THE GOLDEN THREAD
'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!
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
The shadow of a large high-roofed house, and of
many overhanging trees, was upon Monsieur the
Marquis by that time; and the shadow was exchanged