en-es  A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT - II
A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1877) Partie II Two things preoccupied him as he went: the aspect of the gallows at Montfaucon in this bright, windy phase of the night's existence, for one; and for another, the look of the dead man with his bald head and garland of red curls.

Both struck cold upon his heart, and he kept quickening his pace as if he could escape from unpleasant thoughts by mere fleetness of foot.

Sometimes he looked back over his shoulder with a sudden nervous jerk; but he was the only moving thing in the white streets, except when the wind swooped round a corner and threw up the snow, which was beginning to freeze, in spouts of glittering dust.


Suddenly he saw, a long way before him, a black clump and a couple of lanterns.

The clump was in motion, and the lanterns swung as though carried by men walking.

It was a patrol.

And though it was merely crossing his line of march he judged it wiser to get out of eyeshot as speedily as he could.

He was not in the humour to be challenged, and he was conscious of making a very conspicuous mark upon the snow.

Just on his left hand there stood a great hotel, with some turrets and a large porch before the door; it was half ruinous, he remembered, and had long stood empty; and so he made three steps of it, and jumped into the shelter of the porch.

It was pretty dark inside, after the glimmer of the snowy streets, and he was groping forward with outspread hands, when he stumbled over some substance which offered an indescribable mixture of resistances, hard and soft, firm and loose.

His heart gave a leap, and he sprang two steps back and stared dreadfully at the obstacle.

Then he gave a little laugh of relief.

It was only a woman, and she dead.

He knelt beside her to make sure upon this latter point.

She was freezing cold, and rigid like a stick.

A little ragged finery fluttered in the wind about her hair, and her cheeks had been heavily rouged that same afternoon.

Her pockets were quite empty; but in her stocking, underneath the garter, Villon found two of the small coins that went by the name of whites.

It was little enough, but it was always something; and the poet was moved with a deep sense of pathos that she should have died before she had spent her money.

That seemed to him a dark and pitiable mystery; and he looked from the coins in his hand to the dead woman, and back again to the coins, shaking his head over the riddle of man's life.

Henry V of England, dying at Vincennes just after he had conquered France, and this poor jade cut off by a cold draught in a great man's doorway before she had time to spend her couple of whites—it seemed a cruel way to carry on the world.

Two whites would have taken such a little while to squander; and yet it would have been one more good taste in the mouth, one more smack of the lips, before the devil got the soul, and the body was left to birds and vermin.

He would like to use all his tallow before the light was blown out and the lantern broken.


While these thoughts were passing through his mind, he was feeling, half mechanically, for his purse.

Suddenly his heart stopped beating; a feeling of cold scales passed up the back of his legs, and a cold blow seemed to fall upon his scalp.

He stood petrified for a moment; then he felt again with one feverish movement; then his loss burst upon him, and he was covered at once with perspiration.

To spendthrifts money is so living and actual—it is such a thin veil between them and their pleasures!

There is only one limit to their fortune—that of time; and a spendthrift with only a few crowns is the Emperor of Rome until they are spent.

For such a person to lose his money is to suffer the most shocking reverse, and fall from heaven to hell, from all to nothing, in a breath.

And all the more if he has put his head in the halter for it; if he may be hanged to-morrow for that same purse, so dearly earned, so foolishly departed!

Villon stood and cursed; he threw the two whites into the street; he shook his fist at heaven; he stamped, and was not horrified to find himself trampling the poor corpse.

Then he began rapidly to retrace his steps toward the house beside the cemetery.

He had forgotten all fear of the patrol, which was long gone by at any rate, and had no idea but that of his lost purse.

It was in vain that he looked right and left upon the snow; nothing was to be seen.

He had not dropped it in the streets.

Had it fallen in the house?

He would have liked dearly to go in and see; but the idea of the grisly occupant unmanned him.

And he saw besides, as he drew near, that their efforts to put out the fire had been unsuccessful; on the contrary, it had broken into a blaze, and a changeful light played in the chinks of door and window, and revived his terror for the authorities and Paris gibbet.


