en-es  A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT - III
A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT - III BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1877) His entertainer had a plate of meat in one hand and a jug of wine in the other.

He set down the plate upon the table, motioning Villon to draw in his chair, and going to the sideboard, brought back two goblets, which he filled.


"I drink your better fortune," he said gravely, touching Villon's cup with his own.


"To our better acquaintance," said the poet, growing bold.

A mere man of the people would have been awed by the courtesy of the old seigneur, but Villon was hardened in that matter; he had made mirth for great lords before now, and found them as black rascals as himself.

And so he devoted himself to the viands with a ravenous gusto, while the old man, leaning backward, watched him with steady, curious eyes.


"You have blood on your shoulder, my man," he said.


Montigny must have laid his wet right hand upon him as he left the house. He cursed Montigny in his heart.


"It was none of my shedding," he stammered.


"I had not supposed so," returned his host, quietly.

"A brawl?».


"Well, something of that sort," Villon admitted, with a quaver.


"Perhaps a fellow murdered?».


"Oh no, not murdered," said the poet, more and more confused.

"It was all fair play—murdered by accident. I had no hand in it, God strike me dead!" he added, fervently.


"One rogue the fewer, I dare say," observed the master of the house.


"You may dare to say that," agreed Villon, infinitely relieved.

"As big a rogue as there is between here and Jerusalem.

He turned up his toes like a lamb.

But it was a nasty thing to look at.

I dare say you've seen dead men in your time, my lord?" he added, glancing at the armour.


"Many," said the old man.

"I have followed the wars, as you imagine».


Villon laid down his knife and fork, which he had just taken up again.


"Were any of them bald?" he asked.


"Oh yes, and with hair as white as mine».


"I don't think I should mind the white so much," said Villon.

"His was red. " And he had a return of his shuddering and tendency to laughter, which he drowned with a great draught of wine.

"I'm a little put out when I think of it," he went on.

"I knew him—damn him! And then the cold gives a man fancies—or the fancies give a man cold, I don't know which».


"Have you any money?" asked the old man.


"I have one white," returned the poet, laughing.

"I got it out of a dead jade's stocking in a porch.

She was as dead as Caesar, poor wench, and as cold as a church, with bits of ribbon sticking in her hair.

This is a hard winter for wolves and wenches and poor rogues like me».


"I," said the old man, "am Enguerrand de la Feuillee, seigneur de Brisetout, bailie du Patatrac.

Who and what may you be?».


Villon rose and made a suitable reverence.

"I am called Francis Villon," he said, "a poor Master of Arts of this university.

I know some Latin, and a deal of vice.

I can make Chansons, ballades, lais, virelais, and roundels, and I am very fond of wine.

I was born in a garret, and I shall not improbably die upon the gallows.

I may add, my lord, that from this night forward I am your lordship's very obsequious servant to command».


"No servant of mine," said the knight.

"My guest for this evening, and no more».


"A very grateful guest," said Villon, politely, and he drank in dumb show to his entertainer.


"You are shrewd," began the old man, tapping his forehead, "very shrewd; you have learning; you are a clerk; and yet you take a small piece of money off a dead woman in the street. Is it not a kind of theft?».


"It is a kind of theft much practised in the wars, my lord».


"The wars are the field of honour," returned the old man, proudly.

"There a man plays his life upon the cast; he fights in the name of his lord the king, his Lord God, and all their lordships the holy saints and angels».


"Put it," said Villon, "that I were really a thief, should I not play my life also, and against heavier odds?».


"For gain, but not for honour».


"Gain?" repeated Villon, with a shrug.

"Gain!

The poor fellow wants supper, and takes it.

So does the soldier in a campaign.

Why, what are all these requisitions we hear so much about?.

If they are not gain to those who take them, they are loss enough to the others.

The men-at-arms drink by a good fire, while the burgher bites his nails to buy them wine and wood.

I have seen a good many ploughmen swinging on trees about the country; ay, I have seen thirty on one elm, and a very poor figure they made; and when I asked some one how all these came to be hanged, I was told it was because they could not scrape together enough crowns to satisfy the men-at-arms».


"These things are a necessity of war, which the low-born must endure with constancy.

It is true that some captains drive overhard; there are spirits in every rank not easily moved by pity; and indeed many follow arms who are no better than brigands».


