Mademoiselle Fifi eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 60 pages of information about Mademoiselle Fifi.

The two sisters opened a hunk of sausage which smelled of garlic; and Cornudet plunging at the same time both his hands in the large pockets of his baggy overcoat, drew from one four hard-boiled eggs and from the other the crust of a loaf of bread.  He removed the shells threw them under his feet, on the straw, and began to bite the eggs voraciously, dropping on his large beard small pieces of yellowish yolk which looked like stars.

Boule de Suif, in the haste and confusion of her departure, had not thought of taking provisions; and exasperated, suffocating with rage, she was looking on all those people who ate heartily.  At first a tumultuous anger shook her, and she opened her mouth to tell them what she thought of them in a wave of insults that surged to her lips; but she could not speak, so exasperated was she with indignation.

Nobody looked at her, took notice of her.  She felt drowned in the scorn of those honest rascals who had first sacrificed her and then cast her away like something unclean and of no further use.  Then she thought of her large basket full of good things, which they had devoured greedily, of her two chickens shining in jelly, her pastry, her pears, her four bottles of claret; and suddenly, her furor having died out, like an over strung cord, she felt like crying.  She made terrible efforts; stiffened herself up, swallowed her sobs like children, but the tears were surging, shining at the border of her eyelids, and soon two big tears breaking away from her eyes coursed slowly down her cheeks.  Others followed them more swiftly, running like drops of water filtering through rocks and fell regularly on the rounded curve of her bosom.  She remained upright, her eyes motionless, her face rigid and pale, hoping that the others would not notice her.

But the Countess noticed it and called her husband’s attention with a sign.  He shrugged his shoulders, as if to say:—­“What can I do?  It is not my fault!”—­Madame Loiseau had a silent laugh of triumph and muttered:  “She is weeping for shame!”—­

The two good sisters had resumed their prayers after having rolled up in a paper the rest of their sausage.

Then Cornudet, who was digesting the eggs, stretched his long legs under the seat, sat back, crossed his arms, smiled like a man who has thought of a good joke and began to whistle the Marseillaise.

The faces of all the others darkened.  Decidedly the popular song did not please his neighbors.  They became nervous, fidgety, and seemed ready to howl like dogs that hear a barrel-organ.  He noticed it, did not stop.  At times he even pronounced the words: 

Amour sacre del la patrie,
Conduis, soutiens, nos bras vengeurs,
Liberte, liberte cherie,
Combats avec tes defenseurs.

The snow being harder, the coach traveled more quickly, and as far as Dieppe, during the long dreary hours of the trip, through the jostles of the road, during the twilight, and later in the thick darkness of the coach, he kept on with a fierce obstinacy his monotonous and revengeful whistling, compelling the fagged and exasperated hearers to follow the anthem from one end to the other, to remember every word that went with each measure.

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Project Gutenberg
Mademoiselle Fifi from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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