en-fr  A LODGING FOR THE NIGHT - III
UN LOGEMENT POUR LA NUIT - III de ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1877). Son hôte avait un plat de viande dans une main et une cruche de vin dans l'autre.

Il posa le plat sur la table, faisant signe à Villon de rapprocher sa chaise et allant au buffet, il ramena deux gobelets qu'il remplit.


— Je lève mon verre à votre bonne fortune, dit-il gravement, entrechoquant le gobelet de Villon avec le sien.


— A notre rencontre, dit le poète en prenant de l'assurance.

Un simple homme du peuple aurait été impressionné par la courtoisie du vieux seigneur, mais Villon s'était endurci à cet égard ; il avait amusé de grands seigneurs auparavant et les trouvait aussi tristes sires que lui.

Et aussi se jeta-t-il sur les viandes avec un enthousiasme de crève la faim, pendant que le vieil homme prenant du recul, le scrutait calmement d'un œil curieux.


— Vous avez du sang sur votre épaule, mon ami, dit-il.


Montigny devait avoir posé sur lui, sa main droite humide, quand il a quitté la maison. Il maudit Montigny dans son coeur.


— Ça ne vient pas de moi, bredouilla-t-il.


— Je ne le pensais pas, répondit calmement son hôte.

Une rixe ?


— Eh bien, quelque chose de ce genre, admit Villon, d'une voix chevrotante.


— Un camarade assassiné, peut-être ?


— Oh non, pas assassiné, dit le poète, de plus en plus embarrassé.

— C'était en toute légalité - assassiné par accident. Je n'ai rien à voir avec ça, Dieu m'étende raide mort ! ajouta-t-il avec ferveur.


— Un coquin de moins, oserais-je dire, observa le maître de maison.


— Vous pouvez oser dire ça, acquiesça Villon, infiniment soulagé.

— Le plus grand coquin qu'il y ait entre ici et Jérusalem.

Il a fait le grand saut en douceur.

Mais ce n'était pas une belle chose à voir.

J'imagine que vous avez vu des cadavres de votre temps, monseigneur ? ajouta-t-il, jetant un coup d'oeil sur l'armure.


— Un grand nombre, dit le vieil homme.

— J'ai suivi les guerres, comme vous le supposez.


Villon posa son couteau et sa fourchette qu'il venait de reprendre.


— Certains d'entre eux étaient-ils chauves ? demanda-t-il.


— Oh oui, et il y en avait avec des cheveux aussi blancs que les miens.


— Je ne pense pas devoir m'intéresser autant que ça au blanc, dit Villon.

— Les siens étaient rouges. Et il fut repris de frissons et d'une envie de rire, qu'il noya d'une grande goulée de vin.

Je suis un peu contrarié quand j'y pense, continua-t-il.

Je le connaissais ... le maudit ! Le froid rend l'homme envieux ... ou l'envie donne froid à l'homme, je ne sais pas dans quel sens.


— Avez-vous de l'argent ? demanda le vieil homme.


— J'ai un blanc, répondit le poète en riant.

Je l'ai trouvé sur une pauvre gueuse étendue sous un porche.

Elle était aussi morte que César, pauvre fille, et aussi froide qu'une église, avec des bouts de rubans collés à ses cheveux.

C'est un rude hiver pour les loups et les servantes, et pour les pauvres crapules comme moi.


— Je suis, dit le vieil homme, Enguerrand de la Feuillée, seigneur de Brisetout, bailly de Patatrac.

Qui et que pouvez-vous être ?


Villon se leva et fit une révérence très convenable.

— Je m'appelle François Villon, dit-il, un pauvre étudiant en maîtrise de lettres de cette université.

Je sais un peu de latin et je connais un bon paquet de vices.

Je peux composer des chansons, des ballades, des lais, des virelais et des rondeaux... et j'aime beaucoup le vin.

Je suis né dans une mansarde, et il n'est pas invraisemblable que je meure au bout d'une potence.

J'ajoute, Monseigneur, qu'à partir de cette nuit, je suis le très dévoué serviteur de Votre Seigneurie, pour vous obéir.