"You see," said the poet, "you cannot separate the soldier from the brigand; and what is a thief but an isolated brigand with circumspect manners?.

I steal a couple of mutton-chops, without so much as disturbing people's sleep; the farmer grumbles a bit, but sups none the less wholesomely on what remains.

You come up blowing gloriously on a trumpet, take away the whole sheep, and beat the farmer pitifully into the bargain.

I have no trumpet; I am only Tom, Dick, or Harry; I am a rogue and a dog, and hanging's too good for me—with all my heart; but just ask the farmer which of us he prefers, just find out which of us he lies awake to curse on cold nights».


"Look at us two," said his lordship.

"I am old, strong, and honoured.

If I were turned from my house to-morrow, hundreds would be proud to shelter me.

Poor people would go out and pass the night in the streets with their children, if I merely hinted that I wished to be alone.

And I find you up, wandering homeless, and picking farthings off dead women by the wayside!.

I fear no man and nothing; I have seen you tremble and lose countenance at a word.

I wait God's summons contentedly in my own house, or, if it please the king to call me out again, upon the field of battle.

You look for the gallows; a rough, swift death, without hope or honour.

Is there no difference between these two?».


"As far as to the moon," Villon acquiesced.

"But if I had been born lord of Brisetout, and you had been the poor scholar Francis, would the difference have been any the less?.

Should not I have been warming my knees at this charcoal pan, and would not you have been groping for farthings in the snow?.

Should not I have been the soldier, and you the thief?».


"A thief?" cried the old man.

"I a thief!.

If you understood your words, you would repent them».


Villon turned out his hands with a gesture of inimitable impudence.

"If your lordship had done me the honour to follow my argument!" he said.


"I do you too much honour in submitting to your presence," said the knight.

"Learn to curb your tongue when you speak with old and honourable men, or some one hastier than I may reprove you in a sharper fashion. " And he rose and paced the lower end of the apartment, struggling with anger and antipathy.

Villon surreptitiously refilled his cup, and settled himself more comfortably in the chair, crossing his knees and leaning his head upon one hand and the elbow against the back of the chair.

He was now replete and warm; and he was in no wise frightened for his host, having gauged him as justly as was possible between two such different characters.

The night was far spent, and in a very comfortable fashion after all; and he felt morally certain of a safe departure on the morrow.


"Tell me one thing," said the old man, pausing in his walk.

"Are you really a thief?».


"I claim the sacred rights of hospitality," returned the poet.

"My lord, I am».


"You are very young," the knight continued.


"I should never have been so old," replied Villon, showing his fingers, "if I had not helped myself with these ten talents.

They have been my nursing mothers and my nursing fathers».


"You may still repent and change».


"I repent daily," said the poet.

"There are few people more given to repentance than poor Francis.

As for change, let somebody change my circumstances.

A man must continue to eat, if it were only that he may continue to repent».


"The change must begin in the heart," returned the old man, solemnly.


"My dear lord," answered Villon, "do you really fancy that I steal for pleasure?.

I hate stealing, like any other piece of work or of danger.

My teeth chatter when I see a gallows.

But I must eat, I must drink; I must mix in society of some sort.

What the devil! Man is not a solitary animal—cui Deus foeminam tradit.

Make me king's pantler, make me Abbot of St Denis, make me bailie of the Patatrac, and then I shall be changed indeed.

But as long as you leave me the poor scholar Francis Villon, without a farthing, why, of course, I remain the same».


"The grace of God is all powerful».


"I should be a heretic to question it," said Francis.

"It has made you lord of Brisetout and bailie of the Patatrac; it has given me nothing but the quick wits under my hat and these ten toes upon my hands.

May I help myself to wine?.

I thank you respectfully.

By God's grace, you have a very superior vintage».


The lord of Brisetout walked to and fro with his hands behind his back.

Perhaps he was not yet quite settled in his mind about the parallel between thieves and soldiers; perhaps Villon had interested him by some cross-thread of sympathy; perhaps his wits were simply muddled by so much unfamiliar reasoning; but whatever the cause, he somehow yearned to convert the young man to a better way of thinking, and could not make up his mind to drive him forth again into the street.


"There is something more than I can understand in this," he said at length.

"Your mouth is full of subtleties, and the devil has led you very far astray; but the devil is only a very weak spirit before God's truth, and all his subtleties vanish at a word of true honour, like darkness at morning.