He returned to the hotel with the porch, and groped about upon the snow for the money he had thrown away in his childish passion.

But he could only find one white; the other had probably struck sideways and sunk deeply in.

With a single white in his pocket, all his projects for a rousing night in some wild tavern vanished utterly away.

And it was not only pleasure that fled laughing from his grasp; positive discomfort, positive pain, attacked him as he stood ruefully before the porch.

His perspiration had dried upon him; and although the wind had now fallen, a binding frost was setting in stronger with every hour, and he felt benumbed and sick at heart.

What was to be done?

Late as was the hour, improbable as was his success, he would try the house of his adopted father, the chaplain of St Benoit.


He ran all the way, and knocked timidly.

There was no answer.

He knocked again and again, taking heart with every stroke; and at last steps were heard approaching from within.

A barred wicket fell open in the iron-studded door, and emitted a gush of yellow light.


"Hold up your face to the wicket," said the chaplain from within.


"It's only me," whimpered Villon.


"Oh, it's only you, is it?" returned the chaplain; and he cursed him with foul, unpriestly oaths for disturbing him at such an hour, and bade him be off to hell, where he came from.


"My hands are blue to the wrist," pleaded Villon; "my feet are dead and full of twinges; my nose aches with the sharp air; the cold lies at my heart.

I may be dead before morning. Only this once, father, and, before God, I will never ask again!».

"You should have come earlier," said the ecclesiastic, coolly.

"Young men require a lesson now and then. " He shut the wicket and retired deliberately into the interior of the house.


Villon was beside himself; he beat upon the door with his hands and feet, and shouted hoarsely after the chaplain.


"Wormy old fox!" he cried.

"If I had my hand under your twist, I would send you flying headlong into the bottomless pit.».


A door shut in the interior, faintly audible to the poet down long passages.

He passed his hand over his mouth with an oath.

And then the humour of the situation struck him, and he laughed and looked lightly up to heaven, where the stars seemed to be winking over his discomfiture.


What was to be done?

It looked very like a night in the frosty streets.

The idea of the dead woman popped into his imagination, and gave him a hearty fright; what had happened to her in the early night might very well happen to him before morning.

And he so young!

And with such immense possibilities of disorderly amusement before him!

He felt quite pathetic over the notion of his own fate, as if it had been some one else's, and made a little imaginative vignette of the scene in the morning when they should find his body.


He passed all his chances under review, turning the white between his thumb and forefinger.

Unfortunately he was on bad terms with some old friends who would once have taken pity on him in such a plight.

He had lampooned them in verses; he had beaten and cheated them; and yet now, when he was in so close a pinch, he thought there was at least one who might perhaps relent. It was a chance. It was worth trying at least, and he would go and see.


On the way, two little accidents happened to him which coloured his musings in a very different manner.

For, first, he fell in with the track of a patrol, and walked in it for some hundred yards, although it lay out of his direction.

And this spirited him up; at least he had confused his trail; for he was still possessed with the idea of people tracking him all about Paris over the snow, and collaring him next morning before he was awake.

The other matter affected him quite differently.

He passed a street-corner where, not so long before, a woman and her child had been devoured by wolves.

This was just the kind of weather, he reflected, when wolves might take it into their heads to enter Paris again; and a lone man in these deserted streets would run the chance of something worse than a mere scare.

He stopped and looked upon the place with an unpleasant interest—it was a centre where several lanes intersected each other; and he looked down them all, one after another, and held his breath to listen, lest he should detect some galloping black things on the snow or hear the sound of howling between him and the river.

He remembered his mother telling him the story and pointing out the spot, while he was yet a child.

His mother!

If he only knew where she lived, he might make sure at least of shelter.

He determined he would inquire upon the morrow; nay, he would go and see her, too, poor old girl!

So thinking, he arrived at his destination—his last hope for the night.


The house was quite dark, like its neighbours; and yet after a few taps he heard a movement overhead, a door opening, and a cautious voice asking who was there.

