Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 6,432 pages of information about Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works.
an overcoat, you want eyes in the back of your head.  And they are populated!  Change your bed, and you’ll run all the dangers of not sleeping alone.  ‘V’la ma clientele’!  The half of them don’t pay me!” He, snapped his yellow sticks of fingers.  “A penny for a shave, twopence a cut!  ‘Quelle vie’!  Here,” he continued, standing by a bed, “is a gentleman who owes me fivepence.  Here’s one who was a soldier; he’s done for!  All brutalised; not one with any courage left!  But, believe me, monsieur,” he went on, opening another door, “when you come down to houses of this sort you must have a vice; it’s as necessary as breath is to the lungs.  No matter what, you must have a vice to give you a little solace—­’un peu de soulagement’.  Ah, yes! before you judge these swine, reflect on life!  I’ve been through it.  Monsieur, it is not nice never to know where to get your next meal.  Gentlemen who have food in their stomachs, money in their pockets, and know where to get more, they never think.  Why should they—­’pas de danger’!  All these cages are the same.  Come down, and you shall see the pantry.”  He took Shelton through the kitchen, which seemed the only sitting-room of the establishment, to an inner room furnished with dirty cups and saucers, plates, and knives.  Another fire was burning there.  “We always have hot water,” said the Frenchman, “and three times a week they make a fire down there”—­he pointed to a cellar—­“for our clients to boil their vermin.  Oh, yes, we have all the luxuries.”

Shelton returned to the kitchen, and directly after took leave of the little Frenchman, who said, with a kind of moral button-holing, as if trying to adopt him as a patron: 

“Trust me, monsieur; if he comes back—­that young man—­he shall have your letter without fail.  My name is Carolan Jules Carolan; and I am always at your service.”



Shelton walked away; he had been indulging in a nightmare.  “That old actor was drunk,” thought he, “and no doubt he was an Irishman; still, there may be truth in what he said.  I am a Pharisee, like all the rest who are n’t in the pit.  My respectability is only luck.  What should I have become if I’d been born into his kind of life?” and he stared at a stream of people coming from the Stares, trying to pierce the mask of their serious, complacent faces.  If these ladies and gentlemen were put into that pit into which he had been looking, would a single one of them emerge again?  But the effort of picturing them there was too much for him; it was too far—­too ridiculously far.

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Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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