Listen to me once more.

I learned long ago that a gentleman should live chivalrously and lovingly to God and the king and his lady; and though I have seen many strange things done, I have still striven to command my ways upon that rule.

It is not only written in all noble histories, but in every man's heart, if he will take care to read.

You speak of food and wine, and I know very well that hunger is a difficult trial to endure; but you do not speak of other wants; you say nothing of honour, of faith to God and other men, of courtesy, of love without reproach.

It may be that I am not very wise,—and yet I think I am,—but you seem to me like one who has lost his way and made a great error in life.

You are attending to the little wants, and you have totally forgotten the great and only real ones, like a man who should be doctoring toothache on the judgment day.

For such things as honour and love and faith are not only nobler than food and drink, but indeed I think we desire them more, and suffer more sharply for their absence.

I speak to you as I think you will most easily understand me.

Are you not, while careful to fill your belly, disregarding another appetite in your heart, which spoils the pleasure of your life and keeps you continually wretched?».


Villon was sensibly nettled under all this sermonising.

"You think I have no sense of honour!" he cried.

"I'm poor enough, God knows! It's hard to see rich people with their gloves, and you blowing in your hands.

An empty belly is a bitter thing, although you speak so lightly of it.

If you had had as many as I, perhaps you would change your tune.

Anyway, I'm a thief,—make the most of that,—but I'm not a devil from hell, God strike me dead!.

I would have you to know I've an honour of my own, as good as yours, though I don't prate about it all day long, as if it was a God's miracle to have any.

It seems quite natural to me; I keep it in its box till it's wanted.

Why, now, look you here, how long have I been in this room with you?.

Did you not tell me you were alone in the house?.

Look at your gold plate! You're strong, if you like, but you're old and unarmed, and I have my knife.

What did I want but a jerk of the elbow and here would have been you with the cold steel in your bowels, and there would have been me, linking in the streets, with an armful of golden cups!.

Did you suppose I hadn't wit enough to see that? and I scorned the action.

There are your damned goblets, as safe as in a church; there are you, with your heart ticking as good as new; and here am I, ready to go out again as poor as I came in, with my one white that you threw in my teeth! And you think I have no sense of honour—God strike me dead!».


The old man stretched out his right arm.

"I will tell you what you are," he said.

"You are a rogue, my man, an impudent and black-hearted rogue and vagabond.

I have passed an hour with you.

Oh, believe me, I feel myself disgraced!.

And you have eaten and drunk at my table.


But now I am sick at your presence; the day has come, and the night-bird should be off to his roost.

Will you go before, or after?».


"Which you please," returned the poet, rising.

"I believe you to be strictly honourable. " He thoughtfully emptied his cup.

"I wish I could add you were intelligent," he went on, knocking on his head with his knuckles.

"Age! age! the brains stiff and rheumatic».


The old man preceded him from a point of self-respect; Villon followed, whistling, with his thumbs in his girdle.


"God pity you," said the lord of Brisetout at the door.


"Good-bye, papa," returned Villon, with a yawn.

"Many thanks for the cold mutton».


The door closed behind him.

The dawn was breaking over the white roofs.

A chill, uncomfortable morning ushered in the day.

Villon stood and heartily stretched himself in the middle of the road.
"A very dull old gentleman," he thought. "I wonder what his goblets may be worth?».