The poet named himself in a loud whisper, and waited, not without some trepidation, the result.

Nor had he to wait long.

A window was suddenly opened, and a pailful of slops splashed down upon the door-step.

Villon had not been unprepared for something of the sort, and had put himself as much in shelter as the nature of the porch admitted; but for all that he was deplorably drenched below the waist.

His hose began to freeze almost at once.

Death from cold and exposure stared him in the face; he remembered he was of phthisical tendency, and began coughing tentatively.

But the gravity of the danger steadied his nerves.

He stopped a few hundred yards from the door where he had been so rudely used, and reflected with his finger to his nose.

He could only see one way of getting a lodging, and that was to take it.

He had noticed a house not far away, which looked as if it might be easily broken into.

And thither he betook himself promptly, entertaining himself on the way with the idea of a room still hot, with a table still loaded with the remains of supper, where he might pass the rest of the black hours, and whence he should issue, on the morrow, with an armful of valuable plate.

He even considered on what viands and what wines he should prefer; and as he was calling the roll of his favourite dainties, roast fish presented itself to his mind with an odd mixture of amusement and horror.


"I shall never finish that ballade," he thought to himself; and then, with another shudder at the recollection, "Oh, damn his fat head!" he repeated, fervently, and spat upon the snow.


The house in question looked dark at first sight; but as Villon made a preliminary inspection in search of the handiest point of attack, a little twinkle of light caught his eye from behind a curtained window.


"The devil!" he thought.

"People awake!

Some student or some saint, confound the crew!

Can't they get drunk and lie in bed snoring like their neighbours?

What's the good of curfew, and poor devils of bell-ringers jumping at a rope's end in bell-towers?

What's the use of day, if people sit up all night?

The gripes to them!».

He grinned as he saw where his logic was leading him.

"Every man to his business, after all," added he, "and if they're awake, by the Lord, I may come by a supper honestly for once, and cheat the devil.».


He went boldly to the door and knocked with an assured hand.

On both previous occasions he had knocked timidly and with some dread of attracting notice; but now when he had just discarded the thought of a burglarious entry, knocking at a door seemed a mighty simple and innocent proceeding.

The sound of his blows echoed through the house with thin, phantasmal reverberations, as though it were quite empty; but these had scarcely died away before a measured tread drew near, a couple of bolts were withdrawn, and one wing was opened broadly, as though no guile or fear of guile were known to those within.

A tall figure of a man, muscular and spare, but a little bent, confronted Villon.

The head was massive in bulk, but finely sculptured; the nose blunt at the bottom, but refining upward to where it joined a pair of strong and honest eyebrows.

The mouth and eyes surrounded with delicate markings; and the whole face based upon a thick white beard, boldly and squarely trimmed.

Seen as it was by the light of a flickering hand-lamp, it looked perhaps nobler than it had a right to do; but it was a fine face, honourable rather than intelligent, strong, simple, and righteous.


"You knock late, sir," said the old man, in resonant, courteous tones.


Villon cringed, and brought up many servile words of apology; at a crisis of this sort, the beggar was uppermost in him, and the man of genius hid his head with confusion.


"You are cold," repeated the old man, « and hungry?

Well, step in».

And he ordered him into the house with a noble enough gesture.

"Some great seigneur," thought Villon, as his host, setting down the lamp on the flagged pavement of the entry, shot the bolts once more into their places.


"You will pardon me if I go in front," he said, when this was done; and he preceded the poet upstairs into a large apartment, warmed with a pan of charcoal and lit by a great lamp hanging from the roof.

It was very bare of furniture; only some gold plate on a sideboard, some folios, and a stand of armour between the windows.

Some smart tapestry hung upon the walls, representing the crucifixion of our Lord in one piece, and in another a scene of shepherds and shepherdesses by a running stream.

Over the chimney was a shield of arms.


"Will you seat yourself," said the old man, "and forgive me if I leave you?

