Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
according to solemn inscription in the little village, until the
wonder was, that there was any village left unswallowed.
Few children were to be seen, and no dogs. As to the men and
women, their choice on earth was stated in the prospect-Life on
the lowest terms that could sustain it, down in the little village
under the ill; or captivity and Death in the dominant prison on the
Heralded by a courier in advance, and by the cracking of his
postilions’ whips, which twined snake-like about their heads in the
evening air, as if he came attended by the Furies, Monsieur the
Marquis drew up in his travelling carriage at the posting-house
gate. It was hard by the fountain, and the peasants suspended their
operations to look at him. He looked at them, and saw in them,
without knowing it, the slow sure filing down of misery-worn face
and figure, that was to make the meagreness of Frenchmen an
English superstition which should survive the truth through the
best part of a hundred years.
Monsieur the Marquis cast his eyes over the submissive faces that
drooped before him, as the like of himself had drooped before
Monseigneur of the Courtonly the difference was, that these faces
drooped merely to suffer and not to propitiate-when a grizzled
mender of the roads joined the group.
“Bring me hither that fellow!” said the Marquis to the courier.
The fellow was brought, cap in hand, and the other fellows closed
round to look and listen, in the manner of the people at the Paris
“I passed you on the road?” “Monseigneur, it is true. I had the
honour of being passed on the road.” “Coming up the hill, and at
the top of the hill, both? “Monseigneur, it is true.” “What did you
look at, so fixedly?”
“Monseigneur, I looked at the man.” He stooped a little, and with
his tattered blue cap pointed under the carriage.
All his fellows stooped to look under the carriage.
“What man, pig? And why look there?” “Pardon, Monseigneur; he
swung by the chain of the shoe-the drag.” “Who?” demanded the
“Monseigneur, the man.” “May the Devil carry away these idiots!
How do you call the man? You know all the men of this part of the
country. Who was he?” “Your clemency, Monseigneur! He was not
of this part of the country. Of all the days of my life, I never saw
him.” “Swinging by the chain? To be suffocated?” “With your
gracious permission, that was the wonder of it, Monseigneur. His
head hanging over-like this!” He turned himself sideways to the
carriage, and leaned back, with his face thrown up to the sky, and