— Non, pas mon serviteur, dit le chevalier

Mon invité pour cette soirée, rien de plus.


— Un invité fort reconnaissant, dit poliment Villon, et il but, en adressant un geste silencieux, à la santé de son hôte.


— Vous êtes malin, commença le vieil homme en se tapotant le front, très malin, vous avez étudié, vous êtes clerc, et pourtant vous prenez une petite pièce de monnaie sur le corps d'une femme morte dans la rue. N'est-ce pas une sorte de vol ?


— C'est une sorte de vol très pratiqué au cours des guerres, Monseigneur.


— Les guerres sont des champs d'honneur, répliqua fièrement le vieil homme.

— Là-bas, un homme joue sa vie sur un coup de dés, il se bat au nom de son seigneur le roi, de son seigneur Dieu, et de toutes les seigneuries des saints et des anges.


— Admettons, dit Villon, que j'aie vraiment été un voleur, ne jouais-je pas ma vie aussi, et contre de plus mauvais chiffres ?


Pour le profit, pas pour l'honneur.


— Le profit ? répéta Villon, en haussant les épaules.

Le profit !

Le pauvre garçon veut un souper et il se sert.

Le soldat en campagne agit de même.

Voyons, quelles sont toutes ces réquisitions dont nous entendons tant parler ?

Si elles ne profitent pas à ceux qui les prennent, elles sont perdues pour les autres.

L'homme d'armes boit près d'un bon feu, alors que le citoyen se mord les doigts pour leur acheter du vin et du bois.

J'ai vu un bon nombre de laboureurs se balancer au bout d'une branche un peu partout dans le pays. Ouais, j'en ai vu trente sur un orme, et c'était un bien pauvre tableau. Quand j'ai demandé à quelqu'un pourquoi tous ces gens avaient été pendus, on m'a répondu que c'était parce qu'ils n'avaient pas pu rassembler, à eux tous, suffisamment de couronnes pour satisfaire les hommes d'armes.


— Ces choses sont des nécessités de guerre que les gens de basse extraction doivent supporter avec constance.

Il est vrai que certains capitaines y vont trop fort. On trouve dans tous les rangs des individus peu enclins à la pitié, et, en effet, beaucoup suivent des chefs qui ne valent pas mieux que des brigands.


— Vous voyez, dit le poète, vous ne pouvez séparer le soldat du brigand. Qu'est-ce qu'un voleur sinon un brigand solitaire agissant de manière prudente ?

Si je vole deux côtelettes de mouton, sans trop déranger le sommeil des gens, le fermier grogne un peu, mais n'en soupe pas moins sainement avec ce qui reste.

Vous, vous arrivez en fanfare, vous emmenez le mouton entier, et vous battez pitoyablement le fermier par-dessus le marché.

Avec moi, pas de fanfare, je ne me nomme que Tom, Dick ou Harry. Je suis un voyou et un chien, et la pendaison est trop bonne pour moi... j'y mets tout mon cœur ; mais demandez simplement au fermier lequel de nous il préfère, découvrez lequel d'entre nous il maudit quand les nuits froides le tiennent éveillé.


— Regardez-nous tous les deux, dit sa seigneurie.

Je suis vieux, puissant et honoré.

Si demain j'étais chassé de chez moi, des centaines de gens seraient fiers de m'offrir un abri.

Les pauvres sortiraient et passeraient la nuit dans la rue avec leurs enfants , si je laissais seulement entendre que je souhaitais rester seul.

Je vous trouve là, errant sans domicile, et qui ramassez des petites pièces sur des femmes mortes au bord du chemin.

Je ne crains rien ni personne ; je vous ai vu trembler et perdre vos moyens sur un mot.

J'attend avec bonheur de comparaitre devant Dieu dans ma propre maison, ou s'il plait au roi de me rappeler, sur le champ de bataille.

Vous cherchez la potence ; une mort violente, brutale, sans espoir d'honneur.

N'y a-t-il aucune différence entre ces deux ?