I am alone in my house to-night, and if you are to eat I must forage for you myself».


No sooner was his host gone than Villon leaped from the chair on which he had just seated himself, and began examining the room with the stealth and passion of a cat.

He weighed the gold flagons in his hand, opened all the folios, and investigated the arms upon the shield, and the stuff with which the seats were lined.

He raised the window curtains, and saw that the windows were set with rich stained glass in figures, so far as he could see, of martial import.

Then he stood in the middle of the room, drew a long breath, and retaining it with puffed cheeks, looked round and round him, turning on his heels, as if to impress every feature of the apartment on his memory.


"Seven pieces of plate," he said.

"If there had been ten, I would have risked it.

A fine house, and a fine old master, so help me all the saints!».

And just then, hearing the old man's tread returning along the corridor, he stole back to his chair, and began humbly toasting his wet legs before the charcoal pan.
unit 6
It was a patrol.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 12
Then he gave a little laugh of relief.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 13
It was only a woman, and she dead.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 14
He knelt beside her to make sure upon this latter point.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 15
She was freezing cold, and rigid like a stick.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 34
He had not dropped it in the streets.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 35
Had it fallen in the house?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 43
What was to be done?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 45
He ran all the way, and knocked timidly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 46
There was no answer.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 49
"Hold up your face to the wicket," said the chaplain from within.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 50
"It's only me," whimpered Villon.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 51
"Oh, it's only you, is it?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 54
I may be dead before morning.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 55
Only this once, father, and, before God, I will never ask again!».
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 56
"You should have come earlier," said the ecclesiastic, coolly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 57
"Young men require a lesson now and then. "
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 58
unit 60
"Wormy old fox!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 61
he cried.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 63
unit 64
He passed his hand over his mouth with an oath.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 66
What was to be done?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 67
It looked very like a night in the frosty streets.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 69
And he so young!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 70
And with such immense possibilities of disorderly amusement before him!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 75
It was a chance.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 76
It was worth trying at least, and he would go and see.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 80
The other matter affected him quite differently.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 85
His mother!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 86
If he only knew where she lived, he might make sure at least of shelter.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 88
unit 91
Nor had he to wait long.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 94
His hose began to freeze almost at once.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 96
But the gravity of the danger steadied his nerves.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 98
He could only see one way of getting a lodging, and that was to take it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 103
he repeated, fervently, and spat upon the snow.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 105
"The devil!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 106
he thought.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 107
"People awake!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 108
Some student or some saint, confound the crew!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 109
Can't they get drunk and lie in bed snoring like their neighbours?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 111
What's the use of day, if people sit up all night?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 112
The gripes to them!».
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 113
He grinned as he saw where his logic was leading him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 115
He went boldly to the door and knocked with an assured hand.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 122
"You knock late, sir," said the old man, in resonant, courteous tones.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 124
"You are cold," repeated the old man, « and hungry?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 125
Well, step in».
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 126
And he ordered him into the house with a noble enough gesture.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 131
Over the chimney was a shield of arms.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 132
unit 138
"Seven pieces of plate," he said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 139
"If there had been ten, I would have risked it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 140
A fine house, and a fine old master, so help me all the saints!».
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None

A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT
BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1877) Partie II

Two things preoccupied him as he went: the aspect of the gallows at Montfaucon in this bright, windy phase of the night's existence, for one; and for another, the look of the dead man with his bald head and garland of red curls.

Both struck cold upon his heart, and he kept quickening his pace as if he could escape from unpleasant thoughts by mere fleetness of foot.

Sometimes he looked back over his shoulder with a sudden nervous jerk; but he was the only moving thing in the white streets, except when the wind swooped round a corner and threw up the snow, which was beginning to freeze, in spouts of glittering dust.

Suddenly he saw, a long way before him, a black clump and a couple of lanterns.

The clump was in motion, and the lanterns swung as though carried by men walking.

It was a patrol.

And though it was merely crossing his line of march he judged it wiser to get out of eyeshot as speedily as he could.