END
unit 4
"To our better acquaintance," said the poet, growing bold.
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unit 7
"You have blood on your shoulder, my man," he said.
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unit 9
He cursed Montigny in his heart.
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unit 10
"It was none of my shedding," he stammered.
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unit 11
"I had not supposed so," returned his host, quietly.
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unit 12
"A brawl?».
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unit 13
"Well, something of that sort," Villon admitted, with a quaver.
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"Perhaps a fellow murdered?».
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"Oh no, not murdered," said the poet, more and more confused.
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"It was all fair play—murdered by accident.
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I had no hand in it, God strike me dead!"
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he added, fervently.
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unit 19
"One rogue the fewer, I dare say," observed the master of the house.
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"You may dare to say that," agreed Villon, infinitely relieved.
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"As big a rogue as there is between here and Jerusalem.
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He turned up his toes like a lamb.
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But it was a nasty thing to look at.
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I dare say you've seen dead men in your time, my lord?"
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he added, glancing at the armour.
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"Many," said the old man.
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unit 27
"I have followed the wars, as you imagine».
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unit 28
Villon laid down his knife and fork, which he had just taken up again.
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unit 29
"Were any of them bald?"
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he asked.
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"Oh yes, and with hair as white as mine».
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"I don't think I should mind the white so much," said Villon.
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"His was red. "
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unit 35
"I'm a little put out when I think of it," he went on.
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unit 36
"I knew him—damn him!
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unit 38
"Have you any money?"
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unit 39
asked the old man.
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unit 40
"I have one white," returned the poet, laughing.
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unit 41
"I got it out of a dead jade's stocking in a porch.
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This is a hard winter for wolves and wenches and poor rogues like me».
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Who and what may you be?».
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unit 46
Villon rose and made a suitable reverence.
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I know some Latin, and a deal of vice.
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I was born in a garret, and I shall not improbably die upon the gallows.
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unit 52
"No servant of mine," said the knight.
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unit 53
"My guest for this evening, and no more».
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unit 56
Is it not a kind of theft?».
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unit 57
"It is a kind of theft much practised in the wars, my lord».
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unit 58
"The wars are the field of honour," returned the old man, proudly.
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unit 61
"For gain, but not for honour».
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unit 62
"Gain?"
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unit 63
repeated Villon, with a shrug.
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unit 64
"Gain!
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The poor fellow wants supper, and takes it.
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unit 66
So does the soldier in a campaign.
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unit 67
Why, what are all these requisitions we hear so much about?.
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unit 77
"Look at us two," said his lordship.
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unit 78
"I am old, strong, and honoured.
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You look for the gallows; a rough, swift death, without hope or honour.
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unit 85
Is there no difference between these two?».
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unit 86
"As far as to the moon," Villon acquiesced.
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unit 89
Should not I have been the soldier, and you the thief?».
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unit 90
"A thief?"
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unit 91
cried the old man.
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unit 92
"I a thief!.
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unit 93
If you understood your words, you would repent them».
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unit 94
Villon turned out his hands with a gesture of inimitable impudence.
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unit 95
"If your lordship had done me the honour to follow my argument!"
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he said.
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unit 103
"Tell me one thing," said the old man, pausing in his walk.
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unit 104
"Are you really a thief?».
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unit 105
"I claim the sacred rights of hospitality," returned the poet.
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unit 106
"My lord, I am».
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unit 107
"You are very young," the knight continued.
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unit 109
They have been my nursing mothers and my nursing fathers».
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unit 110
"You may still repent and change».
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unit 111
"I repent daily," said the poet.
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unit 112
"There are few people more given to repentance than poor Francis.
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unit 113
As for change, let somebody change my circumstances.
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unit 115
"The change must begin in the heart," returned the old man, solemnly.
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unit 117
I hate stealing, like any other piece of work or of danger.
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unit 118
My teeth chatter when I see a gallows.
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unit 119
But I must eat, I must drink; I must mix in society of some sort.
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unit 120
What the devil!
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unit 121
Man is not a solitary animal—cui Deus foeminam tradit.
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unit 124
"The grace of God is all powerful».
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unit 125
"I should be a heretic to question it," said Francis.
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unit 127
May I help myself to wine?.
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I thank you respectfully.
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unit 129
By God's grace, you have a very superior vintage».
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unit 130
The lord of Brisetout walked to and fro with his hands behind his back.
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unit 132
unit 134
Listen to me once more.
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unit 141
I speak to you as I think you will most easily understand me.
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unit 143
Villon was sensibly nettled under all this sermonising.
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unit 144
"You think I have no sense of honour!"
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unit 145
he cried.
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unit 146
"I'm poor enough, God knows!
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unit 148
An empty belly is a bitter thing, although you speak so lightly of it.
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If you had had as many as I, perhaps you would change your tune.
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unit 152
It seems quite natural to me; I keep it in its box till it's wanted.
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unit 153
Why, now, look you here, how long have I been in this room with you?.
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unit 154
Did you not tell me you were alone in the house?.
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Look at your gold plate!
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unit 158
Did you suppose I hadn't wit enough to see that?
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unit 159
and I scorned the action.
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unit 161
And you think I have no sense of honour—God strike me dead!».
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unit 162
The old man stretched out his right arm.
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unit 163
"I will tell you what you are," he said.
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unit 165
I have passed an hour with you.
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Oh, believe me, I feel myself disgraced!.
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And you have eaten and drunk at my table.
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unit 169
Will you go before, or after?».
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unit 170
"Which you please," returned the poet, rising.
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unit 171
"I believe you to be strictly honourable. "
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unit 172
He thoughtfully emptied his cup.
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unit 174
"Age!
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age!
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the brains stiff and rheumatic».
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unit 178
"God pity you," said the lord of Brisetout at the door.
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unit 179
"Good-bye, papa," returned Villon, with a yawn.
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unit 180
"Many thanks for the cold mutton».
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unit 181
The door closed behind him.
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unit 182
The dawn was breaking over the white roofs.
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unit 183
A chill, uncomfortable morning ushered in the day.
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unit 184
Villon stood and heartily stretched himself in the middle of the road.
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unit 185
"A very dull old gentleman," he thought.
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unit 186
"I wonder what his goblets may be worth?».
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unit 187
END
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A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT - III
BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1877)

