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79
A NEW FRIEND

was not so very far after all to my inn, yet right joyful I was to see the place again and to find a cheerful fire blazing on the hearth. I stood before the homelike warmth and chuckled to myself at the success of my adventure.

The host and some crony of his sat at table with their cards and ale. I overlooked the game. They exchanged glances and prepared to leave off, whereat I apologized and begged them not to let me disturb them. Claude declared he had only waited for me, and being tired he would shut the house. He went on up to bed and his friend took a seat beside me at the fire.

He was a simple-looking young fellow, dressed after the fashion of a peasant farmer, with mild blue eyes, and straggling yellow whiskers on his chin. I thought to question him about the city.

"Well, friend, how goes the world in Paris?"

"Much the same as ever, yet your Paris is new to me."

"Indeed? You are not of the city; of what place, then?"

"Of Languedoc, in the south, where the skies are bluer and the wind does not cut you through as it does in this damp Paris of yours."

"Yes, I thought you of Languedoc, from your speech. So the climate is with us in our parts beyond the seas. Beneath our southern sun ice is a thing almost unknown, and the snow never comes."

"And where do you live, my lord?" his eyes wide open and shallow.