He was not in the humour to be challenged, and he was conscious of making a very conspicuous mark upon the snow.

Just on his left hand there stood a great hotel, with some turrets and a large porch before the door; it was half ruinous, he remembered, and had long stood empty; and so he made three steps of it, and jumped into the shelter of the porch.

It was pretty dark inside, after the glimmer of the snowy streets, and he was groping forward with outspread hands, when he stumbled over some substance which offered an indescribable mixture of resistances, hard and soft, firm and loose.

His heart gave a leap, and he sprang two steps back and stared dreadfully at the obstacle.

Then he gave a little laugh of relief.

It was only a woman, and she dead.

He knelt beside her to make sure upon this latter point.

She was freezing cold, and rigid like a stick.

A little ragged finery fluttered in the wind about her hair, and her cheeks had been heavily rouged that same afternoon.

Her pockets were quite empty; but in her stocking, underneath the garter, Villon found two of the small coins that went by the name of whites.

It was little enough, but it was always something; and the poet was moved with a deep sense of pathos that she should have died before she had spent her money.

That seemed to him a dark and pitiable mystery; and he looked from the coins in his hand to the dead woman, and back again to the coins, shaking his head over the riddle of man's life.

Henry V of England, dying at Vincennes just after he had conquered France, and this poor jade cut off by a cold draught in a great man's doorway before she had time to spend her couple of whites—it seemed a cruel way to carry on the world.

Two whites would have taken such a little while to squander; and yet it would have been one more good taste in the mouth, one more smack of the lips, before the devil got the soul, and the body was left to birds and vermin.

He would like to use all his tallow before the light was blown out and the lantern broken.

While these thoughts were passing through his mind, he was feeling, half mechanically, for his purse.

Suddenly his heart stopped beating; a feeling of cold scales passed up the back of his legs, and a cold blow seemed to fall upon his scalp.

He stood petrified for a moment; then he felt again with one feverish movement; then his loss burst upon him, and he was covered at once with perspiration.

To spendthrifts money is so living and actual—it is such a thin veil between them and their pleasures!

There is only one limit to their fortune—that of time; and a spendthrift with only a few crowns is the Emperor of Rome until they are spent.

For such a person to lose his money is to suffer the most shocking reverse, and fall from heaven to hell, from all to nothing, in a breath.

And all the more if he has put his head in the halter for it; if he may be hanged to-morrow for that same purse, so dearly earned, so foolishly departed!

Villon stood and cursed; he threw the two whites into the street; he shook his fist at heaven; he stamped, and was not horrified to find himself trampling the poor corpse.

Then he began rapidly to retrace his steps toward the house beside the cemetery.

He had forgotten all fear of the patrol, which was long gone by at any rate, and had no idea but that of his lost purse.

It was in vain that he looked right and left upon the snow; nothing was to be seen.

He had not dropped it in the streets.

Had it fallen in the house?

He would have liked dearly to go in and see; but the idea of the grisly occupant unmanned him.

And he saw besides, as he drew near, that their efforts to put out the fire had been unsuccessful; on the contrary, it had broken into a blaze, and a changeful light played in the chinks of door and window, and revived his terror for the authorities and Paris gibbet.

He returned to the hotel with the porch, and groped about upon the snow for the money he had thrown away in his childish passion.

But he could only find one white; the other had probably struck sideways and sunk deeply in.

With a single white in his pocket, all his projects for a rousing night in some wild tavern vanished utterly away.

And it was not only pleasure that fled laughing from his grasp; positive discomfort, positive pain, attacked him as he stood ruefully before the porch.

His perspiration had dried upon him; and although the wind had now fallen, a binding frost was setting in stronger with every hour, and he felt benumbed and sick at heart.

What was to be done?

Late as was the hour, improbable as was his success, he would try the house of his adopted father, the chaplain of St Benoit.

He ran all the way, and knocked timidly.

There was no answer.

He knocked again and again, taking heart with every stroke; and at last steps were heard approaching from within.

