Page:Colas breugnon.djvu/241

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XI

A PRACTICAL JOKE

September 30th. Order being re-established, and the ashes cooled, we heard no more talk of the plague and the riots, but for all that the city seemed crushed, and its inhabitants, still hardly recovered from their fright, appeared to feel their way; as if they did not know who was to have the upper hand in future.

For the most part men kept indoors, but if obliged to go out, they crept close along by the house walls, like a dog with his tail between his legs. The truth is, few had reason to be proud of their part in the late troubles, and a man hardly liked to look at his own face in the glass, for there he saw human nature, stripped of all disguises: — not a pretty sight, and one that makes most of us feel shamefaced and suspicious.

I too was uneasy and sad, but for different rea- sons : first, I was haunted by the thought of the massacre in the burning cellars; and on the other hand, when I looked in the familiar faces of my neighbors, I could not help remembering their

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