The Huron; or, Pupil of Nature/Chapter V
THE HURON IN LOVE.
It must be acknowledged, that from the time of this christening and this dinner, Miss St. Yves passionately wished that the bishop would again make her an assistant with Mr. Hercules in some other fine ceremony—that is, the marriage ceremony. However, as she was well brought up, and very modest, she did not entirely agree with herself in regard to these tender sentiments; but if a look, a word, a gesture, a thought, escaped from her, she concealed it admirably under the veil of modesty. She was tender, lively, and sagacious.
As soon as the bishop was gone, the Huron and Miss St. Yves met together, without thinking they were in search of one another. They spoke together, without premeditating what they said. The sincere youth immediately declared that he loved her with all his heart; and that the beauteous Abacaba, with whom he had been desperately in love in his own country, was far inferior to her. Miss replied, with her usual modesty, that the prior, her uncle, and the lady, her aunt, should be spoken to immediately; and that, on her side, she would say a few words to her dear brother, the abbé of St. Yves, and that she flattered herself it would meet with no opposition.
The youth replied that the consent of any one was entirely superfluous; that it appeared to him extremely ridiculous to go and ask others what they were to do; that when two parties were agreed, there was no occasion for a third, to accomplish their union.
"I never consult any one," said he, "when I have a mind to breakfast, to hunt, or to sleep. I am sensible that in love it is not amiss to have the consent of the person whom we wish for; but as I am neither in love with my uncle nor my aunt, I have no occasion to address myself to them in this affair; and if you will believe me, you may equally dispense with the advice of the abbé of St. Yves."
It may be supposed that the young lady exerted all the delicacy of her wit to bring her Huron to the terms of good breeding. She was very angry, but soon softened. In a word, it cannot be said how this conversation would have ended, if the declining day had not brought the abbé to conduct his sister home. The Huron left his uncle and aunt to rest, they being somewhat fatigued with the ceremony and long dinner. He passed part of the night in writing verses in the Huron language upon his well-beloved, for it should be known that there is no country where love has not rendered lovers poets.
The next day his uncle spoke to him in the following manner: "I am somewhat advanced in years. My brother has left only a little bit of ground, which is a very small matter. I have a good priory. If you will only make yourself a subdeacon, as I hope you will, I will resign my priory in your favor; and you will live quite at your ease, after having been the consolation of my old age."
The Huron replied:
"Uncle, much good may it do you; live as long as you can. I do not know what it is to be a subdeacon, or what it is to resign; but everything will be agreeable to me, provided I have Miss St. Yves at my disposal."
"Good heavens, nephew! what is it you say? Do you love that beautiful young lady so earnestly?"
"Alas! nephew, it is impossible you should ever marry her."
"It is very possible, uncle; for she did not only squeeze my hand when she left me, but she promised she would ask me in marriage. I certainly shall wed her."
"It is impossible, I tell you; she is your godmother. It is a dreadful sin for a godmother to give her hand to her godson. It is contrary to all laws, human and divine."
"Why the deuce, uncle, should it be forbidden to marry one's godmother, when she is young and handsome? I did not find in the book you gave me that it was wrong to marry young women who assisted at christenings. I perceive every day that an infinite number of things are done here which are not in your book, and nothing is done that is said in it. I must acknowledge to you that this astonishes and displeases me. If I am deprived of the charming Miss St. Yves on account of my baptism, I give you notice that I will run away with her and unbaptize myself."
The prior was confounded; his sister wept.
"My dear brother," said she, "our nephew must not damn himself; our holy father, the pope, can give him a dispensation, and then he may be happy, in a Christian-like manner, with the person he likes."
The ingenuous Hercules embraced his aunt.
"For goodness sake," said he, "who is this charming man, who is so gracious as to promote the amours of girls and boys? I will go and speak to him this instant."
The dignity and character of the pope was explained to him, and the Huron was still more astonished than before.
"My dear uncle," said he, "there is not a word of all this in your book; I have travelled, and am acquainted with the sea; we are now upon the coast of the ocean, and I must leave Miss St. Yves to go and ask leave to marry her of a man who lives toward the Mediterranean, four hundred leagues hence, and whose language I do not understand! This is most incomprehensibly ridiculous! But I will go first to the Abbé St. Yves, who lives only a league hence; and I promise you I will wed my mistress before night."
While he was yet speaking, the bailiff entered, and, according to his usual custom, asked him where he was going?
"I am going to get married," replied the ingenuous Hercules, running along; and in less than a quarter of an hour he was with his charming dear mistress, who was still asleep.
"Ah, my dear brother," said Miss Kerkabon to the prior, "you will never make a subdeacon of our nephew."
The bailiff was very much displeased at this journey, for he laid claim to Miss St. Yves in favor of his son, who was a still greater and more insupportable fool than his father.