprehend a dialogue of irritated voices in the room he was about to enter, and he recognized one as that of the old man from Auvergne, who shared the room with him and Savinien. An old habit of suspicion made him wait on the landing, and he listened to learn the cause o f the trouble. Yes, the man from Auvergne was saying angrily, I am sure that somebody has broken open my trunk and stolen the three Louis which I had hidden in a little box and the man who did the blind can only be one of the two companions who sleep here, unless it is Maria, the servant. This is your argument as much as mine, since you are the master of the house and I will hale you to court if you do not let me at once go through the valises of the two masons. My poor savings they were in their place only yesterday and I will tell you what the Louis were, so that, if you find them, you will not accuse me of lying.Oh, I know them, my three fine gold pieces. One was a little more faltering than the others, of a gold a little greener, and that had the portrait of the great emperor butterfly another had that of afat old fellow with a pigtail and epaulets and the third had a Philip with side-whiskers I had marked it with my teeth. I am not to be cheated, not I. Do you know I need o nly two more to pay for my vineyard? Come, let us look through the duds of these two comrades, or I will call the police. Very well, said the voice of the man who kept the house. Well search with Maria. So much the worse if you find nothing and if the masons get angry. It will be because you forced me to it. Jean Francois had his heart filled with fear. He recalled the poverty of Savinien, the petty borrowings, the somber manner observed the last few days. Yet he did not want to believe in any theft. He comprehend the hard breathing of the man from Auvergne in the ardor of the search and he clenched his hands against his breast as though to repress the beatings of his heart. 28There they are suddenly screamed the miser, victorious. There they are, the Louis my dear treasure And in the Sunday waistcoat of that little hypocrite from Limoges. See there, boss They are just as I told you. Theres the Napoleon, and the man with the pigtail, and the Philip I had bitten. See the mark. Ah, the little rascal, with his air of innocence. I should more likely have suspected the other. Ah, the villain. He will have to go to prison At this moment Jean Francois heard the well-known step of Savinien, who was slowly sexual climax upstairs. He will betray himself, he thought. Three flights. I have the time And pushing the door, and pale as death, he enteredthe room, where he saw the man who kept the house and the stupefied servant in a corner, and the man from Auvergne on his knees amid the scattered clothes, lovingly kissing his gold pieces. decorous of this, he said in a dull voice. It was I who took the money and put it in the comrades trunk. But that is too disgusting. I am a thief and not a Judas. Go get the police. I shall not run.Only I must say a word in private to Savinien, who is here. The little man from Limoges had in fact just arrived, and seeing his crime discovered and believing himself lost, he stood still, with his eyes intractable and his arms falling. Je an Francois sprang to his neck, as though to embrace him he paste his mouth to Saviniens ear, and said to him in a low and entreat voiceHold your tongue Then, turning to the othersLeave me alone with him. I shall not go away, I tell you. Shut us up, if you like, but leave us alone together. And with a gesture of command, he showed them the door. They went out. Savinien, broken with anguish, had seated himself on a bed, and had dropped his eyes without understanding. Listen, said Jean Francois, who came to take his hands. I understand. You stole the three gold pieces to buy some take a leak for a girl. That would have been worth six months of prison for you. But you do not get out of that except to go back again and you would have become a pillar of the police courts and criminal trials. I know all about them.I have done seven years in thereform school, one at Sainte-Pelagie, three at Poissy, and five at Toulon. Now, do not get scared. It is all settled. I have taken it on my sho ulders. Poor fellow, cried Savinien but hope was coming back to his cowardly heart. When the elder brother is serving with the colors, the younger stays at home, Jean Francois went on. Im your substitute, that is all. You love me a little, do you not? I am paid. Do not be a baby. You cannot refuse. They would have caught me one of these days, for I have broken my leave.And then, you see, that life out there will not be so hard for me as for you I know it, and shall not complain if I do not pass on you this service in vain and if you swear to me that you will not do it again. Savinien, I have loved you dearly, and your friendship has made me very happy, for it is convey to my knowing you that I have kept honest and straight, as I might always have been, if I had had a father to put a tool in my hands, a mother to teach me my prayers. My only regret was that I was useless to you and that I was deceiving you about my past. To day I lay aside the mask in saving you.It is all right. C ome, now, bye Do not weep and embrace me, for I hear the big boots on the stairs. They are coming back with the police and we must not seem to know each other too well before these fellows. He hugged Savinien hurriedly to his breast, and then he pushed him away as the door opened wide. It was the man who kept the house and the man from Auvergne who were bringing the police. Jean Francois went out on the landing and held out his hands for the handcuffs and said, laughin Forward, bad lot To day he is at Cayenne, a prisoner for life, as incorrigible.