— Aussi éloigné que de la lune, approuva Villon.

Mais si j'étais né seigneur de Brisetout, et que vous eussiez été le pauvre étudiant François, la différence eût-elle été moindre ?

Ne devrais-je pas être en train de me chauffer les genoux contre ce poêle à charbon de bois, et vous n'auriez-vous pas été en train de fouiller la neige en quête de quelques piécettes ?

N'aurais-je pas dû être le soldat, et vous le voleur ?


— Un voleur ? s'écria le vieil homme.

Moi un voleur ! .

Si vous compreniez le sens de vos mots, vous les regretteriez.


Villon fit un geste de la main d'une inimitable insolence.

Si votre Excellence m'avait fait l'honneur de suivre mon argumentation ! dit-il.


Je vous fais trop d'honneur en tolérant votre présence, dit le chevalier.

Apprenez à contrôler votre langage, quand vos parlez à un homme âgé et honorable, ou quelqu'un de plus vif que moi pourrait vous le reprocher d'une façon plus sévère. Et il se leva et se dirigea vers la partie reculée de son appartement, plein de colère et d'aversion.

Subrepticement, Villon remplit son verre, et s'installa plus confortablement dans sa chaise, les genoux croisés, penchant la tête sur une main, le coude contre le dossier de la chaise.

Il était maintenant repus et réchauffé ; et n'était aucunement effrayé par son hôte, l'ayant jaugé aussi justement qu'il était possible entre deux caractères si différents.

La nuit était bien avancée, et s'était déroulée d'une façon très agréable après tout ; et il se sentait moralement prêt pour un départ en toute sécurité le lendemain.


— Dites-moi une chose, dit le vieillard, arrêtant sa marche.

Êtes-vous vraiment un voleur ?


— Je revendique le droit sacré de l'hospitalité, répondit le poète

J'en suis un, Monseigneur.


— Vous êtes très jeune, continua le chevalier.


— Je ne serais jamais arrivé si vieux, répondit Villon , montrant ses doigts, si je ne m'étais pas aidé par moi-même avec ces dix talents.

Ils ont été mes mères nourricières et mes pères nourriciers.


— Vous pouvez encore vous repentir et changer.


Je me repens chaque jour, dit le poète.

Peu de gens se donnent plus de repentance que ce pauvre François.

Quant à changer, que quelqu'un veuille bien changer ma situation.

Un homme doit continuer à manger, ce n'est que comme ça qu'il peut continuer à se repentir.


— La transformation doit commencer par le cœur, répondit solennellement le vieil homme.


— Mon cher sire, répondit Villon, croyez-vous vraiment que je vole pour le plaisir ?

J'ai horreur de voler, comme de n'importe quel autre travail périlleux.

Je claque des dents quand j'aperçois les gibets.

Mais je dois manger, je dois boire ; je dois me faire une place dans la société d'une façon ou d'une autre.

Que diable ! L'homme n'est pas un animal solitaire ... cui Deus foeminam tradit.

Faites moi panetier du roi, faites moi Abbé de Saint-Denis, faites moi bailly de Patrac, et alors je pourrai changer.

Mais aussi longtemps que vous me laissez rester François Villon, pauvre escholier, sans un sou, alors je reste le même.


La grâce de Dieu est toute puissante.


Je serais hérétique si j'en doutais, dit François.

Elle vous a fait seigneur de Brisetout et bailly du Patatrac ; elle ne m'a rien donné d'autre qu'un esprit vif sous mon chapeau et ces dix doigts sur mes mains.

Puis-je me resservir de vin ?

Je vous remercie respectueusement.

Par la grâce de Dieu vous avez un très grand cru.


Le seigneur de Brisetout allait et venait les mains derrière le dos.

Peut-être n'était-il pas encore tout à fait au clair au fond de lui-même quant au parallèle entre voleurs et soldats ; peut-être Villon l'avait-il intéressé par quelque sentiment de sympathie réciproque ; peut-être son esprit était-il seulement perturbé par une façon de raisonner aussi peu familière ; mais quelle qu'en fût la cause, il aspirait, d'une manière ou d'une autre, à convertir le jeune homme à une meilleure manière de penser, et ne pouvait se faire à l'idée de le rejeter ainsi à la rue.


