Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
his head hanging down; then recovered himself, fumbled with his
cap, and made a bow.
“What was he like?” “Monseigneur, he was whiter than the miller.
All covered with dust, white as a spectre, tall as a spectre!”
The picture produced an immense sensation in the little crowd; but
all eyes, without comparing notes with other eyes, looked at
Monsieur the Marquis. Perhaps, to observe whether he had any
spectre on his conscience.
“Truly, you did well,” said the Marquis, felicitously sensible that
such vermin were not to ruffle him, “to see a thief accompanying
my carriage, and not open that great mouth of yours. Bah! Put him
aside, Monsieur Gabelle!” Monsieur Gabelle was the Postmaster,
and some other taxing functionary united; he had come out with
great obsequiousness to assist at this examination, and had held the
examined by the drapery of his arm in an official manner.
“Bah! Go aside!” said Monsieur Gabelle.
“Lay hands on this stranger if he seeks to lodge in your village to-
night, and be sure that his business is honest, Gabelle.”
“Monseigneur, I am flattered to devote myself to your orders.”
“Did he run away, fellow?- where is that Accursed?” The accursed
was already under the carriage with some half-dozen particular
friends, pointing out the chain with his blue cap. Some half-dozen
other particular friends promptly hauled him out, and presented
him breathless to Monsieur the Marquis.
“Did the man run away, Dolt, when we stopped for the drag?”
“Monseigneur, he precipitated himself over the hill-side, head first,
as a person plunges into the river.” “See to it, Gabelle. Go on!” The
half-dozen who were peering at the chain were still among the
wheels, like sheep; the wheels turned so suddenly that they were
lucky to save their skins and bones; they had very little else to save,
or they might not have been so fortunate.
The burst with which the carriage started out of the village and up
the rise beyond, was soon checked by the steepness of the hill.
Gradually, it subsided to a foot pace, swinging and lumbering
upward among the many sweet scents of a summer night. The
postilions, with a thousand gossamer gnats circling about them in
lieu of the Furies, quietly mended the points to the lashes of their
whips; the valet walked by the horses; the courier was audible,
trotting on ahead into the dim distance.
At the steepest point of the hill there was a little burial-ground,
with a Cross and a new large figure of Our Saviour on it; it was a
poor figure in wood, done by some inexperienced rustic carver, but
he had studied the figure from the life-his own life, maybe-for it
was dreadfully spare and thin.