She tenderly looked over at the poor old woman asleep, who still required all her attention, but who would soon die. Then, what would be the good of living and working after that; of what use would she be?
Out of doors, the western wind had again risen; and, notwithstanding its deep distant soughing, the soft regular patter of the eaves-droppings could be heard as they dripped from the roof. And so the tears of the forsaken one began to flow—tears running even to her lips to impart their briny taste, and dropping silently on her work, like summer showers brought by no breeze, but suddenly falling, hurried and heavy, from the over-laden clouds; as she could no longer see to work, and she felt worked out and discouraged before this great hollowness of her life, she folded up the extra-sized body of Madame Tressoleur and went to bed.
She shivered upon that fine, grand bed, for, like all things in the cottage, it seemed also to be getting colder and damper. But as she was very young, although she still continued weeping, it ended by her growing warm and falling asleep.
Other sad weeks followed on, till it was early February, fine, temperate weather. Yann had just come from his shipowner’s where he had received his wages for the last summer’s fishery, fifteen hundred francs, which, according to the custom of the family, he carried to his mother. The catch had been a good one, and he returned well pleased.
Nearing Ploubazlanec, he spied a crowd by the side of the road. An old woman was gesticulating with her stick, while the street boys mocked and laughed around her. It was Granny Moan. The good old granny whom Sylvestre had so tenderly loved—her dress torn and bedraggled—had now become one of those poor old women, almost fallen back in second childhood, who are followed and ridiculed along their roads. The sight hurt him cruelly.
The boys of Ploubazlanec had killed her cat, and she angrily and despairingly threatened them with her stick. “Ah, if my poor lad had only been here! for sure, you’d never dared do it, you young rascals!”
It appeared that as she ran after them to beat them, she had fallen down; her cap was awry, and her dress covered with mud; they called out that she was tipsy (as often happens to those poor old “grizzling” people in the country who have met misfortune).