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35
THE DECADENCE OF VERSAILLES

being set in long rows, and among them were white images of some substance like unto the Holy Mother at the shrine in Montreal. Some of these graven stones were in semblance of men with horns and goats' legs, and some of warrior women with plumed helms upon their heads. Verily I marveled much at these strange sights.

The pert little lads who idled about the hall began to make sport of me concerning my dress, and laughed greatly at their own wit. I paid no heed to their foolish gibes, there being no man among them. It irked me more than good sense would admit, and I left the hall, and after many vain endeavors made my way out into the open air—being right glad to breathe again without a roof above my head.

I was ill at ease among all these gay gallants who minced and paced along like so many string-halted nags. It was said the King walked much in that way, and so, forsooth, must all his lords and ladies go. Perhaps it was the fashion of the court, but I stuck to the only gait I knew, a good, honest, swinging stride which could cover fifteen leagues a day at a pinch.

Off to one side the water kept leaping up into the air as I am told the spouting springs do in the Dacotah country. I walked that way and was soon lost in wonderment at the contemplation of a vast bronze basin filled with curious brazen beasts, half men half fishes, the like of which I had never seen. Some had horns from which they blew sparkling streams; others astride of strange sea monsters plunged about and cast up jets