His entertainer had a plate of meat in one hand and a jug of wine in the other.

He set down the plate upon the table, motioning Villon to draw in his chair, and going to the sideboard, brought back two goblets, which he filled.

"I drink your better fortune," he said gravely, touching Villon's cup with his own.

"To our better acquaintance," said the poet, growing bold.

A mere man of the people would have been awed by the courtesy of the old seigneur, but Villon was hardened in that matter; he had made mirth for great lords before now, and found them as black rascals as himself.

And so he devoted himself to the viands with a ravenous gusto, while the old man, leaning backward, watched him with steady, curious eyes.

"You have blood on your shoulder, my man," he said.

Montigny must have laid his wet right hand upon him as he left the house. He cursed Montigny in his heart.

"It was none of my shedding," he stammered.

"I had not supposed so," returned his host, quietly.

"A brawl?».

"Well, something of that sort," Villon admitted, with a quaver.

"Perhaps a fellow murdered?».

"Oh no, not murdered," said the poet, more and more confused.

"It was all fair play—murdered by accident. I had no hand in it, God strike me dead!" he added, fervently.

"One rogue the fewer, I dare say," observed the master of the house.

"You may dare to say that," agreed Villon, infinitely relieved.

"As big a rogue as there is between here and Jerusalem.

He turned up his toes like a lamb.

But it was a nasty thing to look at.

I dare say you've seen dead men in your time, my lord?" he added, glancing at the armour.

"Many," said the old man.

"I have followed the wars, as you imagine».

Villon laid down his knife and fork, which he had just taken up again.

"Were any of them bald?" he asked.

"Oh yes, and with hair as white as mine».

"I don't think I should mind the white so much," said Villon.

"His was red.

" And he had a return of his shuddering and tendency to laughter, which he drowned with a great draught of wine.

"I'm a little put out when I think of it," he went on.

"I knew him—damn him! And then the cold gives a man fancies—or the fancies give a man cold, I don't know which».

"Have you any money?" asked the old man.

"I have one white," returned the poet, laughing.

"I got it out of a dead jade's stocking in a porch.

She was as dead as Caesar, poor wench, and as cold as a church, with bits of ribbon sticking in her hair.

This is a hard winter for wolves and wenches and poor rogues like me».

"I," said the old man, "am Enguerrand de la Feuillee, seigneur de Brisetout, bailie du Patatrac.

Who and what may you be?».

Villon rose and made a suitable reverence.

"I am called Francis Villon," he said, "a poor Master of Arts of this university.

I know some Latin, and a deal of vice.

I can make Chansons, ballades, lais, virelais, and roundels, and I am very fond of wine.

I was born in a garret, and I shall not improbably die upon the gallows.

I may add, my lord, that from this night forward I am your lordship's very obsequious servant to command».

"No servant of mine," said the knight.

"My guest for this evening, and no more».

"A very grateful guest," said Villon, politely, and he drank in dumb show to his entertainer.

"You are shrewd," began the old man, tapping his forehead, "very shrewd; you have learning; you are a clerk; and yet you take a small piece of money off a dead woman in the street. Is it not a kind of theft?».

"It is a kind of theft much practised in the wars, my lord».

"The wars are the field of honour," returned the old man, proudly.

"There a man plays his life upon the cast; he fights in the name of his lord the king, his Lord God, and all their lordships the holy saints and angels».