A barred wicket fell open in the iron-studded door, and emitted a gush of yellow light.

"Hold up your face to the wicket," said the chaplain from within.

"It's only me," whimpered Villon.

"Oh, it's only you, is it?" returned the chaplain; and he cursed him with foul, unpriestly oaths for disturbing him at such an hour, and bade him be off to hell, where he came from.

"My hands are blue to the wrist," pleaded Villon; "my feet are dead and full of twinges; my nose aches with the sharp air; the cold lies at my heart.

I may be dead before morning. Only this once, father, and, before God, I will never ask again!».

"You should have come earlier," said the ecclesiastic, coolly.

"Young men require a lesson now and then.

" He shut the wicket and retired deliberately into the interior of the house.

Villon was beside himself; he beat upon the door with his hands and feet, and shouted hoarsely after the chaplain.

"Wormy old fox!" he cried.

"If I had my hand under your twist, I would send you flying headlong into the bottomless pit.».

A door shut in the interior, faintly audible to the poet down long passages.

He passed his hand over his mouth with an oath.

And then the humour of the situation struck him, and he laughed and looked lightly up to heaven, where the stars seemed to be winking over his discomfiture.

What was to be done?

It looked very like a night in the frosty streets.

The idea of the dead woman popped into his imagination, and gave him a hearty fright; what had happened to her in the early night might very well happen to him before morning.

And he so young!

And with such immense possibilities of disorderly amusement before him!

He felt quite pathetic over the notion of his own fate, as if it had been some one else's, and made a little imaginative vignette of the scene in the morning when they should find his body.

He passed all his chances under review, turning the white between his thumb and forefinger.

Unfortunately he was on bad terms with some old friends who would once have taken pity on him in such a plight.

He had lampooned them in verses; he had beaten and cheated them; and yet now, when he was in so close a pinch, he thought there was at least one who might perhaps relent. It was a chance. It was worth trying at least, and he would go and see.

On the way, two little accidents happened to him which coloured his musings in a very different manner.

For, first, he fell in with the track of a patrol, and walked in it for some hundred yards, although it lay out of his direction.

And this spirited him up; at least he had confused his trail; for he was still possessed with the idea of people tracking him all about Paris over the snow, and collaring him next morning before he was awake.

The other matter affected him quite differently.

He passed a street-corner where, not so long before, a woman and her child had been devoured by wolves.

This was just the kind of weather, he reflected, when wolves might take it into their heads to enter Paris again; and a lone man in these deserted streets would run the chance of something worse than a mere scare.

He stopped and looked upon the place with an unpleasant interest—it was a centre where several lanes intersected each other; and he looked down them all, one after another, and held his breath to listen, lest he should detect some galloping black things on the snow or hear the sound of howling between him and the river.

He remembered his mother telling him the story and pointing out the spot, while he was yet a child.

His mother!

If he only knew where she lived, he might make sure at least of shelter.

He determined he would inquire upon the morrow; nay, he would go and see her, too, poor old girl!

So thinking, he arrived at his destination—his last hope for the night.

The house was quite dark, like its neighbours; and yet after a few taps he heard a movement overhead, a door opening, and a cautious voice asking who was there.

The poet named himself in a loud whisper, and waited, not without some trepidation, the result.

Nor had he to wait long.

A window was suddenly opened, and a pailful of slops splashed down upon the door-step.

Villon had not been unprepared for something of the sort, and had put himself as much in shelter as the nature of the porch admitted; but for all that he was deplorably drenched below the waist.

His hose began to freeze almost at once.

Death from cold and exposure stared him in the face; he remembered he was of phthisical tendency, and began coughing tentatively.

But the gravity of the danger steadied his nerves.

He stopped a few hundred yards from the door where he had been so rudely used, and reflected with his finger to his nose.

He could only see one way of getting a lodging, and that was to take it.

He had noticed a house not far away, which looked as if it might be easily broken into.

