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To this distressful emblem of a great distress that had long been
growing worse, and was not at its worst, a woman was kneeling.
She turned her head as the carriage came up to her, rose quickly,
and presented herself at the carriagedoor.

“It is you, Monseigneur! Monseigneur, a petition.” With an
exclamation of impatience, but with his unchangeable face,
Monseigneur looked out.

“How, then! What is it? Always petitions!” “Monseigneur. For the
love of the great God! My husband, the forester.” “What of your
husband, the forester? Always the same with you people. He
cannot pay something?” “He has paid all, Monseigneur. He is
dead.” “Well! He is quiet. Can I restore him to you?” “Alas, no,
Monseigneur! But he lies yonder, under a little heap of poor grass.”
“Well?” “Monseigneur, there are so many little heaps of poor
grass?” “Again, well?” She looked an old woman, but was young.
Her manner was one of passionate grief; by turns she clasped her
veinous and knotted hands together with wild energy, and laid
one of them on the carriage-door-tenderly, caressingly, as if it had
been a human breast, and could be expected to feel the appealing

“Monseigneur, hear me! Monseigneur, hear my petition! My
husband died of want; so many die of want; so many more will die
of want.” “Again, well? Can I feed them?” “Monseigneur, the good
God knows; but I don’t ask it. My petition is, that a morsel of stone
or wood, with my husband’s name, may be placed over him to
show where he lies. Otherwise, the place will be quickly forgotten,
it will never be found when I am dead of the same malady, I shall
be laid under some other heap of poor grass. Monseigneur, they
are so many, they increase so fast, there is so much want.
Monseigneur! Monseigneur!” The valet had put her away from the
door, the carriage had broken into a brisk trot, the postilions had
quickened the pace, she was left far behind, and Monseigneur,
again escorted by the Furies, was rapidly diminishing the league or
two of distance that remained between him and his chateau.

The sweet scents of the summer night rose all around him, and
rose, as the rain falls, impartially, on the dusty, ragged, and toil-
worn group at the fountain not far away; to whom the mender of
roads, with the aid of the blue cap without which he was nothing,
still enlarged upon his man like a spectre, as long as they could
bear it. By degrees, as they could bear no more, they dropped off
one by one, and lights twinkled in little casements; which lights, as
the casements darkened, and more stars came out, seemed to have
shot up into the sky instead of having been extinguished.
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