"But . . . I should not be astonished . . . if it were ". . .
We are breathless.
"Monsieur Lanlaire. There, that is what I think, if you want to know," she concludes, with an expression of base and atrocious ferocity.
Several protest; others reserve judgment. I declare that Monsieur Lanlaire is incapable of such a crime, and I cry:
"He, Lord Jesus? Oh, the poor man! He would be too much afraid."
But Rose, with still more hatred, insists:
"Incapable? Ta, ta, ta! And the little Jezureau? And Valentin's little girl? And the little Dougfere? Do you remember them? Incapable?"
"It is not the same thing; it is not the same thing."
In their hatred of Monsieur they do not, like Rose, go so far as to make a formal charge of murder. That he outrages little girls who consent to be outraged,—yes, that is possible. That he kills them,—that is scarcely credible. But Rose stormily insists. She froths at the mouth; she pounds the table with her soft, fat hands; she cries, with excited gestures:
"Do I not tell you yes? I am sure of it."
Mme. Gouin, who has been listening in a dreamy fashion, finally declares, in her meaningless voice:
"Oh! indeed, young women, in these matters one