"Put it," said Villon, "that I were really a thief, should I not play my life also, and against heavier odds?».

"For gain, but not for honour».

"Gain?" repeated Villon, with a shrug.

"Gain!

The poor fellow wants supper, and takes it.

So does the soldier in a campaign.

Why, what are all these requisitions we hear so much about?.

If they are not gain to those who take them, they are loss enough to the others.

The men-at-arms drink by a good fire, while the burgher bites his nails to buy them wine and wood.

I have seen a good many ploughmen swinging on trees about the country; ay, I have seen thirty on one elm, and a very poor figure they made; and when I asked some one how all these came to be hanged, I was told it was because they could not scrape together enough crowns to satisfy the men-at-arms».

"These things are a necessity of war, which the low-born must endure with constancy.

It is true that some captains drive overhard; there are spirits in every rank not easily moved by pity; and indeed many follow arms who are no better than brigands».

"You see," said the poet, "you cannot separate the soldier from the brigand; and what is a thief but an isolated brigand with circumspect manners?.

I steal a couple of mutton-chops, without so much as disturbing people's sleep; the farmer grumbles a bit, but sups none the less wholesomely on what remains.

You come up blowing gloriously on a trumpet, take away the whole sheep, and beat the farmer pitifully into the bargain.

I have no trumpet; I am only Tom, Dick, or Harry; I am a rogue and a dog, and hanging's too good for me—with all my heart; but just ask the farmer which of us he prefers, just find out which of us he lies awake to curse on cold nights».

"Look at us two," said his lordship.

"I am old, strong, and honoured.

If I were turned from my house to-morrow, hundreds would be proud to shelter me.

Poor people would go out and pass the night in the streets with their children, if I merely hinted that I wished to be alone.

And I find you up, wandering homeless, and picking farthings off dead women by the wayside!.

I fear no man and nothing; I have seen you tremble and lose countenance at a word.

I wait God's summons contentedly in my own house, or, if it please the king to call me out again, upon the field of battle.

You look for the gallows; a rough, swift death, without hope or honour.

Is there no difference between these two?».

"As far as to the moon," Villon acquiesced.

"But if I had been born lord of Brisetout, and you had been the poor scholar Francis, would the difference have been any the less?.

Should not I have been warming my knees at this charcoal pan, and would not you have been groping for farthings in the snow?.

Should not I have been the soldier, and you the thief?».

"A thief?" cried the old man.

"I a thief!.

If you understood your words, you would repent them».

Villon turned out his hands with a gesture of inimitable impudence.

"If your lordship had done me the honour to follow my argument!" he said.

"I do you too much honour in submitting to your presence," said the knight.

"Learn to curb your tongue when you speak with old and honourable men, or some one hastier than I may reprove you in a sharper fashion.

" And he rose and paced the lower end of the apartment, struggling with anger and antipathy.

Villon surreptitiously refilled his cup, and settled himself more comfortably in the chair, crossing his knees and leaning his head upon one hand and the elbow against the back of the chair.

He was now replete and warm; and he was in no wise frightened for his host, having gauged him as justly as was possible between two such different characters.

The night was far spent, and in a very comfortable fashion after all; and he felt morally certain of a safe departure on the morrow.

"Tell me one thing," said the old man, pausing in his walk.

"Are you really a thief?».

"I claim the sacred rights of hospitality," returned the poet.

"My lord, I am».

"You are very young," the knight continued.

"I should never have been so old," replied Villon, showing his fingers, "if I had not helped myself with these ten talents.

They have been my nursing mothers and my nursing fathers».

"You may still repent and change».

"I repent daily," said the poet.

"There are few people more given to repentance than poor Francis.

As for change, let somebody change my circumstances.

A man must continue to eat, if it were only that he may continue to repent».

"The change must begin in the heart," returned the old man, solemnly.

"My dear lord," answered Villon, "do you really fancy that I steal for pleasure?.

I hate stealing, like any other piece of work or of danger.

My teeth chatter when I see a gallows.

But I must eat, I must drink; I must mix in society of some sort.

What the devil! Man is not a solitary animal—cui Deus foeminam tradit.

Make me king's pantler, make me Abbot of St Denis, make me bailie of the Patatrac, and then I shall be changed indeed.