— Il y a quelque chose en cela que je ne peux pas comprendre, dit-il à la fin.

Votre bouche est pleine de subtilités, et le diable vous a beaucoup égaré ; mais le diable est un esprit faible devant la vérité divine, et toutes ces subtilités s'effacent devant un mot d'honneur, comme l'obscurité au matin.

Écoutez moi encore une fois.

J'ai appris il y a longtemps qu'un gentilhomme se devait de vivre de façon chevaleresque et dans l'amour de Dieu ; et bien qu'ayant vu se faire d'étranges choses, j'ai toujours lutté pour tracer mon chemin selon cette règle.

Ce n'est pas écrit seulement dans tous les livres de chevalerie, mais dans le cœur de chaque homme, s'il prend soin de le lire.

Vous parlez de nourriture et de vin, et je sais très bien que la faim est une épreuve très dure à supporter, mais vous ne parlez pas des autres désirs; vous ne dites rien de l'honneur, de la confiance en Dieu et en les autres hommes, de la courtoisie, de l'amour désintéressé.

Je ne suis peut-être pas très avisé ...et pourtant je crois l'être ... mais vous m'apparaissez comme quelqu'un qui a perdu son chemin, et fait une grande erreur de sa vie.

Vous vous préoccupez de vos petits désirs, et vous avez totalement oublié les grands et les seuls, comme un homme qui devrait se soigner une rage de dents le jour du jugement dernier.

Car des choses telles que l'honneur, l'amour et la foi ne sont pas plus nobles que la nourriture et la boisson, mais en effet je pense que nous les désirons davantage, et souffrons plus durement de leur absence.

Je vous parle de la façon je pense la plus apte à ce que vous me compreniez.

N'êtes-vous pas, alors que vous vous préoccupez à vous remplir la panse, indifférent à l'appel de votre cœur qui gâche votre plaisir dans la vie et vous rend constamment malheureux.


Villon était sensiblement agacé par tous ces sermons.

— Vous pensez que je n'ai aucun sens de l'honneur ? hurla-t-il.

Je suis pauvre bien sûr, Dieu le sait bien ! Il est dur de voir les gens riches avec leurs gants, et vous qui soufflez sur vos mains.

Un ventre vide est une chose amère, bien que vous en parliez avec tant de légèreté.

Si vous l'aviez eu aussi souvent que moi, peut-être changeriez-vous de ton.

De toute façon, je suis un voleur - j''en profite bien -, mais je ne suis pas un démon de l'enfer, que Dieu me foudroie.

Je vous ferais savoir que j'ai mon propre honneur, qui vaut bien le vôtre, même si je n'en parle pas toute la journée, comme si c'était miracle de Dieu que d'en avoir un.

Cela me semble naturel ; je le laisse dans sa boite tant que je n'en ai pas besoin.

Tiens, regardez vous là maintenant, depuis combien de temps suis-je dans cette pièce avec vous ?

Ne m'aviez -vous pas dit être seul dans la maison ?

Regardez votre plat en or ! Vous êtes fort, si vous voulez, mais vous êtes seul et sans arme, et moi j'ai mon couteau.

Si j'avais voulu, un simple mouvement brusque du coude, et là vous vous retrouviez là avec l'acier froid dans les boyaux, et je rejoignais les rues, les bras chargés de coupes d'or.

Avez-vous cru que je n'avais pas assez d'esprit pour y penser ? et j'ai refusé cette action.

Il y a vos satanés gobelets, aussi en sécurité que dans une église ; il y a vous avec votre cœur qui bat comme s'il était neuf ; et je suis là, prêt à ressortir aussi pauvre qu'en arrivant, avec mon unique blanc que vous m'avez jeté en travers de la figure. Et vous croyez que je n'ai pas le sens de l'honneur - que Dieu me damne !


