“I’ll go and see,” she said.
She rose up, took the light and went out, shading the light with her hand in order to see through the darkness.
She saw nothing in front of the door, nothing on the bench, nothing on the dung heap, where the old man used sometimes to sit in hot weather.
But, just as she was on the point of going in again, she chanced to raise her eyes toward the big apple tree, which sheltered the entrance to the farmyard, and suddenly she saw two feet—two feet at the height of her face belonging to a man who was hanging.
She uttered terrible cries:
“Victor! Victor! Victor!”
He ran out in his shirt. She could not utter another word, and turning aside her head so as not to see, she pointed toward the tree with her outstretched arm.
Not understanding what she meant, he took the candle in order to find out, and in the midst of the foliage lit up from below he saw old Amable hanging high up with a stable-halter round his neck.
A ladder was leaning against the trunk of the apple tree.
Victor ran to fetch a bill-hook, climbed up the tree and cut the halter. But the old man was already cold and his tongue protruded horribly with a frightful grimace.
Original short stories, Vol. 10.
Guy de maupassant
original short stories
Albert M. C. McMASTER, B.A.
A. E. Henderson, B.A.
Mme. Quesada and Others
“Well doctor, a little brandy?”
The old ship’s surgeon, holding out his glass, watched it as it slowly filled with the golden liquid. Then, holding it in front of his eyes, he let the light from the lamp stream through it, smelled it, tasted a few drops and smacked his lips with relish. Then he said:
“Ah! the charming poison! Or rather the seductive murderer, the delightful destroyer of peoples!
“You people do not know it the way I do. You may have read that admirable book entitled L’Assommoir, but you have not, as I have, seen alcohol exterminate a whole tribe of savages, a little kingdom of negroes—alcohol calmly unloaded by the barrel by red-bearded English seamen.
“Right near here, in a little village in Brittany near Pont-l’Abbe, I once witnessed a strange and terrible tragedy caused by alcohol. I was spending my vacation in a little country house left me by my father. You know this flat coast where the wind whistles day and night, where one sees, standing or prone, these giant rocks which in the olden times were regarded as guardians, and which still retain something majestic and imposing about them. I always expect to see them come to life and start to walk across the country with the slow and ponderous tread of giants, or to unfold enormous granite wings and fly toward the paradise of the Druids.