Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo
First Part-Sieur Clubin
Book IV. The Bagpipe.
III. The Air "Bonnie Dundee" Finds an Echo on the Hill.
IT was in a spot behind the enclosure of the garden of the Bravees, at an angle of the wall, half concealed with holly and ivy, and covered with nettles, wild mallow, and large white mullen growing between the blocks of stone, that he passed the greater part of that summer. He watched there, lost in deep thought. The lizards grew accustomed to his presence, and basked in the sun among the same stones. The summer was bright and full of dreamy indolence: overhead the light clouds came and went. Gilliatt sat upon the grass. The air was full of the songs of birds. He held his two hands up to his forehead, sometimes trying to recollect himself: "Why should she write my name in the snow?" From a distance the sea breeze, came up in gentle breaths; at intervals the horn of the quarrymen sounded abruptly warning the passers-by to take shelter, as they shattered some mass with gunpowder. The Port of St. Sampson was not visible from this place, but he could see the tips of masts above the trees. The seagulls flew wide and far. Gilliatt had heard his mother say that women could love men; that such things happened sometimes. He remembered it, and said within himself, "Who knows, may not Deruchette love me?" Then a feeling of sadness would come upon him; he would say, "She, too, thinks of me in her turn. It is well." He remembered that Deruchette was rich, and that he was poor; and then the new boat appeared to him an execrable invention. He could never remember what day of the month it was. He would stare listlessly at the great bees, with their yellow bodies and their short wings, as they entered with a buzzing noise into the holes in the wall.
One evening Deruchette went indoors to retire to bed. She approached her window to close it. The night was dark. Suddenly something caught her ear, and she listened. Somewhere in the darkness there was a sound of music. It was some one, perhaps, on the hillside, or at the foot of the towers of Vale Castle, or perhaps, farther still, playing an air upon some instrument. Deruchette recognised her favourite melody, "Bonnie Dundee," played upon the bagpipe. She thought little of it.
From that night the music might be heard again from time to time at the same hours, particularly when the nights were very dark.
Deruchette was not much pleased with all this.