Page:Crainquebille, Putois, Riquet and other profitable tales, 1915.djvu/52

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38
CRAINQUEBILLE

duchess. It was not in society that she had acquired her ideas of the prison van and the police-station. But can one not be honest in every station in life? Every one has his self respect; and one does not like to deal with a man who has just come out of prison. So the only notice she took of Crainquebille was to give him a look of disgust. And the old costermonger resenting the affront shouted:

"Dirty wench, go along with you.”

Madame Laure let fall her cabbage and cried:

"Eh! Be off with you, you bad penny. You come out of prison and then insult folk! "

If Crainquebille had had any self-contro1 he would never have reproached Madame Laure with her calling. He knew only too well that one is not master of one’s fate, that one cannot always choose one’s occupation, and that good people may be found everywhere. He was accustomed discreetly to ignore her customers’ business with her; and he despised no one. But he was beside himself. Three times he called Madame Laure drunkard, wench, harridan. A group of idlers gathered round Madame Laure and Crainquebille. They exchanged a few more insults as serious as the first; and they would soon have exhausted their vocabulary, if a policeman had not suddenly appeared, and at once, by his