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fountain, one of its wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there
was a loud cry from a number of voices, and the horses reared and
But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not
have stopped; carriages were often known to drive on, and leave
their wounded behind, and why not? But the frightened valet had
got down in a hurry, and there were twenty hands at the horses’
“What has gone wrong?” said Monsieur, calmly looking out.
A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the
feet of the horses, and had laid it on the basement of the fountain,
and was down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild
“Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!” said a ragged and submissive
man, “it is a child.” “Why does he make that abominable noise? Is
it his child?” “Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis-it is a pity-yes.”
The fountain was a little removed; for the street opened, where it
was, into a space some ten or twelve yards square. As the tall man
suddenly got up from the ground, and came running at the
carriage, Monsieur the Marquis clapped his hand for an instant on
“Killed!” shrieked the man, in wild desperation, extending both
arms at their length above his head, and staring at him. “Dead!”
The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis.
There was nothing revealed by the many eyes that looked at him
but watchfulness and eagerness; there was no visible menacing or
anger. Neither did the people say anything; after the first cry, they
had been silent, and they remained so. The voice of the submissive
man who had spoken, was flat and tame in its extreme submission.
Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had
been mere rats come out of their holes.
He took out his purse.
“It is extraordinary to me,” said he, “that you people cannot take
care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is for
ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my
horses. See! Give him that.” He threw out a gold coin for the valet
to pick up, and all the heads craned forward that all the eyes might
look down at it as it fell. The tall man called out again with a most
unearthly cry, “Dead!” He was arrested by the quick arrival of
another man, for whom the rest made way. On seeing him, the
miserable creature fell upon his shoulder, sobbing and crying, and
pointing to the fountain, where some women were stooping over
the motionless bundle, and moving gently about it. They were as
silent, however, as the men.