And thither he betook himself promptly, entertaining himself on the way with the idea of a room still hot, with a table still loaded with the remains of supper, where he might pass the rest of the black hours, and whence he should issue, on the morrow, with an armful of valuable plate.

He even considered on what viands and what wines he should prefer; and as he was calling the roll of his favourite dainties, roast fish presented itself to his mind with an odd mixture of amusement and horror.

"I shall never finish that ballade," he thought to himself; and then, with another shudder at the recollection, "Oh, damn his fat head!" he repeated, fervently, and spat upon the snow.

The house in question looked dark at first sight; but as Villon made a preliminary inspection in search of the handiest point of attack, a little twinkle of light caught his eye from behind a curtained window.

"The devil!" he thought.

"People awake!

Some student or some saint, confound the crew!

Can't they get drunk and lie in bed snoring like their neighbours?

What's the good of curfew, and poor devils of bell-ringers jumping at a rope's end in bell-towers?

What's the use of day, if people sit up all night?

The gripes to them!».

He grinned as he saw where his logic was leading him.

"Every man to his business, after all," added he, "and if they're awake, by the Lord, I may come by a supper honestly for once, and cheat the devil.».

He went boldly to the door and knocked with an assured hand.

On both previous occasions he had knocked timidly and with some dread of attracting notice; but now when he had just discarded the thought of a burglarious entry, knocking at a door seemed a mighty simple and innocent proceeding.

The sound of his blows echoed through the house with thin, phantasmal reverberations, as though it were quite empty; but these had scarcely died away before a measured tread drew near, a couple of bolts were withdrawn, and one wing was opened broadly, as though no guile or fear of guile were known to those within.

A tall figure of a man, muscular and spare, but a little bent, confronted Villon.

The head was massive in bulk, but finely sculptured; the nose blunt at the bottom, but refining upward to where it joined a pair of strong and honest eyebrows.

The mouth and eyes surrounded with delicate markings; and the whole face based upon a thick white beard, boldly and squarely trimmed.

Seen as it was by the light of a flickering hand-lamp, it looked perhaps nobler than it had a right to do; but it was a fine face, honourable rather than intelligent, strong, simple, and righteous.

"You knock late, sir," said the old man, in resonant, courteous tones.

Villon cringed, and brought up many servile words of apology; at a crisis of this sort, the beggar was uppermost in him, and the man of genius hid his head with confusion.

"You are cold," repeated the old man, « and hungry?

Well, step in».

And he ordered him into the house with a noble enough gesture.

"Some great seigneur," thought Villon, as his host, setting down the lamp on the flagged pavement of the entry, shot the bolts once more into their places.

"You will pardon me if I go in front," he said, when this was done; and he preceded the poet upstairs into a large apartment, warmed with a pan of charcoal and lit by a great lamp hanging from the roof.

It was very bare of furniture; only some gold plate on a sideboard, some folios, and a stand of armour between the windows.

Some smart tapestry hung upon the walls, representing the crucifixion of our Lord in one piece, and in another a scene of shepherds and shepherdesses by a running stream.

Over the chimney was a shield of arms.

"Will you seat yourself," said the old man, "and forgive me if I leave you?

I am alone in my house to-night, and if you are to eat I must forage for you myself».

No sooner was his host gone than Villon leaped from the chair on which he had just seated himself, and began examining the room with the stealth and passion of a cat.

He weighed the gold flagons in his hand, opened all the folios, and investigated the arms upon the shield, and the stuff with which the seats were lined.

He raised the window curtains, and saw that the windows were set with rich stained glass in figures, so far as he could see, of martial import.

Then he stood in the middle of the room, drew a long breath, and retaining it with puffed cheeks, looked round and round him, turning on his heels, as if to impress every feature of the apartment on his memory.

"Seven pieces of plate," he said.

"If there had been ten, I would have risked it.

A fine house, and a fine old master, so help me all the saints!».

And just then, hearing the old man's tread returning along the corridor, he stole back to his chair, and began humbly toasting his wet legs before the charcoal pan.