But as long as you leave me the poor scholar Francis Villon, without a farthing, why, of course, I remain the same».

"The grace of God is all powerful».

"I should be a heretic to question it," said Francis.

"It has made you lord of Brisetout and bailie of the Patatrac; it has given me nothing but the quick wits under my hat and these ten toes upon my hands.

May I help myself to wine?.

I thank you respectfully.

By God's grace, you have a very superior vintage».

The lord of Brisetout walked to and fro with his hands behind his back.

Perhaps he was not yet quite settled in his mind about the parallel between thieves and soldiers; perhaps Villon had interested him by some cross-thread of sympathy; perhaps his wits were simply muddled by so much unfamiliar reasoning; but whatever the cause, he somehow yearned to convert the young man to a better way of thinking, and could not make up his mind to drive him forth again into the street.

"There is something more than I can understand in this," he said at length.

"Your mouth is full of subtleties, and the devil has led you very far astray; but the devil is only a very weak spirit before God's truth, and all his subtleties vanish at a word of true honour, like darkness at morning.

Listen to me once more.

I learned long ago that a gentleman should live chivalrously and lovingly to God and the king and his lady; and though I have seen many strange things done, I have still striven to command my ways upon that rule.

It is not only written in all noble histories, but in every man's heart, if he will take care to read.

You speak of food and wine, and I know very well that hunger is a difficult trial to endure; but you do not speak of other wants; you say nothing of honour, of faith to God and other men, of courtesy, of love without reproach.

It may be that I am not very wise,—and yet I think I am,—but you seem to me like one who has lost his way and made a great error in life.

You are attending to the little wants, and you have totally forgotten the great and only real ones, like a man who should be doctoring toothache on the judgment day.

For such things as honour and love and faith are not only nobler than food and drink, but indeed I think we desire them more, and suffer more sharply for their absence.

I speak to you as I think you will most easily understand me.

Are you not, while careful to fill your belly, disregarding another appetite in your heart, which spoils the pleasure of your life and keeps you continually wretched?».

Villon was sensibly nettled under all this sermonising.

"You think I have no sense of honour!" he cried.

"I'm poor enough, God knows! It's hard to see rich people with their gloves, and you blowing in your hands.

An empty belly is a bitter thing, although you speak so lightly of it.

If you had had as many as I, perhaps you would change your tune.

Anyway, I'm a thief,—make the most of that,—but I'm not a devil from hell, God strike me dead!.

I would have you to know I've an honour of my own, as good as yours, though I don't prate about it all day long, as if it was a God's miracle to have any.

It seems quite natural to me; I keep it in its box till it's wanted.

Why, now, look you here, how long have I been in this room with you?.

Did you not tell me you were alone in the house?.

Look at your gold plate! You're strong, if you like, but you're old and unarmed, and I have my knife.

What did I want but a jerk of the elbow and here would have been you with the cold steel in your bowels, and there would have been me, linking in the streets, with an armful of golden cups!.

Did you suppose I hadn't wit enough to see that? and I scorned the action.

There are your damned goblets, as safe as in a church; there are you, with your heart ticking as good as new; and here am I, ready to go out again as poor as I came in, with my one white that you threw in my teeth! And you think I have no sense of honour—God strike me dead!».

The old man stretched out his right arm.

"I will tell you what you are," he said.

"You are a rogue, my man, an impudent and black-hearted rogue and vagabond.

I have passed an hour with you.

Oh, believe me, I feel myself disgraced!.

And you have eaten and drunk at my table.

But now I am sick at your presence; the day has come, and the night-bird should be off to his roost.

Will you go before, or after?».

"Which you please," returned the poet, rising.

"I believe you to be strictly honourable.

" He thoughtfully emptied his cup.

"I wish I could add you were intelligent," he went on, knocking on his head with his knuckles.

"Age! age! the brains stiff and rheumatic».

The old man preceded him from a point of self-respect; Villon followed, whistling, with his thumbs in his girdle.

"God pity you," said the lord of Brisetout at the door.

"Good-bye, papa," returned Villon, with a yawn.

"Many thanks for the cold mutton».

The door closed behind him.

The dawn was breaking over the white roofs.

A chill, uncomfortable morning ushered in the day.

Villon stood and heartily stretched himself in the middle of the road.
"A very dull old gentleman," he thought. "I wonder what his goblets may be worth?».

END