Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/472

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456
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mont "Liberal" an editorial in which Jacques was compared to Arnold Winkelried and to Charles Martel and to St. Austremoine, the first hero of Issoire. The effect was tremendous. Every word from Clermont in praise of Jacques was, as the mayor said, "one more nail in his coffin."

The election-day came at last — as such days always come. It was a bright Sabbath afternoon in early August, for in France elections are always held on Sunday afternoons. The birds sang in the poplar-trees, the wheat-fields looked yellow through the city gates, the Café du Lion d'Or was covered with flags and with red ribbons in honor of Jacques, while the Café de la Comédie was similarly draped in blue in honor of his rival. The people were out in their best clothes and Issoire-made boots, and the candidates were among them — all smiles and attention, though I thought that a slightly misanthropic expression lurked about the big workman's mouth.

The bands played, and rival processions moved about in the street. The longest of these carried banners inscribed "Vive l’Octroi!" "A bas Clermont!" "Le Surplus toujours!" "De Rougeâtre forever!" Everybody seemed falling into line, and so I followed, keeping step with the music.

All at once I heard a fearful, blood-curdling scream. The procession swiftly dissolved, the music ceased, the banners vanished. I rubbed my eyes and looked about me. I was sitting on an inverted nail-keg at the Clermont gate just outside the city of Issoire. The old gendarme who guarded the gate was slowly drawing a dripping sword out of a large bundle of oats, in which he had thrust it while performing his duty as inspector. Within the oats was great excitement. The contraband hog concealed inside was lustily kicking and filling the air with his frantic screams.

And thus I knew that the city had been saved, for the octroi was still going on.

And it is going on yet.


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THE HOME OF THE GREAT AUK.

By FREDERIC A. LUCAS.

THE fate of the great auk in its New World home is well known; how it was slaughtered for its flesh, slaughtered for its feathers, slaughtered for the mere wanton love of destruction, until after nearly three centuries of persecution the last great auk disappeared from the face of the earth. All this has been described, so that the bird and its history are fairly well known.

Less, however, has been written of its chosen breeding-grounds, as these were usually outlying islands of difficult access, but little frequented now by those who have either time or desire to devote