Le vieil homme étendit son bras droit.

— Je vais vous dire ce que vous êtes, dit-il.

Vous êtes une crapule, mon bonhomme, un gredin et un vagabond impudent et malfaisant.

J'ai passé une heure avec vous.

Oh, croyez-moi, je me sens déshonoré !

Et vous avez mangé et bu à ma table.


Mais, maintenant votre présence me rend malade ; le jour s'est levé, l'oiseau de nuit devrait retrouver son perchoir.

Passerez-vous devant ou me suivrez-vous ?


— Comme il vous plaira, répliqua le poète en se levant.

Je vous considère comme un parfait homme d'honneur. Songeur, il vida son verre.

J'aimerais pouvoir ajouter que vous êtes intelligent, continua-t-il, se frappant la tête avec les jointures de ses doigts repliés.

L'âge ! l'âge rend les cerveaux raides et rhumatisants.


Par amour-propre, le vieil homme le précéda ; Villon suivit, sifflotant, les pouces dans la ceinture.


— Que Dieu vous ait en pitié, dit le seigneur de Brisetout en arrivant à la porte.


— Au revoir, papa, répliqua Villon en bâillant.

Merci beaucoup pour le mouton froid.


La porte se ferma derrière lui.

L'aube commençait à poindre sur les toits blanchis.

La journée débutait par un inconfortable et glacial petit-matin.

Villon s'arrêta et étira ses muscles de tout son cœur au milieu de la rue.
— Un bien ennuyeux vieux bonhomme, pensa-t-il. Je me demande combien ses gobelets peuvent valoir !

