Page:Colas breugnon.djvu/259

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XII

OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES

October.

After much delay I was finally obliged to settle down somewhere; I kept putting it off on the pretense that I wanted to look carefully over the ground, but I had to come to it at last, much against my will. At first the whole town was open to me, and my friends were eager to offer me a bed for a night or two; every one naturally pitied a man whose hearth was a heap of cold cinders, and wanted to give him what help they could; "at first" I say, but as the recollection of our disasters faded away, people began once more to draw back into their shells,—except poor victims like me who had no shells left to draw into.

My children would have been shocked at the bare idea of my living at the inn; such a thing was never heard of among good Clamecyans of our sort, and, though it was not exactly a matter of feeling with my sons, there was the terrible question to be considered—"What would people say?" There was no hurry, of course, on their part or on

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