By Robert Louis Stevenson
I. around the Plains II. The previous Pacific Capital III. Fontainebleau IV. Epilogue to ''An Inland Voyage'' V. Random stories VI. Random stories endured VII. The Lantern-bearers VIII. A bankruptcy on goals IX. Beggars X. Letter to a tender Gentleman XI. Pulvis et Umbra XII. A Christmas Sermon
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Thither was our unfortunate conducted, and there he was bidden to empty forth the contents of his pockets. A handkerchief, a pen, a pencil, a pipe and tobacco, matches, and some ten francs of change: that was all. Not a file, not a cipher, not a scrap of writing whether to identify or to condemn. The very gendarme was appalled before such destitution. " And he promised him every indulgence. The Arethusa, thus encouraged, asked for his pipe. That he was told was impossible, but if he chewed, he might have some tobacco.
It boasts a mill, an ancient church, a castle, and a bridge of many sterlings. And the bridge is a piece of public property; anonymously famous; beaming on the incurious dilettante from the walls of a hundred exhibitions. I have seen it in the Salon; I have seen it in the Academy; I have seen it in the last French Exposition, excellently done by Bloomer; in a black-and-white by Mr. A. Henley, it once adorned this essay in the pages of the MAGAZINE OF ART. Long-suffering bridge! And if you visit Gretz to-morrow, you shall find another generation, camped at the bottom of Chevillon's garden under their white umbrellas, and doggedly painting it again.
They, indeed, recall the ancient wooden stair; they recall the rainy evening, the wide hearth, the blaze of the twig fire, and the company that gathered round the pillar in the kitchen. But the material fabric is now dust; soon, with the last of its Page 40 Across The Plains - Robert Louis Stevenson inhabitants, its very memory shall follow; and they, in their turn, shall suffer the same law, and, both in name and lineament, vanish from the world of men. "For remembrance of the old house' sake," as Pepys once quaintly put it, let me tell one story.
Across The Plains 1844 by Robert Louis Stevenson