FIN
unit 3
"I drink your better fortune," he said gravely, touching Villon's cup with his own.
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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.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months ago
unit 8
Montigny must have laid his wet right hand upon him as he left the house.
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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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unit 14
"Perhaps a fellow murdered?».
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unit 15
"Oh no, not murdered," said the poet, more and more confused.
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unit 16
"It was all fair play—murdered by accident.
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unit 17
I had no hand in it, God strike me dead!"
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unit 18
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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unit 20
"You may dare to say that," agreed Villon, infinitely relieved.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months ago
unit 21
"As big a rogue as there is between here and Jerusalem.
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unit 22
He turned up his toes like a lamb.
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unit 23
But it was a nasty thing to look at.
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unit 24
I dare say you've seen dead men in your time, my lord?"
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unit 25
he added, glancing at the armour.
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unit 26
"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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unit 30
he asked.
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unit 31
"Oh yes, and with hair as white as mine».
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unit 32
"I don't think I should mind the white so much," said Villon.
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unit 33
"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!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months ago
unit 37
And then the cold gives a man fancies—or the fancies give a man cold, I don't know which».
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months ago
unit 41
"I got it out of a dead jade's stocking in a porch.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months ago
unit 43
This is a hard winter for wolves and wenches and poor rogues like me».
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unit 45
Who and what may you be?».
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unit 46
Villon rose and made a suitable reverence.
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unit 47
"I am called Francis Villon," he said, "a poor Master of Arts of this university.
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unit 48
I know some Latin, and a deal of vice.
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unit 49
unit 50
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.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months ago
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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unit 65
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 68
If they are not gain to those who take them, they are loss enough to the others.
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unit 69
The men-at-arms drink by a good fire, while the burgher bites his nails to buy them wine and wood.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 71
"These things are a necessity of war, which the low-born must endure with constancy.
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unit 77
"Look at us two," said his lordship.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 78
"I am old, strong, and honoured.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 79
If I were turned from my house to-morrow, hundreds would be proud to shelter me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 81
And I find you up, wandering homeless, and picking farthings off dead women by the wayside!.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 82
I fear no man and nothing; I have seen you tremble and lose countenance at a word.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 84
You look for the gallows; a rough, swift death, without hope or honour.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 85
Is there no difference between these two?».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 86
"As far as to the moon," Villon acquiesced.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 89
Should not I have been the soldier, and you the thief?».
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 90
"A thief?"
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unit 91
cried the old man.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 92
"I a thief!.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 93
If you understood your words, you would repent them».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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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unit 96
he said.
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unit 97
"I do you too much honour in submitting to your presence," said the knight.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 99
And he rose and paced the lower end of the apartment, struggling with anger and antipathy.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 103
"Tell me one thing," said the old man, pausing in his walk.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 114
A man must continue to eat, if it were only that he may continue to repent».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 115
"The change must begin in the heart," returned the old man, solemnly.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 116
"My dear lord," answered Villon, "do you really fancy that I steal for pleasure?.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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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unit 128
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
"There is something more than I can understand in this," he said at length.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 134
Listen to me once more.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 136
It is not only written in all noble histories, but in every man's heart, if he will take care to read.
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unit 141
I speak to you as I think you will most easily understand me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 146
"I'm poor enough, God knows!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 147
It's hard to see rich people with their gloves, and you blowing in your hands.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 148
An empty belly is a bitter thing, although you speak so lightly of it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 149
If you had had as many as I, perhaps you would change your tune.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 150
Anyway, I'm a thief,—make the most of that,—but I'm not a devil from hell, God strike me dead!.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
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?.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 154
Did you not tell me you were alone in the house?.
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unit 155
Look at your gold plate!
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unit 156
You're strong, if you like, but you're old and unarmed, and I have my knife.
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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!».
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 162
The old man stretched out his right arm.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 163
"I will tell you what you are," he said.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 164
"You are a rogue, my man, an impudent and black-hearted rogue and vagabond.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 165
I have passed an hour with you.
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unit 166
Oh, believe me, I feel myself disgraced!.
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unit 167
And you have eaten and drunk at my table.
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unit 168
But now I am sick at your presence; the day has come, and the night-bird should be off to his roost.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 169
Will you go before, or after?».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 170
"Which you please," returned the poet, rising.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 171
"I believe you to be strictly honourable. "
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 172
He thoughtfully emptied his cup.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 173
"I wish I could add you were intelligent," he went on, knocking on his head with his knuckles.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 174
"Age!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 175
age!
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unit 176
the brains stiff and rheumatic».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 178
"God pity you," said the lord of Brisetout at the door.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 179
"Good-bye, papa," returned Villon, with a yawn.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 180
"Many thanks for the cold mutton».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 181
The door closed behind him.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 182
The dawn was breaking over the white roofs.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 183
A chill, uncomfortable morning ushered in the day.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 184
Villon stood and heartily stretched himself in the middle of the road.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 185
"A very dull old gentleman," he thought.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 186
"I wonder what his goblets may be worth?».
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 187
END
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
tontonjl • 10957  translated  unit 187  10 months, 3 weeks ago
tontonjl • 10957  commented on  unit 187  10 months, 3 weeks ago
Oplusse • 14029  translated  unit 175  10 months, 3 weeks ago
Oplusse • 14029  translated  unit 175  10 months, 3 weeks ago
Oplusse • 14029  translated  unit 174  10 months, 3 weeks ago
tontonjl • 10957  commented on  unit 139  10 months, 3 weeks ago
tontonjl • 10957  translated  unit 145  10 months, 3 weeks ago
tontonjl • 10957  translated  unit 145  10 months, 4 weeks ago
Bouchka • 3709  commented  11 months ago

Robert Louis Stevenson, born November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh and died December 3, 1894 in Vailima, is a Scottish writer and a great traveler, famous for his novel Treasure Island, for his new Doctor Jekyll's The Strange Case and from Wikipedia.
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Summary

A night of winter, 1456 in Paris. The poet François Villon shares the heat of a small house leaning against St Jean's cemetery with some members of the team of thieves including him. Two hooligans make a commitment in a game of chance when suddenly one of the two players stab inevitably the other one. Everybody runs away then in the streets of Paris. Villon roams in the frosty streets, haunted by the idea to finish on a gallows or succumb of cold. He eventually benefits from the hospitality of a knight with whom a lively discussion makes a commitment as soon as Villon appears as a thief.

by Bouchka 11 months ago

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