Le 27 avril 2017, 05:57 dans Humeurs • 0
Four brigands began to dig a grave in the middle of the chamber, upon Mrs. Simons’ tent stood, and on the spot where Mary-Ann had slept. Two others ran to the store-house to find wax-tapers, which they distributed. I was given one with all the others. The monk intoned the service for the dead. Hadgi-Stavros made the responses in firm tones which went to the depths of my soul. There was a light breeze, and the wax from my taper fell upon my hand in a burning shower; but that, alas! was a small thing in comparison with what awaited me. I would have willingly endured that trouble, if the ceremony could never have been finished.
It was finished at last. When the last oration had been delivered, the King solemnly approached the bier on which the body lay, and kissed Vasile’s lips. The bandits, one by one, followed his example. I shivered at the thought that my turn was coming. I tried to hide behind two who had already performed their duty, but they saw me and said: “It is your turn! Start then! You certainly owe him that!”
Was this, at last, the expiation which awaited me? A just man would have been satisfied, at least. I swear to you, Monsieur, that it is no child’s play to kiss the lips of a corpse, above all, when one can reproach one’s self with being the instrument of his death. I walked toward the bier, I looked at the face whose eyes seemed to laugh at my embarrassment. I bent my head, I slightly touched the lips. A humorous brigand applied his hand to the nape of my neck. My mouth struck the cold lips! I felt the icy teeth, and seized with horror, I raised my head, carrying away with me I know not what terror of death, which seizes me at this moment! Women are very fortunate, they have the resource of fainting!
They then lowered the body into the earth, they threw in a handful of flowers, a loaf of bread, an apple, and a little wine. This latter was the thing of which he had the least need. The grave was quickly filled, more quickly than I wished. A brigand observed that they must get two sticks for a cross. Hadgi-Stavros replied: “Be quiet! we will put up milord’s sticks.” I leave it to you to think whether my heart beat tumultuously. What sticks? What was there in common between sticks and me?