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work?” “At sunset.” “Will you wake me, before departing? I have
walked two nights without resting. Let me finish my pipe, and I
shall sleep like a child. Will you wake me?” “Surely.” The
wayfarer smoked his pipe out, put it in his breast, slipped off his
great wooden shoes, and lay down on his back on the heap of
stones. He was fast asleep directly.

As the road-mender plied his dusty labour, and the hail-clouds,
rolling away, revealed bright bars and streaks of sky which were
responded to by silver gleams upon the landscape, the little man
(who wore a red cap now, in place of his blue one) seemed
fascinated by the figure on the heap of stones. His eyes were so
often turned towards it, that he used his tools mechanically, and,
one would have said, to very poor account. The bronze face, the
shaggy black hair and beard, the coarse woollen red cap, the rough
medley dress of home-spun stuff and hairy skins of beasts, the
powerful frame attenuated by spare living, and the sullen and
desperate compression of the lips in sleep, inspired the mender of
roads with awe. The traveller had travelled far, and his feet were
footsore, and his ankles chafed and bleeding; his great shoes,
stuffed with leaves and grass, had been heavy to drag over the
many long leagues, and his clothes were chafed into holes, as he
himself was into sores. Stooping down beside him, the road-
mender tried to get a peep at secret weapons in his breast or where
not; but, in vain, for he slept with his arms crossed upon him, and
set as resolutely as his lips. Fortified towns with their stockades,
guard-houses, gates, trenches, and drawbridges, seemed to the
mender of roads, to be so much air as against this figure. And
when he lifted his eyes from it to the horizon and looked around,
he saw in his small fancy similar figures, stopped by no obstacle,
tending to centres all over France.

The man slept on, indifferent to showers of hail and intervals of
brightness, to sunshine on his face and shadow, to the pattering
lumps of dull ice on his body and the diamonds into which the sun
changed them, until the sun was low in the west, and the sky was
glowing. Then, the mender of roads having got his tools together
and all things ready to go down into the village, roused him.
“Good!” said the sleeper, rising on his elbow. “Two leagues
beyond the summit of the hill?” “About.” “About. Good!” The
mender of roads went home, with the dust going on before him
according to the set of the wind, and was soon at the fountain,
squeezing himself in among the lean kine brought there to drink,
and appearing even to whisper to them in his whispering to all the
village. When the village had taken its poor supper, it did not
creep to bed, as it usually did, but came out of doors again, and
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