Page:Louise de la Valliere text.djvu/15

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5
LOUISE DE LA VALLIERE

"Yes; and when he was engaged in his embalming occupations, with his herbs and other plants about him, he looked like a basket-maker making baskets."
"You are quite right, Planchet, he did so."
"0h! I can remember things very well, at times."
"I have no doubt of it; but what do you think of his mode of reasoning?"
"I think it very good in one sense, but very stupid in another."
"Propound your meaning, Monsieur Planchet."
"Well, monsieur, in point of fact, then, 'better to sit down than to stand up,' is plain enough, especially when one may be fatigued under certain circumstances;" and Planchet smiled in a roguish way. "As for 'better to be lying down than sitting down,' let that pass; but as for the last proposition, that it is 'better to be dead than alive,' it is, in my opinion, very absurd, my own undoubted preference being for my bed; and if you are not of my opinion, it is simply, as I have already had the honor of telling you, because you are boring yourself to death."
"Planchet, do you know Monsieur la Fontaine?"
"The chemist at the corner of the Rue St. Médérie?"
"No, the writer of fables?"
"Oh! Maître Corbeau?"
"Exactly so; well, then, I am like his hare."
"He has got a hare also, then?"
"He has all sorts of animals."
"Well, what does his hare do, then?"
"His hare thinks."
"Ah, ha!"
"Planchet, I am like Monsieur la Fontaine's hare—I am thinking."
"You're thinking, you say?" said Planchet uneasily.
"Yes; your house is dull enough to drive people to think; you will admit that, I hope?"
"And yet, monsieur, you have a look out upon the street."
"Yes; and wonderfully interesting that is, of course."
"But it is no less true, monsieur, that, if you were living at the back of the house, you would bore yourself—I mean, you would think—more than ever."
"Upon my word, Planchet, I hardly know that."
"Still," said the grocer, "if your reflections were at all like those which led you to restore King Charles II.—" and Planchet finished by a little laugh, which was not without its meaning.