Open main menu

Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/220

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
188
THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

with his right he raised the lid of the chest and drew out a bear-skin,—the one he called his real skin, as the reader may remember. While he was doing this he heard the other child eating, and glanced at him sideways.

"I shall have my hands full if I have to feed that growing glutton," he muttered. "It will be a worm gnawing at the vitals of my industry."

He spread out, still with one arm, the bear-skin on the chest, working his elbow and managing his movements so as not to disturb the sleep into which the infant was just sinking. Then he laid her down on the fur, on the side of the chest next the fire. Having done so, he placed the phial on the stove, and exclaimed, "I'm confoundedly thirsty myself!"

He looked into the pot. There were a few mouthfuls of milk left in it; he raised it to his lips. As he was about to drink, his eye fell on the little girl. He replaced the pot on the stove, took the phial, uncorked it, poured into it all the milk that remained, which was just sufficient to fill it, replaced the sponge and the linen rag over it, and tied it round the neck of the bottle.

"I'm hungry and thirsty all the same," he observed. Then he added: "When one cannot get bread, one must drink water."

Behind the stove there was a jug with the spout broken off. He took it and handed it to the boy. "Do you want a drink?"

The boy drank, and then went on eating. Ursus seized the pitcher again, and raised it to his mouth. The temperature of the water which it contained had been greatly modified by the proximity of the stove. He swallowed a mouthful and made a grimace. Then he said:—