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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/217

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your physic,—every one is well, down here. Accursed town, where everybody is well! The skies alone have diarrhœa! How it snows! Anaxagoras taught that the snow was black; and he was right, cold being blackness: ice is night. What a hurricane! I can fancy the delight of those at sea. A hurricane is like the passage of demons; it is the row the tempest-fiends make in galloping and rolling head-over-heels over our bone-boxes. In the cloud this one has a tail, that one has horns, another a flame for a tongue, another claws to its wings, another a lord chancellor's paunch, another an academician's pate: each new gust is a fresh demon. Zounds! there are folks at sea, that is certain. My friends, get through the storm as best you can; I have enough to do to get through life.—Come now, do I keep an inn, or do I not? Why should I harbour these travellers? The universal distress sends its spatterings even as far as my poverty; into my cabin fall hideous drops of the far-spreading scum of mankind. I am the victim of the voracity of travellers; I am a prey,—the prey of those dying of hunger. Winter, night, a pasteboard hut, an unfortunate friend below and without, the storm, a potato, a fire as big as my fist, the wind penetrating through every cranny, not a half-penny,—and bundles are brought to me which set to howling! I open them, and find beggars inside! Is this fair? Besides, the laws are violated. See, a vagabond with a vagabond child! Mischievous pick-pocket, evil-minded abortion! so you walk the streets after curfew? If our good king only knew it, would he not have you thrown into the bottom of a ditch, just to teach you better? My lord walks out at night with my lady, with the thermometer at fifteen degrees below the freezing-point, bare-headed and bare-footed. You should understand that such things are forbidden. There are rules and regulations,