In this manner, however, has the Day bent downwards. Wearied mortals are creeping home from their field-labour; the village-artisan eats with relish his supper of herbs, or has strolled forth to the village-street for a sweet mouthful of air and human news. Still summer-eventide everywhere! The great Sun hangs flaming on the utmost North-West; for it is his longest day this year. The hill-tops rejoicing will ere long be at their ruddiest, and blush Good-night. The thrush, in green dells, on long-shadowed leafy spray, pours gushing his glad serenade, to the babble of brooks grown audibler; silence is stealing over the Earth. Your dusty Mill of Valmy, as all other mills and drudgeries, may furl its canvass, and cease swashing and circling. The swenkt grinders in this Treadmill of an Earth have ground out another Day; and lounge there, as we say, in village-groups; movable, or ranked on social stone-seats; (Rapport de M. Remy in Choiseul, p. 143.) their children, mischievous imps, sporting about their feet. Unnotable hum of sweet human gossip rises from this Village of Sainte-Menehould, as from all other villages. Gossip mostly sweet, unnotable; for the very Dragoons are French and gallant; nor as yet has the Paris-and-Verdun Diligence, with its leathern bag, rumbled in, to terrify the minds of men.
One figure nevertheless we do note at the last door of the Village: that figure in loose-flowing nightgown, of Jean Baptiste Drouet, Master of the Post here. An acrid choleric man, rather dangerous-looking; still in the prime of life, though he has served, in his time as a Conde Dragoon. This day from an early hour, Drouet got his choler stirred, and has been kept fretting. Hussar Goguelat in the morning saw good, by way of thrift, to bargain with his own Innkeeper, not with Drouet regular Maitre de Poste, about some gig-horse for the sending back of his gig; which thing Drouet perceiving came over in red ire, menacing the Inn-keeper, and would not be appeased. Wholly an unsatisfactory day. For Drouet is an acrid Patriot too, was at the Paris Feast of Pikes: and what do these Bouille Soldiers mean? Hussars, with their gig, and a vengeance to it!—have hardly been thrust out, when Dandoins and his fresh Dragoons arrive from Clermont, and stroll. For what purpose? Choleric Drouet steps out and steps in, with long-flowing nightgown; looking abroad, with that sharpness of faculty which stirred choler gives to man.
On the other hand, mark Captain Dandoins on the street of that same Village; sauntering with a face of indifference, a heart eaten of black care! For no Korff Berline makes its appearance. The great Sun flames broader towards setting: one’s heart flutters on the verge of dread unutterabilities.