It was here then that a council was held on the day before the wedding MBT shoes uk . Mathieu and Marianne repaired thither to see what preparations would be necessary, and they found Charlotte with a sketch-book on her knees, rapidly finishing an impression of the oak tree.
"What is that--a surprise?" they asked.
She smiled with some confusion. "Yes, yes, a surprise; you will see."
Then she confessed that for a fortnight past she had been designing in water colors a series of menu cards for the wedding feast. And, prettily and lovingly enough MBT Sandals , her idea had been to depict children's games and children's heads; indeed, all the members of the family in their childish days. She had taken their likenesses from old photographs, and her sketch of the oak tree was to serve as a background for the portraits of the two youngest scions of the house--little Benjamin and little Guillaume.
Mathieu and Marianne were delighted with that fleet procession of little faces all white and pink which they perfectly recognized as they saw them pass before their eyes. There were the twins nestling in their cradle, locked in one another's arms; there was Rose, the dear lost one, in her little shift; there were Ambroise and Gervais, bare, and wrestling on a patch of grass; there were Gregoire and Nicolas birdnesting; there were Claire and the three other girls, Louise, Madeleine, and Marguerite, romping about the farm, quarrelling with the fowls, springing upon the horses' backs. But what particularly touched Marianne was the sketch of her last-born, little Benjamin, now nine months old MBT shoes London , whom Charlotte had depicted reclining under the oak tree in the same little carriage as her own son Guillaume, who was virtually of the same age, having been born but eight days later.
"The uncle and the nephew," said Mathieu jestingly. "All the same, the uncle is the elder by a week."
As Marianne stood there smiling, soft tears came into her eyes, and the sketch shook in her happy hands.
"The dears!" said she; "my son and grandson. With those dear little ones I am once again a mother and a grandmother. Ah, yes! those two are the supreme consolation; they have helped to heal the wound; it is they who have brought us back hope and courage MBT shoes on sale ."
This was true. How overwhelming had been the mourning and sadness of the early days when Charlotte, fleeing the factory, had sought refuge at the farm! The tragedy by which Blaise had been carried off had nearly killed her. Her first solace was to see that her daughter Berthe, who had been rather sickly in Paris, regained bright rosy cheeks amid the open air of Chantebled. Moreover, she had settled her life: she would spend her remaining years, in that hospitable house, devoting herself to her two children, and happy in having so affectionate a grandmother and grandfather to help and sustain her. She had always shown herself to be somewhat apart from life, possessed of a dreamy nature cheap MBT shoes , only asking to love and to be loved in return.
So by degrees she settled down once more, installed beside her grandparents in the old pavilion, which Mathieu fitted up for the three of them. And wishing to occupy herself, irrespective of her income from the factory, she even set to work again and painted miniatures, which a dealer in Paris readily purchased. But her grief was mostly healed by her little Guillaume, that child bequeathed to her by her dead husband, in whom he resuscitated. And it was much the same with Marianne since the birth of Benjamin. A new son had replaced the one she had lost, and helped to fill the void in her heart. The two women, the two mothers, found infinite solace in nursing those babes. For them they forgot themselves; they reared them together, watching them grow side by side; they gave them the breast at the same hours MBT trainers , and it was their desire to see them both become very strong, very handsome, and very good. Although one mother was almost twice as old as the other, they became, as it were, sisters. The same nourishing milk flowed from both their fruitful bosoms. And gleams of light penetrated their mourning: they began to laugh when they saw those little cherubs laugh, and nothing could have been gayer than the sight of that mother-in-law and that daughter-in-law side by side, almost mingling, having but one cradle between them, amid an unceasing florescence of maternity.
"Be careful," Mathieu suddenly said to Charlotte; "hide your drawings, here are Gervais and Claire coming about the table."
Gervais at nineteen years of age was quite a colossus, the tallest and the strongest of the family, with short, curly black hair, large bright eyes, and a full broad-featured face mbt outlet . He had remained his father's favorite son, the son of the fertile earth, the one in whom Mathieu fostered a love for the estate, a passion for skilful agriculture, in order that later on the young man might continue the good work which had been begun. Mathieu already disburdened himself on Gervais of a part of his duties, and was only waiting to see him married to give him the control of the whole farm. And he often thought of adjoining to him Claire when she found a husband in some worthy, sturdy fellow who would assume part of the labor. Two men agreeing well would be none too many for an enterprise which was increasing in importance every day. Since Marianne had again been nursing, Claire had been attending to her work. Though she had no beauty, she was of vigorous health and quite strong for her seventeen years. She busied herself more particularly with cookery and household affairs, but she also kept the accounts, being shrewd-witted and very economically inclined, on which account the prodigals of the family often made fun of her MBT shoes sale .
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