Page:Crainquebille, Putois, Riquet and other profitable tales, 1915.djvu/32

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18
CRAINQUEBILLE

ment merely repeated the curious words falsely attributed to him, and which he had certainly never pronounced. He had said, “Mort aux vache!” as he might have said, “I capable of insulting anyone! how could you believe it?”

President Bourriche put a different interpretation on the incident.

“Do you maintain,” he said, “that the policeman was, himself, the first to utter the exclamation?”

Crainquebille gave up trying to explain. It was too difficult.

“You do not persist in your statement. You are quite right,” said the President.

And he had the witness called.

Constable 64, by name Bastien Matra, swore he spoke the truth and nothing but the truth. Then he gave evidence in the following terms:

“I was on my beat on October 20, at noon, when I noticed in the Rue Montmartre a person who appeared to be a hawker, unduly blocking the traffic with his barrow opposite No. 328. Three times I intimated to him the order to move on, but he refused to comply. And when I gave him warning that I was about to charge him, he retorted by crying: ‘Mort aux vaches!’ Which I took as an insult.”